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Senior Tory and candidate for London Mayor Boris Johnson has backed the legalisation of cannabis for chronic pain relief.

Asked for his view on medicinal cannabis, Johnson said: "I've thought about this a little bit but I haven't looked at all the evidence or talked to the police about it in the way I would in order to give more than an extempore answer. But I do think there is a case where cannabis is being used to alleviate severe and chronic pain that the law should be flexible."

The policy puts him at odds with the Tory Party, which is supporting Gordon Brown's push to increase penalties for possession of the drug. Brown seems likely to ignore the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs - which recommended leaving cannabis as a Class C substance - and upgrade it back to Class B.

Johnson also told the Telegraph it had been a long, tough battle, and that no observers would expect Livingstone to "play by the Queensbury rules".

The Mayoral Elections are on 1 May. ®

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