A Southampton cannabis smoker has called for it to be legalised in the wake of recent law changes in Germany.

Ricky Lambert, 61, says he often smokes the drug and thinks it is less dangerous than alcohol.

He is calling on politicians to change the law to legalise cannabis, creating places such as cafés where the drug can be consumed.

READ MORE: Hartington Road: Police find cannabis factory in Southampton

He says this would create more jobs and money for the country which could then be reinvested into projects such as schools or hospitals.

Referring to the Second World War, he said: “We won the war, not them - so why are we so behind?"

He added: "The war on drugs has never worked.

“I can’t see no harm in it. I’d rather smoke that than drink to be honest with you, it’s not harmful in anyway.

“It doesn’t send you cuckoo it just keeps you relaxed.”

Daily Echo: Ricky LambertHis comments come after changes to the law in Germany, effective since Monday, allowed over 18s to possess up to 25g of cannabis in public.

The changes also allow adults to grow up to three plants, though people won’t be allowed to smoke within sight of schools, sports centres or pedestrian zones between 7am and 8pm.

Further law changes coming into affect from July 1 will see permission granted for growers associations or "social clubs" - though members must be over 18 and live in Germany.

Several cannabis factories have also been discovered in Southampton in recent months - which have links to organised crime and exploitation of vulnerable people.

Mr Lambert, who has lived in Southampton all his life and has run for public office in the past, told the Echo that the UK is “out of touch” with other countries such as The Netherlands which allow cannabis consumption.

He said: “Why don’t the politicians legalise it and put a tax on it and sell it over the counter like alcohol? It’s no worse than alcohol.

“There’s a lot of people I know who smoke it and you think, why don’t they just put it on prescription, it would be cheaper for people and it would do away with the drug dealers making money out of it.

“People who smoke cannabis are usually quite calm and quiet and don’t get in any trouble.

“It’s the people who are drinking who get in trouble, they are fighting and kicking off every week down the town.”

Following an assessment in August 2023 the Home Affairs Committee found that drug laws are “outdated and in need of reform” adding that legislation “needs to be updated to support greater use of public health-based drug interventions”.

But Ricky said politicians are “out of touch” adding that prisons “are falling apart” due to the amount of prisoners.

He said: “They brush it under the carpet, they think it’s a load of nonsense, but to me it is a vote winner.

“The first one who said they were going to legalise cannabis, they would probably get the people voting for them.

“You can’t keep locking everyone up because there is nowhere to put them."

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have no plans to decriminalise drugs as it would not eliminate drug dependence or prevent the illicit trade.

“Illegal drugs destroy lives and devastate communities. We are committed to preventing drug use by supporting people through treatment and recovery and tackling the supply of illegal drugs, as set out in our 10-year Drug Strategy.”