Legalising and taxing cannabis could 'help cut the deficit by £1.25bn', claims study
Report attempts to quantify the financial benefit of a move to a regulated and taxed market for cannabis in England and Wales
Legalising and taxing cannabis could help the government cut the deficit by an estimated £1.25bn a year, a new study has claimed.
A report, by the Institute for Social and Economic Research, has for the first time attempted to quantify the financial benefit of a move to a regulated and taxed market for cannabis in England and Wales.
The study estimates that a lower cost of policing, criminal justice and drug treatment could save the country £200-300 million.
Meanwhile, tax revenue from licencing the drug could raise between £0.4-0.9 billion, according to the paper, co-authored by Stephen Pudney, professor of economics at the University of Essex.
Overall, licenced cannabis could reduce the Government deficit by between £0.5 billion and £1.25 billion, the report said.
The report compares the possible revenue from legalisation with the potential costs of regulation and health promotion initiatives.
The study also claims that the so-called "gateway effect" - the possible increase in risk of involvement in hard drugs caused by exposure to cannabis - had been a "greatly exaggerated" focus of public debate on the issue.
It is likely that consumption could rise significantly as a consequence of the switch to legal status and the lower price that results, it said.
But it is possible that average potency would fall, with consumption of the psychoactive ingredient THC rising much less than consumption of the drug itself, and possibly even declining, according to the report.
Prof Pudney said the report was not a definitive attempt to put a price on the cannabis market, but looked to outline factors to consider if such a policy were to be introduced.
"Two important areas of uncertainty where progress may be possible are drug-related crime and drug demand behaviour, but it would require greater sustained investments in data and research effort," he said.
Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation, which campaigns for scientifically based reform of drugs policy and commissioned the report, said :"In these times of economic crisis, it is essential to examine the possibilities of more cost-effective drug policy.
"Our present policies based on prohibition have proved to be a failure at every level. Users are not protected, it puts one of the biggest industries in the world in the hands of criminal cartels, it criminalises millions of users, casting a shadow over their future, and it creates violence and instability, particularly in producer and transit countries."
Additional reporting by the Press Association
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial: Never mind a media scrum – murder case becomes bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
International Women's Day 2014: Mothers and daughters describe their hopes and dreams in touching photographs
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...