Legalising cannabis could save £200m in court and police costs and raise hundreds of millions of pounds in tax each year, a leaked government study has revealed.
The Treasury study – which was passed to the BBC’s Newsnight programme – was commissioned by the Liberal Democrats in coalition earlier this year, but was never published.
The study – which was set up to examine the “potential fiscal impacts of introducing a regulated cannabis market in the UK” – states that 216 tonnes of cannabis was smoked in the UK in the past year and that 2.2 million people aged 16 to 59 are thought to have used the drug in that time.
Government analysts judged that a study from the Institute for Social and Economic Research, which concluded that licensing cannabis could raise up to £1.25bn a year, was probably an overestimate.
But the Treasury report concludes that legalising and regulating the cannabis market would “generate notable tax revenue”, as well saving the state up to £200m in court and police costs a year.
And how much money would be saved because fewer people would be sent to jail?
Or are we not supposed to discuss that because the Tories have been busy building huge new prisons, to be run by privateers?
It seems clear, from the numbers mentioned in this article, that once again the Conservative Government is profligately splashing out public money on all the wrong things, while wasting opportunities to collect revenue.
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