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Could legalising cannabis raise £1bn?

Created on Thursday, 25 May 2017 06:45:47

Thu, May 26, 2017 00:45 

The Liberal Democrats recently claimed that legalising cannabis in the U.K. would create £1 billion for the country in taxes and saved police hours. 

To back this claim up, the BBC did a "Reality Check" and – as it turns out – it's more or less trueA 2013 study from the Institute for Social and Economic Research [ISER] found that legalising cannabis could raise between £400m and £900m in tax revenue in England and Wales. In addition, the Liberal Democrats recently argued that the police waste one million hours on cannabis prohibition every year, totaling £31 million. They found that 87,247 police caseloads relating to the drug were opened in 2015, with the average cost to the taxpayer per case estimated at £2,256. Add that to the high estimate from ISER and you've got nearly £1 billion.

However, some believe that estimate may be low. Looking at it another way, the 11 million tobacco users in the UK paid about £9.5 billion of tax in 2015, an average of about £850 a head. If the country's 2.2 million cannabis users spent the same amount per head, that would raise about £1.9 billion.

All the more reason to legalise, right?

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