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What’s Better Cannabis Policy Worth to England and Wales? Hint: A £ot

There are 1.25 billion new reasons to support cannabis reform.

That’s the potential value of a regulated cannabis market in England and Wales, based on cost savings and possible revenues.

With support from Open Society Global Drug Policy Program, the Beckley Foundation commissioned a cost-benefit analysis of cannabis reform. Even after accounting for monitoring, treatment for problematic users and other possible costs, the study found there could be a net benefit of up to £1.25 billion a year (including revenues of between £400 million–£900 million).

Merely ceasing to arrest, prosecute, and jail cannabis offenders would save £200–£300 million annually in England and Wales.

There are naturally some risks associated with any new policy and this cost-benefit analysis, carried out by University of Essex’s Institute for Social and Economic Research, considers a number of possible effects.

However, according to the study, the reform would provide the government with the funds to address negative impacts while leaving considerable money to spend on prevention. Furthermore, it would give police more resources to go after violent criminals, rather than being preoccupied by ineffective—and even discriminatory—policing practices.

Fifty years of the “war on drugs” has proved that it doesn’t work.

Illegal drugs are among the world’s largest industries and it is now in the hands of criminal cartels. Illegal drug money is a menace in the world, spreading criminality, violence, and suffering.

It’s time that we did something different.

Read the complete report, Licensing and Regulation of the Cannabis Market in England and Wales: Towards a Cost/Benefit Analysis.

Support for this report was provided by the Open Society Foundations.

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