UK should follow US states and legalise cannabis to raise "£1bn a year” for Treasury, report says

Liberal Democrats publish report calling for legalisation of the drug

Elegantly rolled bifta

Spliffs in the spotlight

How many people does it take to ignore a law before the legal system catches up? In London on any given day the smell of cannabis wafts from the pavements as people smoke their joints without a care for what the state believes is wrong or right.

And every year, countless hours and incalculable sums are spent by the police arresting and processing an endless stream of people for cannabis consumption and distribution.

The charade of any efficacy in the government’s current drug policy has long been known.

But according to a new study by the Liberal Democrats, legalising cannabis could raise £1bn in tax.

The study incorporated a panel of scientists, academics and police chiefs, and recommends that cannabis be made legal to over 18s and sold over the counter in specialist shops.

“No longer a theoretical debate”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “Prohibition of cannabis has failed. We need a new, smarter approach and I welcome this report ahead of the Liberal Democrats’ debate at spring conference. 

“It is a waste of police time to go after young people using cannabis and ludicrous to saddle them with criminal convictions that can damage their future careers. 

“A legal market would allow us to have more control over what is sold, and raise a considerable amount in taxation.”

Steve Rolles, chairman of the study’s panel of experts said: “The reality is that millions of people use cannabis in the UK and there is a pressing need for government to take control of the trade from gangsters and unregulated dealers.

“Legal regulation is now working well, despite the fear-mongering, in Colorado and Washington and will roll out across the US over the coming years. 

“This is no longer a theoretical debate - and the emerging evidence is only pointing in one direction.”

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