AS more and more countries around the world decide that if you can’t beat them, tax them, the Adam Smith Institute, which is something of a liberal think tank, has basically recommended the legalisation of cannabis and marihuana in the UK and a number of MPs are broadly in favour of the idea.
The arguments are quite simple as basically years of ‘policing’ the drug have been unsuccessful yet have cost billions of pounds in both police and customs costs as well as housing more than 1,000 people who are in Britain’s overcrowded jails alone costing the tax payer £50 million (€57.5 million) a year.
If the drugs are going to flow into Britain anyway, rather than allow criminals and drug barons to reap the profits, very simply take over the industry, appoint licensed outlets and charge a tax on sales of the drug which could generate as much as £1 billion (€1.15 billion) in tax revenue each year.
It is inarguable that a certain percentage of people who buy cannabis from a local dealer find it both easy and tempting to obtain harder drugs from the same sources but if they don’t need the dealers then they may keep away from everything except cannabis.
One of the recent problems has been the strength of locally grown ‘skunk’ which can cause mental instability but again if somewhat weaker cannabis options are available legally then there will be far less incentive to grow the stronger mixture and anyone in trouble can helped.
With America allowing medical marihuana, as will Germany shortly and Canada about to decriminalise, there is without doubt a strong argument for legislating and controlling the drug despite the fact that some people can experience negative side effects.
The Home Office, which has no qualms about the controlled sale of tobacco or alcohol, has stated once again that it has no plans to consider legalisation and is clearly content with the income that the government receives from the two legal and proven killer drugs.
MPs from across the political spectrum including former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and former health secretary Norman Lamb have come out in support of the proposal although at the moment it appears unlikely that the proposal will be taken too seriously by the government.