The economic case for legalizing cannabis in the UK

Channel 4’s Drugs Live programme, broadcast last night, promised to examine what cannabis does to the brain. Many of us had already seen the clips of Jon Snow struggling after a massive dose of high strength marijuana (the equivalent of forcing a teetotaller to down a bottle of vodka and then asking him how he feels).

But beyond the effects of cannabis on the brain, isn’t it time for a wider discussion on the potential effects of safe, regulated cannabis consumption on society?

How much is cannabis worth these days? According to the Institute for Economic and Research, up to £900m could be raised annually through taxation of regulated cannabis market.

Meanwhile £361 million is currently spent every year on policing and treating users of illegally traded and consumed cannabis.

It seems a lot to spend on punishing people for an activity most of us barely believe should be a...

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