Cannabis economics: should Europe legalize marijuana?

The legalization of marijuana in some States of the US has reopened also in Europe the debate about a potential similar move in the Member States of the European Union. Besides the ethical considerations that the issue of drugs inevitably brings to the fore, there is a number of economic aspects that should also inform this debate.

A 10 (or 60) billion Euros market

Or is it rather 35 billion Euros? The first problem we encounter in assessing the economic relevance of the marijuana business in Europe is that data are scant and often dependent on heroic assumptions based on the amount of drugs seized by the authorities.

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction the annual consumption of marijuana in Europe could be in the range of 1000 to 7000 tonnes; the retail price per gram ranges between 5 to 25 Euros and the amount...

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