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Legalising weed in the UK would be great for the economy, say experts

The UK could earn up £3.5 billion a year in revenue if cannabis were legal, study claims

On Sunday, The Independent reported on a new study released by the advocacy group Health Poverty Action that indicates legalising cannabis in the UK could be a seriously great move for the nation. Among the many benefits being touted by the group are: the UK could earn up to £3.5 billion a year (if taxed the same way tobacco is taxed) from legal cannabis sales, the distribution of the drug would be safer (eliminating the possible dodginess of buying from individual dealers) and there would be enough money made to help fund the NHS. 

The study also uses specific examples from states in the U.S. that have already legalised cannabis as a means to argue that the UK following suit would do more good than it would harm. They write, "Colorado — with a population only slightly larger than Scotland — raised $247m (£179m) from new cannabis taxes and licence fees in 2017 alone."

And for those who argue that legalising cannabis would negatively impact teens, the study refutes that by pointing out that "the early indications from the US states where the newly regulated markets are most developed, are that teenage use of cannabis has not risen as opponents of legalisation had feared, whilst at the same time new cannabis taxes are bringing in vital revenues to help fund public services."

Finally, the study addresses the fact that legalising cannabis would allow for a booming new industry to take hold in the UK, but there is a social benefit to it as well: the elimination of cannabis-related criminal activity. "Regulation could reduce the ‘gateway’ opportunity for criminal suppliers to additionally market more risky (and more profitable) drug to consumers."

It's not clear at this time is there are any serious conversations being had to go ahead with legalising cannabis in the UK. But, with success being seen in part of the U.S. and with Canada set to legalise cannabis in 2018, it's hard not to ignore that this could be a legitimate, viable option to help the UK and, more importantly, the NHS.