Liberal Democrat Manifesto: Marijuana Legalization Will Raise £1bn In Tax Revenue

Britain's Liberal Democrat party is calling the war on drugs a "catastrophic failure".

https://pixabay.com/en/marijuana-medical-weed-mj-cannabis-2248066/

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The Liberal Democrat’s manifesto for the 2017 General Election is calling for legalization of marijuana. The manifesto claims the shift would benefit the country to the tune of £1 billion in tax revenue. The party is also seeking to stop imprisonment on the grounds of possession of illegal drugs for personal use.

According to the manifesto,

“The war on drugs has been a catastrophic failure. Every year, billions flow to organised crime, while we needlessly prosecute and imprison thousands of people, blighting their employment and life chances, and doing nothing to address the impact of drugs on their health. Our current approach to drugs helps nobody except criminal gangs.”

They say, a legal government-regulated market for cannabis would generate between £750m and £1.05bn, based on an update to Treasury figures commissioned by former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Chegg in 2015. Chegg’s assessment is 32 pages long and highly comprehensive. It was prepared using Colorado, Washington State and Uruguay as examples, along with studies by the University of Essex’s Institute for Social and Economic Research.

Nick Clegg, Former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Credit: Libdems.org

“This is a very complex area and this note represents a high-level view of the major considerations in introducing a regulated regime for cannabis.” says the note. It proposes an age restriction of 18 years, quality and potency testing the marijuana, limits for possession, as well as a licensing and background check system for growers and sellers.

The marijuana would be packaged in “plain” packaging. Further, The manifesto suggests THC content be capped at 15%, contrary to the 10% recommendation made in the Treasury report. According to a Home Office Study from 2008, the average THC content of marijuana bought on the street was 16.2%. The party hasn’t said how much the drug would cost yet, but they propose it is taxed based on potency.

The Liberal Democrats suggest moving the responsibility of making drug policy from the Home Office, and giving it to Department of Health. Their manifest also aims to raise £6 billion for health and social services, 7£ billion for education, build 300,000 homes by 2022 to address housing shortage, and welcome 50,000 Syrian refugees plus 3,000 unaccompanied children. Britain’s General Election will take place on Thursday, June 8th.

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