Farron may be a political dunce, but legalising cannabis is sensible policy

 
Elliott Haworth
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Ban Introduced On Smoking Marijuana In Public Areas
Instead of clinging on to unworkable laws from a bygone era, the government should lead from the front with an evidence-based drugs policy. (Source: Getty)

While much Liberal Democrat policy, especially regarding Brexit, is largely untenable, the party's position on creating a legalised, regulated cannabis market must be lauded.

The so-called war on drugs has failed: a waste of police and judicial time and resources; an affront to liberty and self-determination; a wasted opportunity to dismantle the black market and generate billions in tax revenue.

Little is as destructive to society than trying to enforce unenforceable laws.

Many police forces across the UK have taken note, and subsequently stopped actively pursuing those with small amounts of cannabis. Rather than arresting users to meet specious crime targets, they focus on serious crime.

Creating a market regulated in much the same way as alcohol or tobacco benefits all.

Children, who studies show are most at risk of the mental health issues associated with cannabis, would find it harder to acquire with age restrictions in place.

Young black men, who are disproportionately likely to be prosecuted for possessing small amounts of the drug, would, in theory, be persecuted far less.

With the proliferation of high strength "skunk", consumer choice is restricted to the most intense strains of cannabis. It’s often the equivalent of drinking at a pub where the only drink on offer is a pint of whisky, and the bar man is a criminal.

But the possibility of creating a regulated market, estimated to generate up to £1bn a year in tax, is an opportunity our cash strapped government shouldn’t pass up.

Experiments with legalisation in the United States have been a roaring success.

Stateside, investors are pouring money into firms like Axim Biotechnologies, which creates cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals. It soared 2,000 per cent last year alone. When Colorado legalised cannabis, it birthed a burgeoning industry worth $1bn, ushered in thousands of new jobs, and generated $200m in tax last year.

Presently in the UK, all this potential revenue is lost to the black market.

It’s not just typified “stoners” who support change, there is both public and cross party support for a legal, regulated cannabis market. Instead of clinging on to unworkable laws from a bygone era, the government should lead from the front with an evidence-based drugs policy.

@ElliottDHaworth

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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