Margaret Thatcher’s favourite free-market thinktank has called on the government to legalise cannabis, arguing that the move could generate more than £1bn in extra tax revenues every year, as well as savings in health and other public services.
Britain’s black market in cannabis is worth £2.6bn annually, with 255 tonnes sold to more than 3 million people last year, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
A report by the thinktank concludes that the criminalisation of cannabis in the UK has failed, saying the black market is awash with dangerous high-strength products.
The home secretary, Sajid Javid, recently launched a review into medicinal uses of cannabis, following public pressure from the families of two children who have forms of intractable epilepsy that appear to be eased by the use of cannabis oil.
The IEA report recommends that, for legal cannabis products, regulators set maximum limits on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance that makes people high, and minimum limits on the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD)
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