The government is being urged by think tanks to revisit its position on cannabis. It comes after the William Hague, the former Conservative leader, called for a “decisive change” in the law.
This said issue has come to force after it emerged that Sajid Javid, the home secretary, had repeatedly tried to raise the issue of medicinal cannabis during the Cabinet meeting that was held yesterday. It arises after the case of Billy Caldwell, the young boy that has severe epilepsy, who was brought to the hospital after his cannabis oil was confiscated from them.
It is anticipated that Javid will announce a review on the legal status of medicinal cannabis in light of the said case.
However, Lord Hague, in an article that he wrote in the Daily Telegraph today, went further, while calling for the law on recreational use to be modified. He said that “any war” on the said drug had been “irreversibly lost.”
The comments of Lord Hague have been supported by think tankers who perceive it as a possibly lucrative move for the British government.
The head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Dumitriu, stated: “We estimate that legalisation would raise at least £1bn a year for the Treasury, on top of reduced policing and prosecuting costs. The ‘cannabis dividend’ could be spent on expanding access to addiction treatment centres and reducing wait-times for mental health services on the NHS.”
He added: “Just as the prohibition of alcohol failed in the US, the prohibition of cannabis has failed here. Ensuring that licensed shops, not criminal gangs, are able to sell cannabis for recreational use will prevent sales to minors and ensure users are informed through product labelling.”
In a report that was released recently, The TaxPayers’ Alliance estimated that at least £890m could be saved by the United Kingdom per year in reduced expenditures by courts, police, prisons, and the NHS via pain relief treatments by the legalisation of the drug.
Ben Ramanauskas, a Policy analyst and the author of the report, stated: “The current prohibition of cannabis costs hard-pressed families hundreds of millions every year. Aside from any moral arguments, it is clear that the current attempts to prevent cannabis use are an enormous burden on taxpayers that mean their money isn’t spent on other priorities. Given the changes happening in the US, Canada, and elsewhere, it’s an important time to consider whether heavy-handed policies are worthwhile, especially given the significant savings that could be made.”
The spokesperson of the Prime Minister, however, insisted that the position of the government would not be changing.
He stated: “The harmful effects of cannabis are well known, and there are no plans to legalise it.”