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Licensing and Regulation of the Cannabis Market in England and Wales: A Cost/Benefit Analysis

Report Summary

This ground-breaking report was initiated and commissioned by the Beckley Foundation and carried out by a team of researchers at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex UK, led by Professor Stephen Pudney. The Report is the first of its kind to quantify the potential revenues to be gained from the legal regulation and taxation of the cannabis market in England and Wales.

After analysing the key issues related to the current illicit cannabis market, the study develops a model of regulation with stringent product controls that includes a detailed description of the possible price and taxation structure. The in-depth exploration of the potential outcomes of a regulatory model highlights the importance of product reliability and the savings associated to a less burdened crime and justice system. The Report also debunks exaggerations such as the extent of cannabis’ ‘gateway effect’ or its relationship with violent crime.

The Report suggests that the plausible net economic benefits of a move towards cannabis licensing in England and Wales would lead to a gain of £300m as well as a £0.5-1.25bn reduction of the government deficit through taxation.

The Report was launched on 15 September 2013, with an article on page 3 plus a double page spread in the Observer. The Report was further featured several more times in the Observer, Guardian, Independent, Economist, Oxford Times, and other print and online media sources.