The Cost of Banning Cannabis

Cannabis Plant

One of the questions that come back to haunt us time and time again is the validity of banning drugs at all? A relatively quick look at history should help us to form an opinion and provide a basis for government policy. In 1920 the USA passed the 18th Amendment which effectively banned the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol. Known as the Prohibition Era. The only real effect of this legislation was the creation of criminals and non-tax paying millionaires from the sales of alcohol on the Black Market. The ban on alcohol-fuelled a considerable demand. Gangs battled for control of the supply, violence, and gang warfare broke out on the streets of the USA culminating in the St Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago in 1929. 

According to the bit size information on the history of the prohibition era for GCSE history, protection rackets, organised crime and gangland murders were common during Prohibition that when alcohol was legal! 

The gang leaders, in particular, Al Capone claimed to be a businessman merely providing a product that was in demand. 

It has been estimated that somewhere in the region of $2,000 million worth of legitimate business was transferred from the alcohol and entertainment industry to the gangs and gang leaders. If $1,000,000 in 1920 is worth in today's money $13,043,597.88 then $2,000 million would be worth $26 Billion dollars. 

None of this money was ever taxed, legitimate business was crippled, and tax paying employees of these businesses lost their jobs. 

 All of this is a self-inflicted own goal. 

On the 03/07/2018 an article was published in the Guardian which estimated that the legalisation of cannabis could add £10bn to the economy. This would be a considerable boost to the UK economy as legal tax-paying jobs are created, vat is collected on all the transaction. 

It is not a question of whether one supports the consumption of drugs for recreational purposes that we should ask. The question we should be asking it is whether or not we continue to support a ban that is costing the country money in both the loss of revenue in the economy but the additional cost to keep fighting the unwinnable war on drugs.

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