SIR – We believe that Lord Hague is right to say that the war on cannabis has been “irreversibly lost”.
The Adam Smith Institute has estimated that legalisation, regulation and taxation of cannabis would raise at least £1 billion a year for the Treasury, while the TaxPayers’ Alliance has suggested that nearly £900 million could be saved from police, prison, court and NHS budgets through legalisation. Britain could use a “cannabis dividend” to expand access to addiction treatment centres and reduce waiting-times for mental health services on the NHS.
Ensuring the safety of citizens is the first duty of government. Prohibition of cannabis is failing to keep Britons safe. Pushing people into the hands of gangs that peddle drugs on the black market risks their safety and gives cash to criminals. Users have no way of knowing the potency of the cannabis they consume, which varies wildly depending on where they get it from.
With cannabis legal in some form in a majority of US states, and Canada preparing to legalise recreational cannabis fully, we believe that the status quo is unsustainable. The Government should appoint a Royal Commission to look again at how cannabis is treated under the law and consider legalisation.
Crispin Blunt MP (Con) Michael Fabricant MP (Con) The Rt Hon the Lord Lilley (Con) Norman Lamb MP (Lib Dem) Ed Davey MP Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman Alistair Carmichael MP Liberal Democrat Chief WhipTim Farron MP Liberal Democrat Defra SpokesmanTom Brake MP Liberal Democrat Brexit SpokesmanLord Foster of Bath (Lib Dem) Ron Hogg PCC Professor David NuttDr Gary Potter Professor Celia Morgan John O’Connell Chief Executive, The TaxPayers’ AllianceRebecca Lowe Director, FREERPolly Mackenzie Director, DemosDr Eamonn Butler Director, The Adam Smith InstituteChris Snowdon Head of Lifestyle Economics, Institute of Economic AffairsOliver Wiseman Editor, CapXMiranda Larbi Carrie Wade Director of Harm Reduction Policy, R Street Institute