How Much Money Would Britain Save If Weed Was Legalized?

If David Cameron turned around tomorrow and said, ‘you know what? We need money and austerity doesn’t seem to be working. Why don’t we legalise weed and see what happens?’. What would it be like?

Well, Nick Chowdrey at Vice decided to find out exactly what would happen. How much would we make? How much would we save? Is it worth doing at all in the first place? (Spoiler: yes).

In 2011, a political party called CLEAR – who believe in cannabis law reform – decided to fund a study to see just how many people in the UK actually smoke (or eat) the stuff. They went to the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit (IDMU) and the result was that between 2004 and 2011, the UK consumed an estimated 36,579,100 ounces per year. That’s a sh*tload of weed. Fast forward to 2015 and that number is probably a lot higher. However, for argument’s sake, let’s stick with the official figures.

Now, to figure out exactly how much we could charge for legal marijuana, Chowdrey decided to look at America. At the time of writing, 136 stores in Colorado had been licensed to sell cannabis.

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The Colorado Futures Centre (CFC) – an independent, nonpartisan research body – predict a demand of 2,441,069 ounces a year in their home state. It’s difficult to determine what the average cost of weed will be throughout 2014, as huge demand has pushed prices in Colorado up to $400 (£240) an ounce – almost twice as much as the average recorded price in the area. 
This is most likely due to a case of demand outstripping supply, and will probably level out over time. However, assuming that – in the long term – Coloradans will be willing to pay a little more for a high quality, legal product, an average price of $300 (£185) an ounce would be a fair guess. Nick Chowdrey

 So, it looks like it’s not a bad guess that £185 an ounce would be standard.
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