Medicinal Cannabis is Now Legal in the UK; But What Does This Mean for the Economy?
The legalisation of cannabis is set to reform health practices in the UK. However, with the UK facing one of the hardest runs of austerity in decades, the economic benefit of the legalisation of cannabis can’t come at a better time.
In 2018 the UK is preparing to take a massive step forward in history, whereas the legalisation started taking place in America back in the 90’s with California becoming the first state to legalise medicinal cannabis back in 1996. Now, there are only three states in the US who still prohibit the drug under any circumstances.
The Government officially announced the legalisation of medicinal cannabis on October 11th, 2018. Specialist doctors will be able to prescribe patients with the drug, yet the range of conditions it will be prescribed for is very limited.
What Prompted Health Ministers to Favour Legalisation?
In the UK there is still a significant proportion of the population who still have a dim view of the drug, whether it is medicinal or not. However, watching the struggle of Charlotte Caldwell with her 12-year-old son Billy who suffered from epilepsy begging for access to THC swayed not only the people’s judgment. Charlotte Caldwell pleaded for a discussion to be had amongst home and health secretaries to consider the legalisation after Home Office officials confiscated her son’s six-month supply of cannabis oil. Somehow Charlotte managed to appeal to Jeremy Hunt’s human side and was granted access. But that’s just one person’s story, there are many more who could benefit from the treatment.
Others believe that the backing of the drug policy reform may just be the politician’s way of securing the youth vote. After Crispin Blunt, a Conservative MP who chaired an-all parliamentary group which dealt with drug policies came out in full support of the legalisation suspicions arose.
How the policy took so long reform after it was evident that cannabis is the only viable treatment for some is one story, how it will benefit the UK is quite another.
Sadly, we won’t see much of a shift in terms of economic gain given that medicinal cannabis will only be prescribed for patients with conditions such as severe epilepsy and not the 3 billion recreational users in the UK.
However, the legalisation of medicinal cannabis alone could create plenty of new opportunities for UK farmers. According to Farmers Guardian, the farming industry believes that this is just the beginning for cannabis production in the UK as they anticipate the legal framework to evolve even further. The cannabis market is drastically different to any other market in the farming industry given the fact that demand is greater than supply which is a luxury which farmers don’t get to enjoy when harvesting produce.
The Economic Impact of Legalisation
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) weren’t shy about coming out and saying that the UK had missed a trick by keeping the drug policy dated.
The IEA has projected that a total drug reform could create £1bn through the collection of extra tax revenue through the legalisation of recreational use. In addition to the tax revenue, there will be other savings made by public health services through the administration of effective relatively cost-effective medical treatment.
However, if legalisation didn’t just apply to medicinal cannabis the NHS will also be able to reduce costs on treating patients who have had adverse psychological problems induced by “super-skunk”. All that is on top of cutting back on the £1.6bn anti-drug policy.
The net worth of Britain’s cannabis black market stands at £2.6bn annually. With 255 tonnes reportedly being sold to 3 million people. Of course, with any black-market trading exact figures will never be shown, but even if the estimation is correct, that’s £2.6b that can be taken away from criminals and put back into the economy. The USA and Canada have already proven that the reform works with fewer criminals enjoying a lucrative industry and consumers are able to access safer and cheaper products. The legalisation for recreational use may not be here yet. But once the UK benefits from the medicinal reforms, will they be able to resist the cash injection into the economy?
According to the Office for National Statistics at the end of the financial year in 2018, the gross national debt totalled in at just under £1.8bn. Therefore, it is entirely possible that the legalisation of recreational cannabis could balance the books. Yet, whilst the reason for UK’s austerity crisis generally depends on political party you’re willing to get your information from, when you look at the statistics, it’s hard to doubt that the legalisation will drastically improve the current lack of public funding.
Future economic predictions aside, legislation means regulation, making access to cannabis safer for those who need it. When regulations are implemented this helps us move forward in a fairer society where we know the odds and we know the chances. If gambling was made illegal tomorrow, would people stop gambling? Of course not. That’s why certified and regulated sites such as Egypt Slots help us to enjoy recreational gambling safely. In western societies, we depend on the products and services in our environment to be safely regulated. Which is why for many people the wait for cannabis to be legalised is a completely unnecessary one. Especially considering that the black market is awash with high-strength products. The IEA is proposing that cannabis should rank between tobacco and alcohol when it comes to regulation and will not be made available to under 18s. Retailers will need a licence for sale, and a pre-tax retail price of £4 per gram has been proposed.
To sum up
Whilst the legalisation will only apply to medicinal cannabis prescribed for specific conditions and won’t benefit recreational users of cannabis the positive effects of the legalisation is thought to be a win-win situation. We’re one step closer towards a richer economy with less public service money spent. However, although there is excitement amongst the UK’s agricultural society it is yet to be confirmed whether independent farmers will benefit from the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.