Britain is looking longingly at the green rush going on across the pond, despite the possible roadblocks our new administration in Washington might throw down in the future.
Notwithstanding the clever spots some London pot growers have chosen for their gardens—Legoland, an empty storage unit just yards from a police station and a Russian-owned mansion a block from the Queen Mother herself—Brits would apparently prefer to buy their weed legally.
British wanna-be ganjapreneurs must be salivating at Arcview Market Research’s recent report that folks in the U.S. and Canada spent an estimated $53.3 billion of their taxable dollars on legal cannabis products in 2016.
That’s more than Americans spent at McDonald’s and Starbucks combined.
Cannabis, according to the World Health Organization, is the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illegal drug in the world, but somehow the British bobbies don’t seem to be fussed about people smoking or growing it for that matter.
Just one in four cannabis users are charged and arrests have fallen by almost 50 percent since 2010 in England.
Some British police forces admit they don’t seek out weed users or even target those who grow for personal use, according to the Independent.
So why isn’t weed legal in England if it circulates so freely?
“Cannabis operates outside of the law because we make it so. We have some crazy notion that illegal industries are the ones we control the most, when in fact the opposite is true,” writes Jack Peat, business and economics journalist, in the London Economic.
In his article, “The Financial Case for Legalizing Cannabis,” Peat points to the enormous amount of taxes collected on booze and cigarettes and how they are often used to fund awareness and health campaigns.
“The illicit drug industry has contributed no such tax money, even though it certainly causes it’s own share of societal problems and the size of the industry is not to be trifled at,” Peat explained. “Taking control of cannabis would also allow the British Government to regulate the manufacturing, distribution and quality of the drug; as well as monitor its usage across the country far more accurately.”
The recent Arcview Market Research report confirmed that legal cannabis consumer spending grew 34 percent across North America and that figure can be expected to grow at a 27 percent compound annual growth rate over the next five years.
Taking those figures alone into account, Peat’s financial case for legalizing weed in the United Kingdom makes all the sense in the world.