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Cannabis Laws & Rates of Use

Q

I have read most of the information on you're site, and I find it really interesting. I am writting to ask you if it is possible for you to provide me with information concerning the effects of consumption if cannabis were to be legalised in the UK.

A

Most users report that their consumption of cannabis would be unaffected by any change in the law. The average amount used has not increased significantly despite a real reduction in prices (cannabis resin prices have been falling since 1994, and are now lower than they were in 1986).

I suspect that if cannabis were legalised, there would be an initial surge in use, these new users would either like it and continue, or dislike it and not use again. As cannabis has been widely available for over 30 years, most of those who have not yet used would have no wish to do so.

I would, however, expect a greater willingness of existing users to report use (e.g. to opinion pollsters), once the risk of a criminal record was removed. I would also expect to see a sharp increase in use among the older generation (50+ age group) who had passed into adulthood before cannabis became widely available, and who are of a generation with greater respect for and deference to the law.

Set against this, I would not be surprised to see a reduction in the popularity of cannabis among younger people (e.g. teenagers), as the forbidden fruit, when no longer forbidden, loses much of its sweetness. If their parents and grandparents were also using cannabis, the defiant motivation to use would go, and cannabis could even become 'uncool'.

Taxation of cannabis, and reduction in the law-enforcement resources devoted to cannabis probihition, could generate a net gain of up to 5 billion per year to the UK government.

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