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Legalise Cannabis, Save the NHS?

Legalise Cannabis, Save the NHS?

By Grow How

Right now, the UK is facing what’s said to be the single worse financial crisis in the history of the NHS. Financial matters like these don’t usually interest most people, but this is the kind of problem that affects everyone…literally. If the NHS can’t afford to run as it needs to run, it could be a disaster for the British public in general.

Unfortunately, the UK government is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, the NHS needs a serious and on-going cash injection to avoid unmitigated disaster. On the other, the British public already feels as if it is being squeezed for every last penny – tax hikes and whatnot being somewhat out of the question.

Which prompts the impossible question – how can the government generate tens of millions of pounds on a regular basis, while at the same time pleasing the public and lightening the load on the NHS as a whole?

It’s easy really – get serious with cannabis legalisation.

Comparing the situation overseas to that of Colorado may seem cliché, but it makes a fair and valid point. In 2016 alone, the state raked in a massive $200 million in cannabis taxation alone. The windfall from cannabis legalisation has been so huge that the biggest crisis they face is working out how and where the money should be put to use. Instead of struggling to make the system work, they’ve more money than they need and are doing fantastic things with it.

Better health care, education and the most open and accessible care for those suffering with drug addiction and mental health issues. All funded by cannabis tax dollars.

The only real difference with the UK being that on our shores, the cannabis industry would be worth somewhere in the region of £7 billion annually, if it was to be taken completely out of the hands of the black market for good. That’s £7 billion, equating to billions in tax revenues and billions pumped back into the economy. According to a recent report by the Nuffield Trust, the current annual deficit in spending across the NHS as a whole is coming out at around £4 billion annually. Far more than the government seems to be admitting, but still the kind of figure that could be met comfortably by the revenues and taxation collected from legal cannabis.

What’s more, this doesn’t take into account the tens of millions of pounds that would be saved on unnecessary police investigations, court time, convictions etc. Nor does it account for the fact that legal cannabis is known to massively reduce dependency on things like antidepressants, not to mention the prevalence of addiction to more dangerous drugs like heroin.

Whichever way you look at it, you find yourself wondering whether it’s a case of the UK government not being able to see the woods for the trees. But at the same time, it’s not as if policymakers don’t already know all of this – and have known it for some time. As such, the fact that they continue to drag their heels to such an extent is both disappointing and perplexing.

Even if the decision was made not to go ahead with full legalisation, but to at least introduce something of a proactive sale and distribution system for cannabis, it could make a huge difference. But given the fact that medical marijuana is still fundamentally unavailable in any capacity in the UK, it’s highly unlikely the recreational side of things will change anytime soon.

…even if it could save the NHS in one fell swoop and benefit the entire British public.

 

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