The U.K.’s Liberal Democrats say over a million police hours are wasted annually enforcing marijuana’s prohibition.
According to research conducted by the party – using official governemnt figures – a total of 87,247 police caseloads related to marijuana were opened in 2015. The average cost to the taxpayer per case is estimated at £2,256 (roughly $2,477), totaling £31 million ($34 million) for the year. The research states the for 2015, there was 1,044,180 police hours spent on these cases.
The Liberal Democrats say that prohibition is failing, as cannabis is “freely available and widely used” despite harsh laws against it. The party announced on Friday that their manifesto (their party platform) would include a pledge to legalize and regulate cannabis, in a similar manner to how U.S. states have done it. However, the party plans to support legalization for those 18 and older, rather than setting it at 21 as the eight U.S. states with legal marijuana have done.
Cannabis in the U.K. marijuana is a Class B drug, meaning that possession of the substance can result in a prison term of up to five years.
According to Home Affairs Select Committee member Julian Huppert said, cannabis prohibition results in “vast profits for organised crime.
“Liberal Democrats will take back control from the criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis”, says Huppert. “[W]e will invest tax revenues of up to £1bn in education and treatment.”