According to a new report by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, the illegal cannabis market in in Israel is worth nearly a billion dollars, and bringing it above ground into a legal market would net the nation over $450 million in both reduced enforcement costs, as well as increased tax revenue.
Over 275,000 people consume cannabis in the past year, researchers found. The study also found that 75% in the country believe cannabis has legitimate medical value.
“Recognizing the enormous financial gains that would come from legalization demands that the government take a serious look at the proposal to legalize cannabis use under specific guidelines,” says Yarden Gazit, co-author of the study.
“There is no disputing that if the public is able to get past the wholly negative misperceptions associated with marijuana usage and appreciate the potential benefits with limited social or healthcare costs, this is an idea that needs open-minded and serious re-examination at this time.”