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Lib Dems say legalising cannabis could raise £1,500,000,000 in tax -


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Lib Dems say legalising cannabis could raise £1,500,000,000 in tax -

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to legalise cannabis if they win the general election
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to legalise cannabis if they win the general election

The Liberal democrats have pledged to fight crime by introducing a legalised cannabis tax if they win the general election.

Jo Swinson’s party confirmed they will create a regulated market for the class B drug as they unveiled their manifesto today.

They slammed Labour and the Tories’ ‘prohibitionist attitude to drug use’ – saying a cannabis tax could raise £1.5bn to fight crime.

The pro-remain group said they would follow models from the US and Canada by legalising the sale of cannabis through licensed shops.

It would only be legal for adults over 18, with limits placed on how strong the weed could be.

Speaking to ITV Correspondent Rebecca Barry, Ms Swinson said:  ‘We’re criminalising far too many young people. It’s also meaning that it becomes a gateway to other crime.

Hands making cannabis joint at marijuana shop
Jo Swinson says taxing a legalised cannabis could raise money to fight crime (Picture: Photodisc)

“If instead we can regulate the cannabis market, we can raise taxation revenue from that, we can set regulations about the safety of the cannabis which is bought and sold.



‘Then we can create a much safer environment. This is something that is led by the evidence.

‘It’s happened in other countries where they’ve seen a decrease in crime rate and indeed they’ve been able to make sure people’s health has been protected too.’

The Lib Dem leader said current drugs laws ‘just aren’t working’ and reform was needed to ensure Britain doesn’t ‘lag behind’ other countries which had made cannabis legal.

Britain's opposition Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson speaks during the launch of the Liberal Democrats general election manifesto in central London, on November 20, 2019. - Britain will go to the polls on December 12, 2019 to vote in a pre-Christmas general election. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Lib Dem leader said drug laws need to be reformed after launching her party’s manifesto (Picture: AFP)

Under the plans, the Department of Health would lead on drugs policy rather than the Home Office.

The Lib Dems say it would help to ‘break the grip of the criminal gangs’ on drug distribution and promised to invest more cash in addiction services and support for drug users.

Ms Swinson rejected criticism that legalising the drug would negatively impact mental health, saying the deterrent of cannabis being illegal was not having an affect on users.

‘There’s a range of substances which absolutely have negative impacts on our health but are nonetheless legal, and adults are in a position to decide whether they will go and buy a drink at a bar, whether or not they will smoke’ Ms Swinson said.

‘Just the fact of it being illegal isn’t stopping people from doing it. The surveys are very clear that it’s a very, very widely used drug.

‘But criminalising people for something which many people in society do not see as being a dreadful thing to do doesn’t seem to make sense’

Dry and trimmed cannabis buds, stored in a glass jars. Medical cannabis
Canada and some US states have moved to legalise cannabis in recent years (Picture: iStockphoto)

Earlier this month, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called for a rethink on cannabis laws to tackle the link between drugs and violent crime.



He said it was time for an ‘evidence based conversation’ on the pros and cons after a year which saw a record number of murders and stabbing in the capital.

The policy was one of a number of sweeping reforms included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, which was released on Wednesday after a week of sliding ratings.

Key policies in the manifesto rely on the prospect of a £50 billion ‘Remain bonus’ from not having to pay the so-called EU divorce bill and predicted growth from staying in.

The party say the money will go on public services, tackling inequalities and fighting the climate crisis.



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