Legalising cannabis could generate hundreds of millions of pounds a year in tax and cut costs for the police and prisons, a government study has found.
The internal Treasury report, obtained by BBC Newsnight, said regulating the market would "generate notable tax revenue" and "lead to overall savings to the criminal justice system". MPs debated the issue on Monday, after a petition calling for legalisation drew more than 220,000 signatures. Ministers do not plan to alter the law.
The Home Office said it had "no plans" to change the law on cannabis, which is currently classified as a Class B illegal drug, adding that cannabis use was falling gradually.
The Treasury study was undertaken earlier this year at the behest of the Liberal Democrats when they were in coalition, but was not published.
Civil servants were asked to consider the "potential fiscal impacts of introducing a regulated cannabis market in the UK".
The study notes that 2.2 million people aged 16 to 59 are thought to have used cannabis last year - smoking a total of 216 tonnes. read more