Europe has all the cards in hand to be at the forefront of drug policy reform and show the rest of the world that another path is possible. Courage and method are all we now need.
Authors: Kevin Brookes and Édouard Hesse, GenerationLibre
Fully legalising cannabis is the only way forward. But decriminalisation is only a first step towards the inclusion of cannabis in the normal legal channels of the economy. It would not only constitute a significant reform of our police and criminal justice systems, but it would also enable public authorities to devise an effective public health policy, targeting youngsters especially. It would also allow an entirely new economic sector to flourish, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs across Europe and generating a considerable amount of revenue for the public purse.
Based on a systematic and thorough review of past and current experiences in cannabis legalisation, this report shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that, as in many other areas, free market solutions are superior to state planning and state monopolies. Only a legal solution that is sufficiently cheap and competitive can replace the black market and bring the benefits expected from legalisation. The state should regulate the product and ensure that those who participate in the cannabis business offer sufficient guarantees but it should not arbitrarily set prices or restrict distributions channels – to do so would run the risk of having legalised ‘for nothing’.