Lib Dems cannabis policy could generate £1bn a year

  • Post last modified:June 11, 2024
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Lib Dems leader Ed Davey revealed that if elected he would look to legalise cannabis through licensed retailers. As any future government seeks alternative avenues to generate more revenue for the Treasury, the legalisation of cannabis could be a key way in which to do so. But will general election candidates pledge this?

Lib Dems cannabis: £1bn a year and counting

Mamedica, the UK’s leading medical cannabis clinic, saw a benefit from the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 2018, is now suggesting that legalising cannabis could generate more than £1bn for the government in the first year of tax revenue.

According to Mamedica’s calculation, the illicit cannabis market in the UK is valued at over £3bn, with 1.8 million people currently accessing the black market. By modelling taxation similarly to alcohol, Mamedica estimates that a duty of £1.18bn could be generated. With this revenue in mind, Mamedica has outlined the potential benefits across healthcare, education, and social care.

Health and social care:

According to Mamedica, the revenue from cannabis taxation could construct 3 new mid-sized hospitals. Alternatively, it could employ over 33,000 nurses or provide a £3,500 pay rise per nurse. The government could also employ an additional 36,000 first-year junior doctors, build 786 new GP surgeries, or hire 15,700 additional GPs. This revenue could also fund 52,000 more social care workers and construct 157 new care homes.


A new administration could build 168 new primary schools or employ over 33,000 primary school teachers. Additionally, it could build 59 new secondary schools or hire over 29,500 secondary school teachers. The government could fund 466,398,422 school meals per year, providing 291 meals per pupil annually for the 1.6 million infants benefitting from school meals.

Furthermore, £1.18bn could subsidise after-school childcare costs by approximately £2,000 per child, supporting around 590,000 children in total.

Local infrastructure and housing:

Alleviating pressures on local services, a future government could employ 23,600 police officers or build 59 new police stations. Additionally, this money could fund 2,360 new local bus services.

Releasing the pressure of an enduring housing crisis, Mamedica estimates that £1.18bn could be used to build 6,700 new houses or 5,200 new social houses.

Just legalise it now

The future of the cannabis market stands to grow exponentially as more people become aware of the legal, regulated route. So, it should be on more parties’ general election manifestos.

The benefits of the medical cannabis industry have only recently been embraced by the public, yet the privatisation of the sector has played a crucial role in driving the medicinal cannabis industry forward, with most cannabis-based medicinal products still not having been granted a licence for use in the UK.

Since the government allowed medical cannabis in 2018, just 1,000 patients have received licensed prescriptions, while over 20,000 have been prescribed products privately.

Jon Robson, CEO and founder of Mamedica, comments:

By tapping into the cannabis industry’s vast potential, the UK can establish itself as a leader in the region, attracting investments, driving local economies, and ultimately enhancing the well-being of our population.

The growing acceptance of medical cannabis as a viable alternative treatment presents an immense opportunity for economic growth and job creation. As the global cannabis market expands, embracing this emerging sector will not only generate substantial tax revenue for the government but also employment opportunities.

Medical cannabis has been legal in the UK since November 2018, yet its applications are still only recently being discussed publicly. It wasn’t until I spent time in California – and visited a medical cannabis dispensary for the first time – that I realised the potential it had to improve the lives of people who were on much stronger medications.

At Mamedica, we advocate for improved access and availability to safe and secure treatment. Through a combination of education and awareness, the increased use of prescription-based cannabis has the potential to alleviate the collective experience of pain so many have normalised and instead enjoy an improved quality of life.

Featured image via Envato Elements

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