The Global Initiative For Drug Policy Reform

Cost-Benefit Analyses

As part of the Global Initiative, the Beckley Foundation has commissioned the first-ever Cost-Benefit Analysis of a Taxed and Regulated Cannabis Market. This will investigate the control of cannabis through a system of licensing, regulation and taxation. It is investigating two possible policy changes: a) the control of cannabis through regulation and taxation and b) the de-criminalisation of heroin supplied to addicts through government-regulated treatment centres. This work is being undertaken by Professor Stephen Pudney (Institute for Social and Economic Research) and Prof. Lord Layard (London School of Economics), chair of the steering committee. The aims of the project are:

1) Recent Markets

To review the recent development of illicit drugs markets in England and Wales, looking at the evolution of government policy, consumption, prices, purity, and enforcement and treatment activity since 2000.

>2) Design of New Policy

To consider the detailed decisions that would be required for the design of a new policy framework based on licensing, regulation and taxation of cannabis, and to speculate on the form that licensing, regulation and taxation would take in practice.

> 3) Social Costs and Benefits

To identify and, where possible, estimate the social costs and benefits that such a policy would bring – including both direct effects (such as reduced policing and criminal justice costs) and longer-term indirect effects (such as the social cost of long-term health problems).

>4) Impacts

To identify the most significant of the likely impacts of policy and consequently highlight areas where the need for more robust evidence is greatest.