- In other countries where drug use is decriminalised or legalised, drug use has not risen. The cost of the policy is zero as there are immediate savings from a reduction in policing, judiciary hearings, and incarceration of people from drug-related crimes. There will also be an increase in revenue from legalisation, which can be used for improving access to public health programs, addiction services, and education.
- Legalisation would not necessarily increase overall use. The example of Portugal’s decriminalisation in suggests there would be a small increase in some categories and a decrease in others. Problematic use and adverse health outcomes, which cause the most significant financial impact, have decreased considerably since 2001. Likewise, since Switzerland began its heroin-assisted treatment program in the mid-90s, heroin use – as well as heroin-related deaths, crime and social problems – has fallen substantially.
- In addition to savings from discontinued law enforcement, legal regulation would create additional tax revenues likely to dwarf the cost of regulation. For example, following Colorado’s legalisation of Cannabis in 2014, the single county of Pueblo – which has a population of roughly 160,000 – experienced a net revenue increase in 2016 alone of US$35.6 million, projected to rise to more than US$200 million by 2021.
- The revenue generated by legal regulation could be directed toward education, prevention and treatment, further reducing the financial and human cost of drugs to society.
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