Britain is leaving the EU, but it's going to go out on a high. I'm Neil Inmac from Breaking Views, Reuter's Financial columnist. And we think that next year the cannabis debate is going to come back in a big way in the UK. So, first of all, let's think about the politics.
The politics generally are moving away from legalization. It appears that the current government suddenly has very little desire for it, and the only party that really has supported legalizing cannabis in the last few years has been the liberal democrats, who are not particulary strong at this moment. However, we think that it's going to change for a number of reasons.
One, the poll suggests more or less about 50-50 or a little bit less than 50% support for legalizing cannabis. But there are still quite a few undecided voices, and therefore we think if you had a serious public debate on this, that could comfortably swing back towards a majority, and certainly at least a majority as big as the Brexit 2016 referendum.
Second, the Conservative Party is in deep trouble, particularly with the floaters. They need to show that they can come up with both policies and legalizing cannabis is exactly the kind of thing that could do that. And as the public actually starts to debate the issue, I think the benefits of legalizing will become very clear, particularly in terms of fiscal policy.
Best of all though will come from no longer having to put people in jail, no longer having to prosecute them. Look at a state like Colorado in the US. So they've legalized cannabis for the last few years, listing a steady increase in tax revenue generated each month. Most recently, for November it was around $20 million.
If you extrapolate to a country the size of the UK, you're talking a company over a billion pounds. And for a country like the UK, which is leaving the EU, it's doing a lot of harm to some of its sectors, to its manufacturing industry and to its financial services industry, it needs all the help it can get.
Bottom line, a year from now we are having a much bigger discussion about cannabis and that's something most people are not expecting right now.