The Australian Parliamentary Budget Office has found that legalizing cannabis throughout the nation would be worth nearly $2 billion a year for the government, according to a Guardian report. The Green Party has proposed a plan to tax-and-regulate cannabis for adults, which, according to the PBO, would raise $3.6 billion over the first four years beginning in July 2019, based on a 25 percent excise tax.
Under the plan, Australia‘s government would act as a wholesaler but citizens would be allowed to grow up to six plants in their home. The PBO bases their estimates on production license fees of $3,500 and annual fees for producers of $2,300. They estimated that recreational users would purchase 3 grams per week.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the proposal “would fully fund drug education and treatment programs and provide a much needed funding boost” for hospitals and Medicare.
“We need to get real about cannabis. Almost 7 million Australians have used cannabis despite currently risking a criminal record for doing so. As a drug and alcohol doctor, I’ve seen the ‘tough on drugs’ approach causes enormous harm. It drives people away from getting help when they need it and exposes them to a dangerous black market.” – Di Natale to the Guardian
According to one 2016 survey, less than half (47 percent) of Australians supported legalizing cannabis; however, that figure is pushed to 55 percent when legalization includes a taxed and regulated regime like alcohol and tobacco.