In a recent article on Guardian Weekly, economist Pierre Kopp of Paris University stated that France could be far better off legalising cannabis. Kopp compared the costs of enforcing strict cannabis laws in France to the possible cost when made legal.
According to the economist, the most important factor is duty levied by the state. As with tobacco the price needs to be high enough (no pun intended) to discourage buyers, yet not too high as to encourage dealing on the street.
The cost of the fight against currently illegal substances such as cannabis is hard to estimate consider the many factors involved, but Kopp thinks the state could save as much as € 300 million on policing cannabis-related 'crimes'. In addition the state would receive an enormous amount of duty, estimated at € 1 billion.
Kopp: “It seems obvious to me that we need to end criminal prosecution. But as an economist I would rather see controlled legalisation, with the state supervising production and distribution. It would thus be possible to control prices and combat possible misuse of cannabis more effectively.”