Switzerland smokes 750.000 joints a day in billion-franc cannabis industry
A new study by the University of Geneva has revealed that the Swiss cannabis industry has a turnover of 1 billion francs a year. The report - which was financed by the government, Canton Geneva, Basel Stadt and the cities of Bern and Zurich - found that the industry would bring in millions of francs a year in tax revenue if the practice were to be fully legalised.
Study looks into economic benefits of cannabis legalisation
Currently, it is illegal to grow, import, manufacture or sell full-strength cannabis in Switzerland. In a study commissioned to see if the current cannabis laws are effective, Genevan researcher Oliver Hoff analysed the extent of the industry in the alpine nation and considered what the economic effects of legalisation would be.
"The study shows that the current form of regulation leads to an economically inefficient result," Hoff said. He explained that the current set of rules governing the practice leaves consumers with a lack of transparency and quality and sellers with “artificially high margins” of profit.
Legalisation would give the Swiss government millions of francs
His study revealed that around 750.000 “joints” are consumed in Switzerland every day, generating a turnover of 1 billion francs every year. This accounts for 0,06 percent of Swiss gross domestic product, more than the production of vehicles and car parts.
Based on the report's findings, despite the expected drop in profit after legalisation, regulating the consumption of cannabis would bring in millions of francs in revenue through business taxes and personal taxation. The report estimated that between 166 and 464 million francs in tax revenue could be earned every year, if the practice was legalised.
Full cannabis legalisation coming to Switzerland soon
Hoff said that this money could be used to fund Swiss healthcare and "could be redirected to fund the societal costs associated with cannabis use." He conceded that the economic argument for legalisation was not the only thing to consider, but asserted that his work could help “shape a meaningful approach to regulating cannabis in order to minimise its negative social and health impacts and to protect particularly vulnerable population groups.”
Currently, both houses of parliament are in favour of cannabis reform. The cultivation, production, trade and consumption of the drug are to be comprehensively re-regulated in future, with a draft of the new laws expected soon.