Light cannabis subtracts 170 million per year from criminal organizations
according to this last study, the "involuntary" liberalization of light cannabis in Italy from December 2016 to today results in a reduction of up to 14% of searches and a significant decrease in the number of people arrested for drug-related offenses.
By means of a legislative loophole and in order to evaluate its effects, cannabis light was allowed in Italy since 2016 and the happiness of hemp stores. Although this regulation concerned the entire Italian territory, in the short term, the level of intensity varied according to the configuration of the pre-liberalization market for culture stores, that is to say retailers who were selling industrial products related to cannabis.
According to the calculations, the shortfall for criminal organizations would amount to at least 90-170 million euros per year. These results support the argument that the supply of illicit drugs is displaced by the entry of official and legal retailers.
Potential revenue went up in smoke, because consumers preferred to buy legal cannabis through legitimate sales channels rather than go to the mafia-controlled black market.
The widespread expansion of hemp shops in the country has reduced the number of arrests for drug-related crimes, limiting the extent of law enforcement seizures. "The illicit drug supply market has been affected by the success of cannabis light, which has reduced seizures of marijuana, hashish and other illegally traded products."
Professor Vincenzo Carrieri from the University of Magna Graecia and his colleague Francesco Principe, researcher at the Erasmus School in Rotterdam, studied the economic and social effects of the partial legalization triggered by the December 2016 law, which allows and encourages culture some varieties of hemp. Although cannabis sativa remains illegal and light cannabis are very different, the study shows that there is an interesting substitution effect between the two products.
Can light cannabis change the market of supply and demand?
In fact, on the illegal market there are high levels of THC ranging from 10,8% to peaks of 22% compared to the authorized light cannabis whose rates vary between 0,2 and 0,6%. "Basically, the first product psychoactive psychoactive effects and the second induces a state of relaxation," says Leonardo Madio, author of the study, adding thatthere are many consumers more attracted to the relaxing effects of cannabis than to other recreational properties and this before the law of 2016.
Consumers prefer to buy a product, certainly safer and more controlled, in the stores. The result is a shortage in the coffers of drug traffickers ...
Beyond the political clash, the study shows that partial regulation has positive effects in the fight against the black market for drugs. The law 242 2016 has indeed allowed and encouraged the cultivation of hemp with percentages of active ingredients between 0,2% and 0,6%.
Taking into account the period between May 2017 and February 2018, the authors of the research evaluated the effects of the spread of light cannabis. First, it reduced the number of seizures of illegal goods: "For each culture store in the territory before the introduction of the law, liberalization has led to a decrease up to 14% of monthly cannabis seizuresLeonardo Madio explains. A process that also affected the number of cannabis plants illegally grown, down 33% and hashish down 8%. At the same time, the new legislation has reduced the number of detainees for drug-related offenses: the arrests have dropped by 3%: in particular the number of foreigners -3% and minors -15%.
Finally, the measure also affected the portfolio of criminal groups in the country for a value between 90 and 170 million euros. Of course, this is still a small amount, as the entire illegal Italian cannabis market is worth about 3,5 billion.
"Cannabis light has led to a decline in street sales representing 3 at 5% of the relative market," the researchers said.
Finally, the authors highlight the need to fill remaining gaps in regulating the medical cannabis market.
Reduced sales of drugs
In an other source published on the University of York portal, the three authors explain that accessibility to local markets for cannabis light has led to a reduction in drug sales, including anxiolytics, sedatives, antidepressants, migraine and antiepileptic drugs. these drugs may decide to replace them with non-prescription light cannabis because it is an available and affordable product.