How much do we pay and how much do we consume, compared with London, Liverpool and, er, Tokyo?
Manchester is the 78th most expensive global city to buy cannabis, according to a newly published ‘2018 Cannabis Price Index’.
The research, compiled by Seedo - a Tel Aviv-based company that produces home-growing equipment - revealed that Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world in which to buy marijuana, at £22.86 per gram, followed by Seoul in South Korea (£22.71) and Kyoto in Japan (£20.76).
The highest-ranking European cities were Dublin, Ireland (£21.63), Tallin, Estonia (£20.98) and Oslo, Norway (£19.14).
In Manchester, the study estimates that £41.29 million in tax could be collected each year
In the UK table, Manchester ranked sixth, at £5.52 per gram, 15p more than in Leeds (£5.37), and 92p less than in London (£6.44) – which topped the UK price chart.
Manchester also ranked below Glasgow (£6.06), Birmingham (£6.01), Edinburgh (£5.89) and Liverpool (£5.56).
Quito in Ecuador has the least expensive cannabis, at just 94p per gram, followed by Bogota, Columbia (£1.54) and Asuncion in Paraguay (£1.55). The cheapest city in Europe was Antwerp, in Belgium, where a gram costs an average £3.00.
However, when it comes to global marijuana consumption, Manchester ranks much higher.
Consuming 9.11 metric tonnes per year, Manchester ranks 27th globally, compared with Birmingham (3.93), Leeds (2.69) and Liverpool (1.67). London consumed the most of the UK cities (31.4), and New York (77.44) the most globally (though relative population sizes need to be taken into account).
According to Seedo, the aim of the study is to push for ‘legislative reform on cannabis’ and show how much tax could be raised through legalisation – a debate the current UK government has been keen to avoid.
In Manchester, the study estimates that £41.29 million in tax could be collected each year, if taxed at a similar rate to cigarettes. In London, the figure was £166.15 million, in Birmingham it's £19.41 million. The total possible tax collection for the government across the seven UK cities is £265.5 million annually.
“This study has revealed some incredible insights into the kind of tax revenue that legalising weed could generate.” says Uri Zeevi, CMO at Seedo. “By removing the criminal element from marijuana, governments will then be able to more safely regulate production, take away power from underground gangs, and as we’ve shown in this study, generate huge tax revenues.”
Seedo’s findings follows research carried out by the Adam Smith Institute in 2016, which estimated that a legalised marijuana market in the UK could be worth £7 billion per annum.
On 17 January 2018, the Welsh Assembly voted in favour of a motion to reclassify cannabis for medicinal use. Following the vote, the Labour MP for Newport West, Paul Flynn (who put forward the bill), wrote in the Pharmaceutical Journal:
“Legalising cannabis for medicinal use has not previously shown spikes in cannabis use, and no increase in road fatalities. But there have been reductions in criminal activity, and new taxes have contributed millions of dollars to the coffers of countries that have introduced new policy on medicinal cannabis."