DEALERS running small businesses selling cannabis received yet another boost from the government in today's 'booze budget' with the news that Alistair Darling will raise taxes on booze - but continue to allow cannabis to be sold tax free.
Experts have estimated that the tax free status for cannabis costs the treasury as much as £2.86 billion a year in lost revenues (based on 2004 data). However supporters of the government's policy say it encourages up to 5000 'grow and deal' cannabis enterprises nationwide, which bring in much needed income to poor families on some of Britain's worst council estates, giving a boost to local economies.
A few years ago many dealers were concerned that the government might liberalise the cannabis laws, and regulate it's sale, which would dramatically cut into their profits. More recently the 'dealers friend' Gordon Brown said he was considering making cannabis a 'Class B' drug, which would ensure a huge boost in profits for the multi billion pound cannabis industry. However it appears he is now back tracking, as making cannabis 'Class B' would cost the tax payer £1 billion a year to enforce.
With the cost of booze and cigarettes going up thanks to the new tax increases, many drug experts fear even more people will turn to other drugs apart from cannabis; Crack Cocaine, Heroin and Ecstasy also enjoy tax free status and are cheaper now than any time in history.
City reaction: Britain's top cannabis joint rolling material suppliers Rizla will also welcome the new budget boost for the cannabis industry, and their shares are likely to go up on todays news.
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