It is great that the Ministry of Justice have released the Berl reports Evidence to inform a regulated cannabis market.  It is better that everyone gets to read the reports before the 2020 cannabis referendum.

These reports are a stirring, detailed and data-driven vindication for voting Yes – for Cannabis regulation and control as a superior model for NZ.

Here are some of the key berl takeaways:

It estimated tax from legalisation cannabis would net the New Zealand Government $640 million per year. Adding the revenue from licensing fees minus the cost of administering the scheme, Berl says there would be $675m a year that could be used for health services. (Other levies would add up to get to over a billion per year in revenue.)

Health interventions under legalisation would see the number of cannabis users drop, as well as ultimately reducing the amount of cannabis used.

Successful interventions when cannabis is legalised could see the number of cannabis users with long-term health conditions drop by between 4600 and 5900, and a reduction in the number of users with mental health diagnoses of between 6500 and 7800. That would see fewer cannabis-related hospitalisations, fewer users leaving school without qualifications, and an increase in employability along with a $280 to $380 increase in annual incomes, Berl says.

Berl’s modelling assumed that a legal market would displace about two-thirds of the black market in a few years. (Two thirds! No one said the illicit market would be completely eradicated by the legal one immediately, but the assumption that two thirds is gone after a few years is surely a wonderful thing! And just like alcohol after prohibition in the 1920s, over time the illicit market will eventually evaporate.

The legal cannabis industry would employ 5000 people fulltime, creating $210m a year in salaries and wages and boosting GDP by $440m a year.

Lastly, the Berl report makes it clear that the referendum isn’t a debate about whether cannabis exists or not – it already does, and is freely accessible to anyone under the current prohibition model.  The report makes clear that if we legalise, pretty much every harm that cannabis causes under the current prohibition model will be reduced.

We challenge all kiwis who care about New Zealand and their fellow New Zealanders to read this report. It supports legalisation and lays out how it’s better in clear language with dollars attached. If you care about better outcomes for New Zealand.  Read this report and vote yes!