Europeans spend $40B on illegal drugs every year

money in your back pocket

European Union citizens spend about 24 billion euros ($NZ40 billion) on illicit drugs every year, a report says, making it one of the continent’s most profitable activities for organised crime groups.

The report, drawn up by Europol and European Union drugs monitoring centre EMCDDA, said the advent of new technology such as encrypted networks and digital currencies had opened a new market for the online supply of drugs.

“Illicit drug production and trafficking remains one of the largest and most innovative criminal markets in Europe,” Europol director Rob Wainwright said in a statement on Tuesday (local time).

While technological advances were made, organised crime groups also sought out new routes to smuggle drugs into Europe, the report added, such as heroin increasingly being shipped through the southern Caucasus.

Europol’s Wainwright added that co-operation between member states was needed to address the problem, also because criminal networks involved in the drug trade often branched out into other areas of crime.

So here’s a radical idea:  make it legal, put GST on top and tax the businesses that sell it.  Add an excise tax to deal with any health problems so it becomes self-funding.

This takes the gangs out of the business, sets quality standards, so you’re actually taking what you’re told you bought, it creates a good tax take for the country and the current policing, court and imprisonment costs will more than cover the health cost.  If not, an excise tax will cover any shortfall so the net cost to taxpayers is zero, the tax take goes up, and crime goes down.

We can try it out with Marijuana.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.