A cannabis plant is pictured in London, 08 October 2007.
Leon Neal—AFP/Getty Images
November 21, 2016 12:06 PM EST

Britain should follow the lead of several states in the U.S. and legalize marijuana, according to a report backed by several U.K. lawmakers.

The Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think tank, says the U.K. government should recognize that legalization “is the only workable solution to the problems of crime and addiction” in the country. The paper asserts that Britain’s cannabis policy a “messy patchwork of legislation” and calls for the government to follow in the footsteps of America—which saw an additional four states legalize recreational marijuana in November.

Former Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg is among the cross-party group of politicians to have backed the report, which states that the U.K. cannabis market could be worth some $8.5 billion and provide the government up to $1.3 billion in tax revenues each year. Also, there are currently 1,363 people incarcerated for marijuana offenses in the U.K., the report noted.

“British politicians need to open their eyes to what is happening in the rest of the world,” Clegg said in a statement. “Cannabis prohibition is being swept away on a tide of popular opinion and replaced with responsible legal regulation. Now is the time for Ministers to start writing the rules for this legal market, including age limits and health warnings, so that we can finally take back control from the criminal gangs.”

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