Green party members are working on a drugs policy that could see the council rake in millions of pounds selling cannabis.

Members of the Brighton and Hove Green Party say they are working on the ‘Brighton Model’ – a drugs policy based on efforts in Copenhagen that legalises cannabis and puts distribution into the hands of local government.

Those behind the idea stress that no concrete plans have been made and they are simply “getting the conversation started” in a bid to move away from the current “failed war on drugs”.

Davy Jones, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, said: “No one is saying we should do all this straight away without further research, but it is an aspiration that we should look at. It is one step at a time.

“Everyone realises the war on drugs has spectacularly failed. The first stage is to look at decriminalising it and then regulating it.

“It is heartbreaking to punish people who smoke something that is less dangerous than alcohol, for example, and is something that has also been proved to have other benefits.

“No doubt someone will shoot us down for raising the idea but someone has to. We need to move to a situation where the gangsters no longer run the cannabis trade and instead we educate, help and support users and not criminalise them.”

The Copenhagen model sees cannabis purchases restricted to Danish passport holders aged 18 and over.

Civil servants handle cannabis sales through dispensers across the city and, through licence fees, the local council reaps financial rewards that go some way to dealing with budget cuts.

In Colorado, USA, where cannabis was made legal at the start of 2014, violent crime dropped by around 10% between January and April last year and the state was estimated to have generated more than $30 million in revenue in 12 months.

Mr Jones said: “Politicians get incredibly nervous talking about this kind of thing, but it would be going from a position of total failure in the war on drugs to something where we need to start seeing drugs under the health umbrella.

“We need something where it is under public or community regulation and, where drugs are going to be smoked anyway, they are good quality and the users are educated and supported.”

Warren Morgan, leader of the Brighton and Hove Labour and Cooperative Group, said his party would not support any such proposals.

He added: “Do Caroline Lucas and her Green Party colleagues really believe that selling drugs is a solution to the council’s funding crisis?

“Have they honestly thought through the potential harm that encouraging cannabis use, let alone more smoking, will do to future generations of young people?

“Even for the Greens, this is totally irresponsible.”