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All Drugs Should Be Legalized Immediately, Says Harvard Prof

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    California residents will vote in November on whether or not to legalize marijuana. If they vote "yes," says Harvard economics professor Jeffrey Miron in the interview below, that should only be the beginning.

    All drugs should be legalized nationwide, Miron says. Pot, cocaine, LSD, crystal-meth --- you name it.

    "Legalizing drugs would save roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. Of these savings, $25.7 billion would accrue to state and local governments, while $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government," Miron claims in a recent Cato Institute report he co-authored.

    According to their website, "The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $8.7 billion of this revenue would result from legalization of marijuana and $38.0 billion from legalization of other drugs."

    But won't we become a nation of drug addicts?

    No, says Miron. Walk down any city street and you can already buy legal drugs in multiple establishments: Caffeine at Starbucks, nicotine at the supermarket, alcohol at bars and restaurants. And we're not ALL addicted to all of these drugs.

    Our current drug policy doesn't work, Miron observes. Despite ~$40 billion spent on enforcement and prosecution, drug use is still widespread. Meanwhile, because the products are illegal, they're dangerous, low-quality, and unregulated, and they generate zero tax revenue.

    Legalizing drugs would solve those problems, Miron says. It would help close the budget deficit. And it would eliminate a bizarre double standard, in which Americans are encouraged to drink and smoke themselves to death -- while guzzling addictive coffee and tea -- but become criminals if they dare to get stoned.

    Video added to Archives

    Henry Blodget
    Oct. 6, 2010, 12:11 PM



  1. Wanderer
    More enlightened and economically educated people need to continue to make and refine the fiscal argument as to why legalization, or some rational method of distribution which eliminates the criminal element.

    Several reasons:

    • Decrease in cost of prisons
    • Decrease in cost of Law Enforcement (including military involvement)
    • Decrease in cost of emergency medical care
    • Decrease in cost of long term health care
    • Increased revenue through taxation, control, and regulation (improved quality/purity, harm reduction)
    • There are probably additional sources of revenue/cost reduction...

    The money saved could best be put to other use such as:

    • Education, of all kinds.
    • Addiction treatment.
    • Infrastructure upgrades/enhancement/innovation
    • General investment in R&D
    That's just what one hamster thinks, and is sure there is much more to it.

    Be well...
  2. mikejones
    SWIM does not think that "all" drugs should be made legal. Drugs which have potential for physical dependence, such as opiates, need to be regulated. If heroin became legal SWIM can only imagine the spike in heroin use and addiction as a result. Anyways, nothing like that will ever happen in SWIMs generation so...
  3. J.B.

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to be flippant, but does anyone really need a Harvard professor to grasp this? Or is the point that H is starting to get it a half-century after Leary?
  4. wanderingaimlessly
    Actually, quite the opposite is true. Portugal and Amsterdam for example, have basically decriminalized drugs and usage has went down drastically. When the criminal element is removed from drug use, it actually becomes boring to most teen users, who start using as an act of rebellion. Adult addicts are more likely to seek treatment, in an environment where they are not viewed as criminals, and better treatment options are available.

    Remember that drug laws have only existed for about 80 years. During the formative years of the U.S.A., opium, cocaine, and heroine were readily available at any drug store without a prescription and yet the nation thrived. Addicts did not lose their children, lose their jobs, and lose their freedom. They continued to work and be a productive member of society. Only in recent years have addicts been pidgeonholed into a criminal subculture and treated like garbage. Some of the most brilliant writers, and greatest accomplishments in our nations history have been at the hands of addicts.

    And...legalization may not be as far fetched as everyone thinks. It is starting to get some following even in the political scene. Check out Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson just to name a few. Check out "Freedom watch" with judge Napolitono. Still Years off, I am sure, but we may see drastic changes in our lifetime. People are getting fed up with the failed drug war.
  5. Euthanatos93420
    You should remove the government propaganda and lies from your imagination. It's obfuscating your judgement and perspective.
  6. jampecey
    I hate to say it, but the failed drug war has helped to minimalize the availability of many drugs in my area as well as raise the prices of some significantly to the point where I can no longer afford to be depended.

    Just 6 months ago before the cathinone ban I was taking in excess of a gram of mephedrone every day, with prices plummeting to £350 per 100g in my area. Mephedrone has been the only real drug I would consider myself dependant on and i'd still be taking it daily where it not for the fact that it no longer seems to be available.

    In an ideal world mephedrone would still be made legal but heavily taxed, such as tobacco products, and banned from sale to minors. If I had to pay £10-£15 a gram whether I brought 1g or 100g I believe I could continue taking it without problem, in moderation.
  7. Euthanatos93420
    The thing about RC availability adjustment is that the market is based on the lack of prohibition and hasn't been prohibited long enough to create an exclusive high rolling clientelle willing to traverse the shadier markets (as if the RC market isn't because of a lack of regulation...)

    The lack of supply in your area is due to the fact that if people want mdma and/or amps but can get mephedrone without the persecution their DOC is subject to then they...like electricity...will follow the path of least resistance.

    Now that it's prohibited the substance just isn't special anymore and no one gives a fuck. No demand, no supply. Chippers don't get a vote, partiers do. UNfortunately, partiers don't haver the time or brain give a fuck about quality and chipper do so we end up with cut and nasty junk all over the place.

    Legalization isn't the solution. Regulation is.
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