A New Kind of Drug War

I never in a million years pictured myself saying that we should legalize drugs in the United States, this article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7045183/ by Christopher Farrell changed my mind. He talks of how some $33 billion have been spent on the prosecution of drug offenders in recent years. The article discusses legalizing drugs and regulating them like we do cigarettes and alcohol, by restricting sale to minors and imposing steep taxes.

Most people are frightened by this concept. It is scary to think you could walk into a local liquor store and by narcotics but obviously prohibition and prosecution are not working. There is a big enough demand and plenty of drug lords to supply the demand that those who want it know how to get it. I say lets legalize drugs, and place a stiff tax on the purchase of those drugs, which in turn will lower the cost of finding and fighting the law breakers. I do believe the tax should be stiff enough to deter just anyone from buying it, and low enough to kill the underground drug traffic. Like the author says, "You can't ignore that price matters even in this market."


Jane said...

I agree with the author of this article, it is terrifying to look at my child and think of narcotics as readily available and legal.

However, who's responsibility is it to keep those drugs out of my child's hands and to teach my child the dangers and consequences of using them? Mine.

If it's legalized, then there is less chance that a "pusher" will try to give my child drugs ... less chance of her obtaining something contaminated or "laced".

I believe that the so-called "War on Drugs" is a crock. It's doing virtually no good. It seems that the economy would absolutely benefit from the "legalization, regulation and taxation".

I think this falls into the same category of gun-control. Illegalization is not the answer ... education is.

Chuck said...

Ace I couldn't agree with you and Christoper Farell any more on this subject. I do not consider myself a liberal, nor am I a drug user. However, I've heard this explained before in a very similar fashion in my mico-economics class and it makes sense to me. Demand ensures supply. Any time there is an inelastic demand for something that is illegal it creates an undergroud market (black market) and there will be someone there to supply it. No taxes will be paid by the unederground suppliers on their sales. Also drug dealers know once their customers are hooked that they can charge alot and become very rich and powerful i.e. Al Capone.

Dr. Tufte said...

All I can say is I'm glad that students (and others) are starting to get the message that economists have been sending for quite a while.

(I'm not trying to be arrogant about this - to an economist, prohibition of something with inelastic demand just doesn't make sense, so brighter people than me have been saying this for a long time).