Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Case for Legalizing All Drugs REDUX

Jeffrey Miron appears to be in the news, adding some momentum (I hope) to a growing movement to at least decriminalize marijuana use. From The Huffington Post (April 17, 2012):

More than 300 economists, including three nobel laureates, have signed a petition calling attention to the findings of a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually by not having to enforce the current prohibition on the drug. The report added that legalization would save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco. [more]

I am not sure $13.7 billion is it, if one also factors in the potential millions (billions?) saved by users of marijuana who no longer have to pay fines or lawyers to defend them in court. All that money can go back into the economy. And with legalization could come potentially tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of new jobs in legal marijuana growing and selling. Perhaps Miron's findings address these issues, too.

At the end of the Huffington Post piece, I was pleasantly surprised to see Glenn Greenwald interviewed by the libertarian Nick Gillespie about Greenwald's study about decriminalization of all drugs in Portugal. It is a success by every important measure: harm reduction, popular support, and cost savings. I repeat, it is a success.

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