Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Case for Legalizing All Drugs

The legalization question from the Summit of the Americas isn't off everyone's radar. BigThink has "Is Legalization the Answer to War on Drugs?", a great clip of an economist named Jeffrey Miron who advocates for the legalization of all illicit drugs. That's right, not just weed. Miron would also legalize heroin, Ecstasy, crystal meth, PCP, LSD, and cocaine. How about sniffing glue?

I generally favor marijuana legalization, but not necessarily anything more than decriminalization of other drugs. I've never felt that PCP, for example, should be legal, or any other drug that induces dangerous psychotic behavior. Individual use of crack cocaine, on the other hand, could be simply decriminalized, so that users aren't literally penalized for simply screwing up their own bodies and minds.

Furthermore, I see a difference between marijuana and drugs like PCP in their recreational potential. Pot is no more, and probably less, dangerous than drinking a few beers, both in the damage done to one's own body and in pot's practically nonexistent risk of fisticuffs produced by mind alteration. PCP, on the other hand, is far more dangerous than a few beers in every way.

But Miron has me more than halfway convinced that even foul drugs like PCP or meth should be legalized. When it becomes clear that drug cartels are terrorists, whose very existence depends upon prohibition, it also becomes clear that legalization will, as Miron points out, virtually eliminate drug trade-related violence, improve quality controls of the drug (through regulation), and reduce social harms associated with the drug trade (like cycles of desperation that precipitate crime and poverty).

Click here to view BigThink's short video of Jeffrey Miron.

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