The case for legalizing drugs

published Nov 08, 2007, last modified Jul 19, 2020

Today, I'm stealing a little time from your lives while I respond to a commenter's assertion that my article on pornography makes a strong case in favor of legalizing drugs (a statement I fully agree with):

My commenter said, quite eloquently:

I don’t know if you noticed but using drugs as an example you made a very strong case for legalizing drugs.

And I think you’d agree with me that having to struggle to fight the consequences of forbidding drugs is better than legalizing then :)

I demand a new article because of this =D

Just read Santhros comment, i disagree, is not moral that is the most important factor for forbidding drugs (although its not a bad reason) but the consequences it brings. Someone that is drugged is an peril to the society, because it can drive car and etc. I know, i know, we can drink and drive(not legally, but easily )… But thats stupid. Here on Brazil its one of the biggest causes of accident, the major one being Inattentive while diving (if i’m not mistaken)

Plus i’m profoundly bothered by anyone who smokes near me, im a jackass :) Can’t imagine having to take marijuana smell or a “drunk” on cocaine…

Obs : I’ve read Rudd-O take on ciggars, disagree…

Sorry by posting in english, but my Spanish isn’t good enough for me pretending to be coerent O.O

Enough thinking !

I know that, in my article, I have made a strong case in favor of legalizing drugs. It isn’t the first time I did it, and there’s a back-issue article in this site on the same topic (only in Spanish, I think).

Making drugs illegal is a monumentally stupid mistake with far-reaching consequences

And I disagree with you. I will never agree with someone who says that fighting the consequences of making drugs illegal is better than making drugs legal. You are not only going against two centuries' worth of economic wisdom by asserting that -- you're ignoring the monumentally catastrophic consequences that the War on Drugs has had in our lives for decades.

I repeat: squelching supply doesn't make demand disappear. It never has. If only, it makes supply more profitable for outlaws.

Fighting the consequences of making drugs illegal is exorbitantly more difficult and pernicious than having to deal with the drugs themselves. When drugs are illegal, you not only have to cope with drug addicts -- in addition to that, you need to solve:

  • turf wars,
  • the marginalzation of millions of people,
  • druggie murders,
  • narc murders,
  • drug lords,
  • drug cartels,
  • fraud,
  • drug-funded guerrillas,
  • blackmail and extortion,
  • money laundering,
  • erosion of civil rights, and
  • the immense pressure that the black market (trillions and trillions of dollars, combined) exerts on otherwise law-abiding citizens and communities.

These are all problems expressly created by the prohibition on drugs. They are much, much worse than druggies driving while under the influence. Saying that these problems are a serendipitous coincidence is criminally ignorant and wrong.

When drugs are legal, all you need to do is treat the drug addicts for what their condition is: drug addiction -- and that’s it, because the rest of the crimes mostly vanish. This is not a wild theory — it’s based on the fact that this was exactly what happened after Prohibition was revoked.

So legalizing drugs would be the right choice. And illegal drugs showcase exactly the same moral hazard that would happen to the porn industry if it was illegal.

And if someone really bothers you with their smoke, you should either ask him politely to turn the cig off (if that’s appropriate) or consider moving to a spot where the smoke doesn’t reach you. That is civility.