Drugs that are now considered illegal should be brought within the law. This will not be, of course, a cost free exercise. According to a friend of mine, who knows this world, we will be picking bodies off the streets. Legalization will also send the message that some how we think drug use is not a bad thing. Which it is. There will be those who accuse the government of abandoning the poor and their neighbourhoods who will be swimming in cheap drugs, as they do not have the resources to get at least a chance at rehabilitation. The most logical argument is that the United States will make trade nearly impossible as they will not follow along and will be obnoxious about our decision.
Aside from the obvious hypocrisy that is apparent when comparisons are made to already legal drugs which cause expensive and extensive damage with government blessing, there are two main arguments for legalization: One, banning some types of drugs is just not working. Like the misguided attempt to ban alcohol, people are getting hurt by tainted supply, those who want it are getting it, societies are being eroded by corruption and violence and the kind of people who are dangerous to the rest of us are making money. Lots of money. Millions. Billions. And they use that money to make things even worse. Two, criminal sanction prevents drug companies from doing what Miller and Anheiser Busch do and that is make products that are relatively safe when consumed in moderation. This is an argument I don’t hear very much. Perhaps a drug could be produced that makes us feel content. (Rather than depressed and/or angry, as is the case with alcohol.) Perhaps not, but no research can be done because it is illegal to produce recreational drugs. This does not make sense. And the consumer would choose the legal option. How many people buy bathtub gin today?
Entire nations are in the thrall of drug lords. Our own country has powerful gangs who live off the proceeds of drugs. That is where the margins are. Lets do the logical thing. Legalize it. Zone it. Put regulations in place. Prepare for the fallout. Educate. Warn and make clear the consequences of misuse. (I would be happy with severe penalties. Who could complain?) And watch the structure of organized crime twist and turn.