Conservative columnist George Will, noting the campaign for decriminalization or legalization of drugs, says the U.S. should learn from the drug used by a majority of American adults — alcohol.” Twenty percent of U.S. prisoners — 500,000 people — are incarcerated for dealing illegal drugs, but alcohol causes as much as half of U.S. criminal violence and vehicular fatalities.
Will gives the case for legalized marijuana, saying it could be produced for much less than a tenth of its current price as an illegal commodity. Legalized cocaine and heroin would sell for a tiny percentage of their current prices. Legalization, Will says, would mean drugs of reliable quality conveniently available from clean stores for customers not risking the stigma of breaking the law in furtive transactions with unsavory people. There is no reason to think today’s addiction levels are anywhere near those that would be reached under legalization, Will says, promising to elaborate in a future column.