Will Intriguing Prohibition Parallels Prompt US Drug Legalization?


Seventy five years after liquor prohibition ended, is it time to free ourselves from an impractical and misguided prohibition effort – the ill-starred “war on drugs” of punitive federal and state laws passed since the 1970s? asks syndicated columnist Neal Peierce. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation argued that case last week, urging legalization and careful public regulation of mind-altering drugs (www.WeCanDoItAgain.com). Peirce calls the parallels between 1933 and today “intriguing.”

Today's prohibition-triggered terrorism and official corruption have deeply wounded Mexico, Colombia, and other nations with drug rings that feed the U.S. market. This year alone, 4,000 police, prosecutors, journalists, drug cartel members and innocent bystanders have been slaughtered in Mexico. In this time of economic stress, legalizing drugs would save $44.1 billion yearly in arrests, prosecutions, court, and incarceration costs, says a study by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron. He estimates that legalizing drugs would yield taxes of $32.7 billion, assuming taxation of drugs at rates comparable to those now levied on alcohol and tobacco. No one expects the Obama administration to risk its early momentum on the drug issue – it's clearly too “hot,” says Peirce. Obama has expressed concern about world-leading U.S. incarceration rates, burdening drug offenders with lifelong felony records, about “the devastating impact of the drug trade in the inner cities.”

Link: http://www.nlc.org/articles/articleItems/NCW121508/PeirceDrugProhib.aspx

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