Thursday, August 26, 2010

Drugs, Drug Czars, and Bad Policy

Bob Bennett was the first Drug Czar. Yesterday on TV he said that  he (the first) and all subsequent Drug Czars were opposed to the legalization of marijuana. Stronger forms are now, he reported, and concluded that use would increase if it were legally available. OK, but I would like to know by his logic why alcohol and cigarettes should not be made illegal too.  They both do far more social harm than pot ever did or ever will, yet they are legal.

The reason that pot is illegal and alcohol and tobacco are legal is that the latter two are socially accepted, while marijuana is not.

We tried outlawing alcohol and found that it spawned widespread flaunting of the law by otherwise decent citizens and a crime wave run by underworld gangs who got rich. We abandoned the experiment because it did not work and kept only timid or unusually scrupulous folks from consuming the forbidden fruit.

The logic and experimental evidence are clear. But social and political readiness lag behind. Maybe one day we will get rational about all this, but don't hold your breath.

A more extensive case is made at:
This essay was written about ten years ago, but the arguments remain essentially the same today.