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February 17, 2006

One of the issues on which I part company with Libertarians is the War on Drugs. I think that despite it enormous cost, it's a war worth fighting. Jonathan V. Last argues that there is some good news.


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Don't you think it would be better for the individuals involved if there was a non-black market, so that there would not be as many other related illegal activities?


Talk about cherry-picking data.

If your primary concern in the War on Drugs is use by children, then you might try the William F. Buckley, Jr., approach: broad-based decriminalization, but with an exception: a mandatory death penalty for anyone who supplies drugs to minors.

At least that proposal has some connection to common sense.


The war on drugs is madness. We're paying for the drugs, we're paying for the pesticides (but we aren't paying for the clean-up or healtcare costs imposed on Colombia and Afghanistan), and meanwhile our children still get drugs from criminals who don't in the least care about their health or long-term well being. It's perverse. It's absolutely perverse.

And the Weekly Standard is still trumpeting disproved government programs just because they support "their" side of the argument. There is absolutely no correlation between "Just Say No" and drug use. It's a big waste of government money & our children's time; but "the Right" supports it for the same reason "the Left" supports the National Labor Relations Board and the Dept. of Agriculture - it feeds their quasi-religious beliefs which have no grounding in reality.

Trent McBride

Here is a reasonable rebuttal to the piece you link to:

As an economist, just curious if you have read the work by your colleague Jeff Miron? He makes a good case for you to rethink your position. You may want to look up his stuff.


Craig, you're a professor at a university, right? Imagine if we threw all of your students in jail who have ever tried an illegal drug. You'd be out of a job. ;-)

Kyle N

Craig, I don't want to pile on, but, It is my experience that when a person with knowledge, and intellect holds the opinion you hold. It is because they just have not read enough on the subject.
IMHO the case for some sort of decriminalization is overwhelming,
Let me suggest some recent books.

Smoke and Mirrors : The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure by Dan Baum

Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs by James P. Gray

And this really well researched and well thought out book:

Drug War Heresies : Learning from Other Vices, Times, and Places (RAND Studies in Policy Analysis) by Robert J. MacCoun, Peter Reuter and Jr., Charles Wolf

Chris Rasch


What empirical evidence, if any, would persuade you that decriminalization is a better policy than strict laws against posession and use?

Do you think that Prohibition was ended prematurely?

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