Most countries in the world have laws banning the production, sale, and possession of illicit drugs. Despite billions being spent each year on enforcing these laws, a robust criminal market for drugs persists, and many places are undergoing epidemics of drug addiction. The challenges of enforcing drug prohibitions have led some advocates to propose legalizing drugs, while others maintain that laws and enforcement should only be made stricter. Which strategy makes the most sense? Should we change the status quo and legalize all drugs, or stay the course and focus on enforcement? Or does decriminalization offer a more favorable compromise?
Yes, all drugs should be legalShow moreShow less
While there are risks associated with drug use, legalizing drugs is a much better option than retaining ineffective and inefficient anti-drug laws.
Recreational drugs are a large global market, with U.S. consumers alone legally spending over 200 billion dollars a year on alcohol. Illegal drugs generate a comparable amount of revenue already. A RAND Corporation study of the period between 2006 and 2016 found that spending on illicit drugs in the U.S. totalled over 120 billion dollars each year.
Instead of having this money go to the criminal organizations behind illicit drug sales, it could be a part of the legitimate economy, providing tax revenue and creating jobs. The state of Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014, proving the economic benefits of legalization: one year after cannabis was legalized, tax revenues on marijuana exceeded taxes from alcohol, with the two generating 70 million and 42 million dollars respectively.
[P1] By making drugs legal, a huge amount of money would be injected into the economy rather than going to the black market.
[P2] We should legalize drugs in order to benefit the economy.