When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

02 June 2005

Milton Friedman on drugs

Okay, I promise: this isn't going to turn into the Marijuana Blog. It's just a coincidence that we've had a couple of pot-related posts in the last few days.

But this news story is just too interesting to pass up.

Courtesy of Forbes.com:
A founding father of the Reagan Revolution has put his John Hancock on a pro-pot report.

Milton Friedman leads a list of more than 500 economists from around the U.S. who today will publicly endorse a Harvard University economist's report on the costs of marijuana prohibition and the potential revenue gains from the U.S. government instead legalizing it and taxing its sale. Ending prohibition enforcement would save $7.7 billion in combined state and federal spending, the report says, while taxation would yield up to $6.2 billion a year.

The report, "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition," (available at www.prohibitioncosts.org) was written by Jeffrey A. Miron, a professor at Harvard , and largely paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a Washington, D.C., group advocating the review and liberalization of marijuana laws.


"There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana," [Friedman] says, "$7.7 billion is a lot of money, but that is one of the lesser evils. Our failure to successfully enforce these laws is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Colombia. I haven't even included the harm to young people. It's absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes."
Read the entire Forbes article, which also makes some interesting points about the megacorporations that might benefit from a legalization policy (Archer Daniels Midland and ConAgra chief among them.)

Then check out the study itself at prohibitioncosts.org. We'll probably be discussing the arguments therein in future posts, so be sure to do your homework.

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