Visiting Mexico yesterday, Vice President Joseph Biden was asked about drug legalization as a response to prohibition-related violence, which has killed nearly 50,000 people in that country since the end of 2006:
"It's worth discussing, but there is no possibility the Obama/Biden administration will change its policy on [drug] legalization," he said after meeting with President Felipe Calderon....
Biden's trip [to Mexico and Honduras] takes place amid unprecedented pressure from political and business leaders to talk about decriminalizing drugs. The presidents of Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and Mexico have said in recent weeks they'd like to open up the discussion of legalizing drugs.
"It is a totally legitimate debate and it's worth debating in order to lay to rest some of the myths that are associated with the notion of legalization," Biden said. "The debate always occurs, understandably, in the context of serious violence that occurs with the society, particularly in societies that don't have the institutional framework and the structure to deal with organized, illicit operations."
The vice president said, however, that legalization would be unworkable "unless you are going to not only legalize but you are going to provide a government apertures for the distribution of the drugs."
Really? After alcohol prohibition was repealed in 1933, the business was mostly taken over by private enterprise, and the remaining state monopolies seem to be on the way out. Why do the currently illicit intoxicants require "government apertures"? At least Biden did not claim that the drug trade cannot be legalized because there is too much money in it.
[Thanks to Richard Cowan for the tip.]