Drug Policy

Jack Cafferty and Clarence Page Attack Drug Prohibition

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CNN's Jack Cafferty calls the war on drugs "insane" and recommends repealing prohibition:

What do you suppose the total price tag is for this failed war on drugs? One senior Harvard economist [Jeffrey Miron] estimates we spend $44 billion a year fighting the war on drugs. He says if they were legal, governments would realize about $33 billion a year in tax revenue. Net swing of $77 billion. Could we use that money today for something else? You bet your ass we could. Plus the cartels would be out of business. Instantly. Goodbye crime and violence.

If drugs were legalized, we could empty out a lot of our prison cells. People will use this stuff whether it's legal or not. Just like they do booze. And you could make the argument that in some cases alcohol is just as dangerous as some drugs. I know.

Which shows that a cranky TV populist, even an ex-drunk, doesn't have to side with the prohibitionists. Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page does not go as far as Cafferty  (or his Tribune colleague Steve Chapman), but he does scold President Obama for laughing off that online question about marijuana legalization. Page argues that the federal government should let 50 flowers bloom in the garden of cannabis policy:

Unlike Roosevelt, Obama does not have to amend the Constitution to end our marijuana confusion. He only has to get out of the way and allow the states to enforce their own drug laws. That's not a laughable notion. It's only sensible.

It has always seemed to me that a decent respect for the constitutional distinction between state and national matters is the most likely route by which substantial drug policy reform will occur.