Carl Hart: Legalize All Drugs Now!

The controversial Columbia neuroscientist, Air Force vet, and author of Drug Use for Grown-Ups believes deeply in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


In a world where drug legalization efforts are on the march and the pernicious effects of drug prohibition on criminal justice, education, foreign policy, and racial and ethnic communities are being scrutinized like never before, Columbia neuroscientist Carl Hart is breaking bold new ground on how we think about drug policy, substance use and abuse, and individual freedom.

"The Declaration of Independence guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all of us, as long as we don't disrupt anybody else's ability to do the same," says the author of Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear. "That means we get to live our life as we choose, as we see fit. Taking drugs is a part of that for a lot of Americans." 

He writes that his use of drugs—including heroin—helps him be a better person. "I do not have a drug-use problem," he declares. "Never have. Each day, I meet my parental, personal, and professional responsibilities. I pay my taxes, serve as a volunteer in my community…and contribute to the global community as an informed and engaged citizen."

Nick Gillespie talks with Hart about all that, his path-breaking research on addiction, why he turned from an ardent supporter of the drug war to one of its leading critics, elitism within the legalization movement, and how he talks with his kids and his students about responsible drug use.

This Reason Interview podcast was taped live on Monday, April 4, 2022, as part of the Reason Speakeasy series, held monthly in New York City. Go here for podcast and video versions of past events.

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