Legalization of Drugs Essay

Legalization of Drugs Essay

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The current hot-topic debate about the legalization of marijuana for medical exposes the long lasting debate about the economic viability of prohibiting certain kind of drugs considered illicit. Many social costs to society are attributable to illicit drugs, along with tobacco, alcohol, and guns. In fact, each of these vices is allegedly responsible for $200 billion annual expenditure in social costs of the USA (Donohue, 2010). Interestingly, all these commodities mentioned above have common characteristics: a sizeable proportion of consumers responsibly use each of them hence virtually zero social externality; and a trivial subset of society individuals irresponsibly use each of these commodity to create high social externalities. The third characteristics has provoked the criminalization of drugs and consequently the perpetual and strict “war on drugs” campaigns that aim to eliminate illicit drug use, trafficking, and production. Although this campaign is laudable, the economic expenditures involved do not correlate with its negligible results. Marijuana presents a distinct perspective in the ongoing debate considering that its legalization faces resilient opposition despite empirical data and medical opinions showing it is less harmful than the federally approved and legalized drugs like alcohol and tobacco. This paper is an examination of why decriminalization and legalization of certain illicit drugs –with an emphasis on marijuana – offers better alternatives from an economic standpoint.
Opponents of the legalization of marijuana and other illicit drugs validate their stand with information about the cost of illness from these drugs. The standard theory affirms their case by mandating government intervention in the drugs ...


... middle of paper ...


...c expenditure related to enforcement, rehabilitation of victims of negative externalities of drug use, and efforts at controlling and prosecuting drugs related crimes. Moreover, legalization facilitates the regulated supervision of the drug trade that is subject to tax and fines. This is a potential source of income for the state and federal authorities.















References

Donohue, J. J. (2010). Rethinking America's Illegal Drug Policy. New Haven: Yale Center for the Study of Globalization .
Miron, J. A. (2003). A Critique of Estimates of the Economic Costs of Drug Abuse . Boston : Boston University.
Tavares, A. (2012). The Impact of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal . Pedro: NOVA School of Business and Economics.
Thornton, M. (2007). Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy? . The Independent Review, 417-433.


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