Well-known columnist George Will has a piece
up at the Washington Post
all about the terrible dilemma that drug prohibition - and its opposite, drug legalization - presents: a tradeoff between public health and crime.
Noting that alcohol prohibition in the 1920s was, contrary to what some believe, actually pretty effective in reducing alcohol consumption and associated health risks, Will acknowledges the rampant criminal behavior and violence that went along with efforts to suppress its sale.
And that, he says, is exactly the combination of good and bad that we face today in any discussion about legalization of illicit drugs. Relying on the expertise of drug policy guru Mark Kleiman
among others, Will opines:
Legalization would mean drugs available from clean stores for customers not risking the stigma of breaking the law in furtive transactions with unsavory people.
Still, because the costs of prohibition - interdiction, mass incarceration, etc. - are staggeringly high, some people say, 'Let's just try legalization for a while.'
Will presents no easy answers, but promises in a forthcoming column to "suggest a more economic approach to the 'natural' problem of drugs."
Where do you come down? Would you legalize drugs? All of them? Some of them?