From Doug Casey, at internationalman.com:
Drugs are a charged subject everywhere. Longtime readers know that although I personally abstain from drugs and generally eschew the company of users, I think they should be 100% legal.
Few people consider how arbitrary the current prohibition is; up until the 1920s, heroin and cocaine were both perfectly legal and easily obtainable over the counter. Some people “abused” them, just like some today “abuse” fat and sugar (because they’re enjoyable).
But drugs are no more of a problem than anything else; life is full of problems. In fact, life isn’t just full of problems; life is problems. What is a problem? It’s simply the situation of having to choose between two or more alternatives. Personally, I believe in people being free to choose, and I rigorously shun the company of people who don’t.
Hysteria and propaganda aside, the fact is that most recreational drugs pose less of a health problem than alcohol, nicotine, or simple lack of exercise.
Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (of whom I’m a great fan) was an aficionado of opium products. Sigmund Freud enjoyed cocaine. Churchill is supposed to have drunk a quart of whiskey daily. Dr. William Halstead, father of modern surgery and cofounder of Johns Hopkins University, was a regular user throughout his long and illustrious career, which included inventing local anesthesia after injecting cocaine into his skin.
Insofar as recreational drugs present a problem, it arises partly from overuse, which is not only arbitrary, but can be true of absolutely anything. The problem comes, however, mainly from the fact that they’re illegal.
Alcohol provides the classic example. It wasn’t much of a problem in the US before the enactment of Prohibition in 1920, and it hasn’t been one since its repeal in 1933. Making a product illegal artificially and unnecessarily turns both users and suppliers into criminals.
Because illegality makes any product vastly more expensive than it would be in a free market, some users resort to crime to finance their habits. Because of the risks and artificially reduced supply, the profits to the suppliers are necessarily huge – not the simple businessman’s returns to be had from legal products.
Just as Prohibition of the ’20s turned the Mafia from a small underground group of thugs into big business, the War on Drugs has done precisely the same thing for drug dealers. It’s completely insane and totally counterproductive.
To continue reading: The War on Some Drugs