Friday, July 13, 2007

Drug policy reform goes MSM

Sorry I disappeared again. I've had a week that made the last horrendous work rotation look like a trip to Disneyland. But I've been thinking of you my dear readers and in an effort to maintain some small cred in the drug policy reform world, here's a decent column by Kathleen Parker in support of legalizing marijuana.

It's not long, so read it for yourself but here's my favorite quote.
Here's a Bingo thought for people concerned about the federal deficit, America's 4.5 million uninsured children or our soon-to-be-bankrupt Social Security system:

If marijuana were legalized, regulated and taxed at the rates applied to alcohol and tobacco, revenues would reach about $6.2 billion annually, according to an open letter signed by 500 economists who urged President Bush and other public officials to debate marijuana prohibition. Among those economists were three Nobel Prize winners, including the late Milton Friedman of Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Friedman and others were acting in response to a 2005 report on the budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition by Jeffrey Miron, visiting professor of economics at Harvard. By Miron's estimate, regulating marijuana would save about $7.7 billion annually in government prohibition enforcement -- $2.4 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at the state and local levels.
I know that's nothing you haven't heard from me before, but when a columnist of Parker's reach says it, you can be sure the public debate is turning. This will be the first election where the candidates are going to be forced to take a position rather than ignoring the elephant in the room.


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