Your Government On Drugs

The Federal government, after tolerating them for a while, is now trying to close down the medical marijuana dispensaries in California. Doubtless some interest group, probably one or more of the “public service” unions, has rightly recognized that these dispensaries are the leading edge of legalization for marijuana and, eventually, other drugs. Drug legalization is very, very bad for business if you are in the government business. Just think of the impact. The latest data I could find shows that about 36% of state inmates are in prison for drug offenses (2005) and slightly over 50% of federal inmates (2009). And that doesn’t count all the offenders imprisoned for other offenses that are drug related, e.g. stealing to get money to pay for drugs, gang murders and so forth. Bottom line, if you shut down the war on drugs, about half the criminal justice system would become redundant and that would really annoy the unions involved. To say nothing of the other businesses – funding for drug gangs and terrorism would be crippled without illegal drug money – the Taliban would be out of business, for example – and now you are talking serious money where the military are involved.

It is probably not an exaggeration to say that the war on drugs, one way or another, serves as justification for something like 15-20% of all government expenditures. No wonder there is such resistance by government to legalization.

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