Photo: Wikimedia Commons
In 2010 we wrote about Harvard economics professor Jeffrey Miron‘s stance that all drugs should be legalized because prohibition wastes money and doesn’t work.In a recent in-depth interview with Der Spiegel, the economist provides more insight into why he thinks that all kinds of drugs should be sold in supermarkets.
Miron asserts that the prohibition of drugs “is the worst solution for preventing abuse” because it costs a lot money, creates a corrupt and dangerous black market, and constrains the freedom of those who wouldn’t abuse drugs.
The director of undergrad studies in Harvard’s Economics Department says if drugs were legal, the U.S. could save about $90 billion per year (by stopping drug war policies and implementing state taxes), the black market would be drained and violence reduced, and the American way would be respected.
“If you believe in anything that the Americans claim to believe in — freedom, individuality, personal responsibility — you have to legalise drugs,” Miron said.
Miron’s libertarian leanings make addiction a non-issue because “people are addicted to caffeine[, sports, beer or food] and nobody worries about that … people who harm themselves with drugs will do it anyway, regardless of whether or not they’re legal.”
Some of Miron’s claims are controversial, to say the least, like when he brushes off the idea of drug addiction, claims the effects of crack are exaggerated, and says there is scarce evidence that drug users harm others.
Nevertheless his perspective provides an anchor on one side of the policy spectrum, countering the gung-ho drug warriors who don’t even want to consider reforming U.S. drug policy.
One thing Miron said show just how outside the box he’s thinking: “… if drugs were legal tomorrow, I’d go out and give them all a try. I doubt I would use them more than once; but after all the research I have done on this issue, I am curious!”
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