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Libertarian National Committee member Dan Karlan: ‘Sixteen reasons to legalize drugs’

Article by Libertarian National Committee member Dan Karlan at Liberty for All:

1. Make our streets and homes safer.

Estimates vary widely for the proportion of violent and property crime that is related to drugs, but one-third is a midpoint figure. In an October 1987 survey of 739 police chiefs by Wharton Econometrics for the U. S. Customs Service, the respondents “blamed drugs for a fifth of murders and rapes, a quarter of car thefts, two-fifths of robberies and assaults, and half the nation’s burglaries and thefts.”

The link between drugs and crime is well established. Cracking down on drugs increases crime. In a 30-month study of crime in Detroit, Lester P. Silverman, former associate executive director of the National Academy of Sciences’ Assembly of Behavioral and Social Sciences, found that a 10 percent increase in the price of heroin alone “produced an increase of 3.1 percent in total property crimes in poor nonwhite neighborhoods.” The same price increase caused armed robbery to jump 6.4 percent and simple assault 5.6 percent throughout the city.

The reasons are not difficult to understand. When law enforcement restricts the supply of drugs, the price of drugs rises. In 1984, a kilogram of cocaine worth $4000 in Colombia sold for $30,000 wholesale, and $300,000 retail, in the United States. At the time a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman noted, matter-of-factly, that the wholesale price had doubled in six months “due to crackdowns on producers and smugglers in Colombia and the U. S.” There are no statistics indicating how many more people were mugged or killed thanks to the DEA’s crackdown on cocaine.

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  1. Derek Derek July 20, 2010

    Prohibition kills Freedom!!

  2. Starchild Starchild July 20, 2010

    Terrific compendium of the various wrongs being perpetuated by the failed Drug War, Dan! Certainly little of this information and analysis is new, but rarely does one see it so cogently gathered and presented in one place at one time. I’m going to repost this to the local cannabis list I maintain.

    The one assertion that I question a bit is your point in #16 about people being reluctant to take too many painkillers when recovering from surgery due to Drug War propaganda. From what I read, legal prescription painkillers are commonly *overused* and abused in the United States. Prescription drug abuse certainly kills many more people each year than do “illegal” drugs. Would someone really not recover simply because he or she didn’t take enough painkillers? These pills, after all, only mask pain — they do not alleviate its underlying causes. Intuitively it seems to me that feeling at least a certain amount of pain may actually be healthier, and lead to a faster recovery, because one’s body will be more aware of what needs repairing.

    This minor point of skepticism aside however, great work! Hope it gets the wide audience it deserves.

  3. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson July 19, 2010

    Good points Dan

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