Milton Friedman and 500 economists agree: Legalize marijuana

From Forbes comes the story of a report on the costs of marijuana prohibition.

Dr. Jeffrey Miron, visiting professor of economics at Harvard University, estimates that replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year. — Costs of Marijuana Prohibition

Most interesting is the fact that Milton Friedman and over 500 other economists have endorsed the report and its findings.

We therefore urge the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition. We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods. At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition. — Costs of Marijuana Prohibition

There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana. $7.7 billion is a lot of money, but that is one of the lesser evils. Our failure to successfully enforce these laws is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Colombia. I haven’t even included the harm to young people. It’s absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes. — Milton Friedman

It’s about time we had some serious debate on this issue. It’s easy to show that marijuana is far less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco, two products which are legal. But will we have any real thoughtful, informed debate?

AlphaPatriot doubts “that this will even set off any serious debate given the mindset of those driving the War on Drugs, but it should.’ Indeed.

Via Tempus Fugit.