Talking to a beer industry person yesterday -- I'm going to skip their name for obvious reasons -- who dropped this bomb: instead of raising taxes on booze -- which historically results in lower tax revenues, not higher -- why not balance the budget by legalizing recreational drugs? Here's his thinking:
- Tax them and sell them in 'drug stores': source of revenue, safer purchase, safer drugs (meaning more money and less costs and no financial reward for drug dealers)
- Release all non-violent drug offense prisoners immediately; stop arresting new ones (huge savings in prisons, and more attention paid to violent and property crime...which decriminalizing drugs will also lower)
- Eliminate the DEA and drug enforcement arms of police forces, end Coast Guard search and seizure (huge savings, greater personal liberty, return focus to protecting the nation from terrorism)
- End the huge flow of money to criminal producers and suppliers (ends huge flow of money to destabilizing groups and terrorists and the Taliban...)
Talk about your win-win. Before you start to scream...think about how much the War on Drugs looks exactly like Prohibition enforcement, and how futile, expensive, and corrupt that was, and what a great thing it was for organized crime, and how that eventually wound up. And then think about how relatively harmless smoking weed is: the most dangerous part is growing it, selling it, or buying it! And think about the main reason we got Repeal: jobs.
Food for thought. At least for discussion. As Rahm Emanuel said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Let's talk seriously about legalizing drugs. And while we're at it, let's abolish the PLCB.