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Comic Strip Politics » Blog Archive » “The Economics of Prohibition” or “Do Drug Laws Really Work?”

“The Economics of Prohibition” or “Do Drug Laws Really Work?”

Candorville - 1.22.2007

In subsequent Candorville strips, we find out that Clyde is actually referring to something completely different, but this strip is still obviously setup to imply that he is talking about selling drugs. I think most people would agree that Lemont is correct. Illegal drugs hurt communities and the people in them. Drug dealers exploit addicted users, and bring in a tidy sum at the same time.

The topic I’d like to discuss today is the idea of legalizing drugs. I’m not suggesting that this would be a good idea. I’d just like to discuss the idea. I think that some very positive changes would come from it, but also some very negative changes. The question is whether or not the good would outweigh the bad.

Whenever a product that there is a demand for is made illegal, the sale of said product becomes much more profitable. With the suppliers operating outside the law, there is a risk-factor built into the price, and fewer suppliers to compete with. Gangs are able to make big money by running and selling drugs.
If all illegal narcotics were legalized, it would instantly remove almost all need for an illegal drug trade. When alcohol prohibition was repealed, the bootleggers’ trade dried up almost immediately. Why buy an expensive product whose origins are unknown when you can get it cheaper and from a more trustworthy source?

A huge portion of the men and women in US jails are from drug-related crimes. Stealing to pay for drugs, killing to protect a gang’s drug-selling territory, possession of drugs, etc. Many crimes are directly or indirectly related to the prohibition of narcotics. If the prohibition was lifted, the rate of these crimes would certainly decrease.

Now let’s look at the negative. The number of people taking drugs would most likely increase, possibly causing social issues. Also, with drugs being cheaper than they are currently, the amount of drugs that the average user takes would probably increase as well. In fact, addicted users might spend just as much money on drugs as they do now, but take three times as much. Overdose deaths would probably increase as a result of legalization.
Another major issue would be how the drugs were regulated. Legal drugs are currently heavily regulated. Currently illegal drugs would certainly be regulated in a similar way. Who would have the right to create/sell the drugs? Would the drugs end up costing less than they currently do?

What so you think? Is there an easy solution? Is everything fine the way it is now? If you could change the laws/processes regarding currently illegal narcotics, what would you do?

2 Responses to ““The Economics of Prohibition” or “Do Drug Laws Really Work?””

  1. J Says:

    Well, surely, no. It’s definitely not fine, and need to be changed - especially in regard of marijuana, which is most popular and least dangerous illegal drug. I’m still uncertain about what to do with other drugs.

  2. J Says:

    I must note that I don’t live in U.S., but here we have the same crazy legislation copied from U.S. I hope that when you will fix it, other countries will eventually follow your example. (Sorry for the missed article ‘the’ in my previous comment.)

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