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Benefits of Legalizing Illegal Drugs
Drugs should be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the United States. The outlawing of drugs clearly promotes organized crime by providing revenue generating avenues such as drug production, trafficking, and distribution. The demand for illegal drugs within the United States is extremely high. This high demand assures an endless drug supply that the United States government has been ineffective in stopping. The government spends tremendous amounts of money each year in efforts to stop illegal drug activities. The legalization of drugs provides tax revenue for the government, ensures drugs are safer, and eliminates a major source of organized crime revenue.
Legal drugs can be taxed and regulated; illegal drugs cannot. Illegal drugs are similar to the days of Prohibition when the “cost of enforcing prohibition was high, and the lack of tax revenues on alcohol (some $500 million annually nationwide) affected government coffers” (“Prohibition,” 2006). The cost of enforcing drug laws is extremely high and very ineffective (Abadinsky, 2003). Taxed and regulated drugs provide income for the government and assure the drugs are safer due to government regulation.
Government regulation over the production and distribution of drugs assures drugs are safer than they would be if produced in an unregulated, illegal manner. Like with Prohibition, government regulated production of safe drugs prevents problems that stem from illegal production such as the “cases of people going blind or suffering from brain damage after drinking “bathtub gin” made with industrial alcohol or various poisonous chemicals” (“Prohibition,” 2006). As with tobacco and alcohol, the potential for abuse of legalized drugs will always exist. With government regulated drugs, however, the chances of a ‘bad trip’ or death due to poorly manufactured drugs are reduced.
The legalization of drugs reduces organized crime. Many organized crime groups depend on revenue generated from the production and distribution of illegal drugs (Abadinsky, 2003). Government taxed and regulated drugs remove this revenue generating opportunity from organized crime. Without opportunities for financial gain, organized crime groups will not be able to sustain themselves.
The demand for drugs, legal or illegal, will always exist. The supply of illegal drugs does not always have to exist. The legalization of drugs removes the need for illegal drug suppliers. Organized criminals demonstrate little success making money off legal activities (Abadinsky, 2003). Taxed and regulated drugs generate revenue for the government, are safer, and reduce organized crime.
Abadinsky, H. (2003). Organized crime (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth Learning.
Prohibition (2006). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition