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November 7, 2007

Milton Friedman on legalizing drugs

Didn't have room for this in the column. These statements by the famous libertarian economist were written years ago, when the war on drugs was discredited -- but not nearly as discredited as it is now:

"In our private lives, if we try something and it goes awry, we don't just continue and do it on a bigger and bigger scale. We may for a while, but sooner or later we stop and change. Why does not the same thing happen in government's policy?"

And: If drugs are legalized...

"I see America with half the number of prisons, half the number of prisoners, ten thousand fewer homicides a year, inner cities in which there's a chance for these poor people to live without being afraid for their lives, citizens who might be respectable who are now addicts not being subject to becoming criminals in order to get their drug, being able to get drugs for which they're sure of the quality. You know, the same thing happened under prohibition of alcohol as is happening now.

"Under prohibition of alcohol, deaths from alcohol poisoning, from poisoning by things that were mixed in with the bootleg alcohol, went up sharply. Similarly, under drug prohibition, deaths from overdose, from adulterations, from adulterated substances have gone up."

Posted by Jay Hancock at 2:20 PM | | Comments (1)


It's the only thing that will save Baltimore.

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About Jay Hancock
Jay Hancock has been a financial columnist for The Baltimore Sun since 2001. He has also been The Baltimore Sun's diplomatic correspondent in Washington and its chief economics writer. Before moving to Baltimore in 1994 he worked for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and The Daily Press of Newport News.

His columns appear Tuesdays and Sundays.

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