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The Anti-Legalization Argument

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Former "drug czar" John Walters has this op-ed in the WSJ making the case against legalization of drugs. Some of the statements in the piece could stand elaboration.

"No nation that has tried to avoid controlling supply has been able to stand by its permissive approach. Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have all experimented with being more accepting of drugs, only to backtrack later when the resulting destruction was clear." Both sides in this debate cite the experience of European countries, with some claiming it has been a great success and others claiming it has been a disaster.

"Alternative regulatory schemes give little attention to how a free society will function when it sells known disease-causing poisons that are more powerful than alcohol and that profoundly attack the user's capacity for free action." I think you need to go drug by drug on that. I don't doubt that it is true for crystal meth, but its application to marijuana is dubious.

Having written a few op-eds myself, I know space is limited, and you can't always say everything that needs to be said. I looked on the site of the Hudson Institute, where Walters is now the VP, for an expanded version and didn't find it. Maybe later.

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I read this editorial and had some misgivings. To say that drugs are "known disease-causing poisons" is really a smokescreen. I think Sally Satel and Scott Lilienfeld get it right when they say otherwise.

Additionally, "disease-causing poisons that are more powerful than alcohol" raises the question: Is marijuana more powerful than alcohol? Is it less powerful than nicotine?

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