Milton Friedman: Pothead.
For all you with libertarian leanings, Milton Friedman is publicly endorsing a Harvard Economists study on the costs of marijuana prohibition and the potential gains from legalizing and taxing it. The study finds:
Ending prohibition enforcement would save $7.7 billion in combined state and
federal spending, the report says, while taxation would yield up to $6.2 billion
Of course, the study was also largely funded by a group called the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which leads one to question its objectivity a little. Incidentally, it also leads one to question what employees of of the Marijuana Policy Project tell their children they do for a living - if they can remember what they do and where they work. Back to Friedman:
"There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana," the economist
says, "$7.7 billion is a lot of money, but that is one of the lesser evils. Our
failure to successfully enforce these laws is responsible for the deaths of
thousands of people in Colombia. I haven't even included the harm to young
people. It's absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for
smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes."
"I've long been in favor of legalizing all drugs," he says, but not because
of the standard libertarian arguments for unrestricted personal freedom. "Look
at the factual consequences: The harm done and the corruption created by these
laws...the costs are one of the lesser evils."