Milton Friedman and Peter Tosh

Q. What do a geriatric midget and a dead Jamaican have in common?

A. Legalize it!

Milton Friedman, who never had an opinion I didn't agree with,
leads a list of more than 500 economists from around the U.S. who today will publicly endorse a Harvard University economist's report on the costs of marijuana prohibition and the potential revenue gains from the U.S. government instead legalizing it and taxing its sale. 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 a year.

Full report here. I've been trying to make this argument, often without much documentation, for years. I'm glad to have this research at hand now.

But Friedman goes further:
"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."

HT: TalkLeft, who until now never had an opinion Friedman did agree with.

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