To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nadelmann on Friedman, Mexican Drug War

Ethan Nadelmann, my former boss at the Drug Policy Alliance, channels Milton Friedman at (of all places) The Huffington Post, in what amounts to an open letter on drug policy to Mexico's newish president, Felipe Calderon. Nadelmann, a pragmatic liberal, quotes from a Friedman letter to the reprehensible former U.S. drug czar Bill Bennett.
"Of course the problem is demand, but it is not only demand, it is demand that must operate through repressed and illegal channels. Illegality creates obscene profits that finance the murderous tactics of the drug lords; illegality leads to the corruption of law enforcement officials; illegality monopolizes the efforts of honest law forces so that they are starved for resources to fight the simpler crimes of robbery, theft and assault.

Drugs are a tragedy for addicts. But criminalizing their use converts that tragedy into a disaster for society, for users and non-users alike. Our experience with the prohibition of drugs is a replay of our experience with the prohibition of alcoholic beverages."
Right on. More here. This also seems a fine time to plug Friedman and Thomas Szasz's incomparable little book on drug-policy reform.