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Legalize it

Arguing from self-ownership, Scott Carnegie thinks we should legalize marijuana.

Scott Carnegie - July 9, 2009


United States The Netherlands

Total Population 31.1 [a] 28.5 [b]
Young Adults 47.3 [c] 45.5 [d]
Older Teens 38.2 [e] 29.5 [f]
Younger Teens 13.5 [g] 7.2 [h]

To say that legalizing marijuana would lead to an increase in use is not what the evidence shows.

In March 2009, the Cato Institute, a U.S.-based libertarian think tank, put out a report about the success of drug decriminalization in Portugal.

Evaluating the policy strictly from an empirical perspective, decriminalization has been an unquestionable success, leading to improvements in virtually every relevant category and enabling Portugal to manage drug-related problems (and drug usage rates) far better than most Western nations that continue to treat adult drug consumption as a criminal offense.


You can see the policy forum and presentation of this report at the Cato Institute website.

Also, to call marijuana a “gateway” drug is misleading. Using marijuana does not mean that you will then use cocaine, heroin or other harmful drugs. It is most often the first one that people will use because it is the most common and least expensive. Calling marijuana a gateway drug is like calling beer a gateway drink that means you will start misusing alcohol and more potent drinks, it is not necessarily true. Most people first encounter beer, it is less expensive than harder drinks so it is naturally what would be encountered first.

As for sending “conflicting messages” to young people, I say, let them make up their own mind. The message we can send is that some things are good for you, some things are bad, you choose which you’d like to do. In fact, I wouldn’t call marijuana “bad”, no more than I would call having a beer “bad”. I’m going to teach my children to choose for themselves, no conflicting message there.