De-criminalize Drugs, Don't "Legalize" Them (Will Grigg)
Tuesday December 24th, 2013
Uruguay’s national legislature has enacted a measure legalizing marijuana. Citizens of that country will be able to cultivate a half-dozen plants for personal use, or buy marijuana for either medicinal or recreational use from a government-licensed producer through a pharmacy, and will be limited to forty grams a month. It remains illegal to re-sell marijuana to tourists or other non-citizens.
Rather than decriminalizing marijuana and treating it like any other consumable good, the leftist government of Uruguay has created an official cartel that will regulate the market and generate a huge windfall in tax revenue.
Despite the fact that marijuana use will remain a state-regimented activity in Uruguay, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has condemned the new system as a violation of that country’s purported international obligations under the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The UN has issued similar condemnations of ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state that nullified federal anti-marijuana laws.
All drug use is unwise, but not everything that is unwise is a crime. There is reason to believe that drug prohibition may soon join alcohol prohibition in well-deserved oblivion – but the prohibition regime should not be replaced by a Uruguay-style government cartel. Decriminalization, not “legalization,” is the correct approach.