The influential Forbes magazine has the news today that "A founding father of the Reagan Revolution has put his John Hancock on a pro-pot report. "
Says Forbes, "Milton Friedman 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.... Ending prohibition enforcement [in the US] would save $7.7 billion in combined state and federal spending, the report says..."
The report can be found here, and a Forbes magazine special on 'the new cash crop' here.
Friedman's support legalisation is not just about simple economics. ""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."
"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 look forward to intelligent discussion and dissemination of the report here in New Zealand, where the costs and effects of prohibition and the dangers of the therapeutic state are sadly still too little recognised, despite the best efforts of NORML and Christchurch's Mild Greens.
[Hat tip Keith Halderman.]