Some Simple Analytics of Anti-Marijuana Laws
By David Henderson
That’s not the title of a piece in today’s San Francisco Chronicle by my friend and Hoover colleague, Joe McNamara. But it could be. One excerpt:
Who would buy pot on dangerous streets if they could get it at regulated stores without unsafe impurities? Al Capone and his rivals made machine-gun battles a staple of 1920s city street life when they fought to control the illegal alcohol market. No one today shoots up the local neighborhood to compete in the beer market. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that Mexican cartels derive more than 60 percent of their profits from marijuana. How much did the cartels make last year dealing in Budweiser, Corona or Dos Equis?
The California Police Chiefs Association, of which I have been a member for 34 years, is also in opposition. Personally, I have never even smoked a cigarette, let alone taken a hit from a bong, and while I have great respect for the police chiefs, I wouldn’t want to live in a country where it is a crime to behave contrary to the way cops think we should.
While a policeman in New York city, Joe earned his Ph.D. in sociology and did his dissertation on the roots of the drug war in the early 20th century. If I recall correctly, his major finding was that there was not some major outbreak of drug problems that led to illegalization. He later became police chief in Kansas City and then police chief in San Jose.