75 years ago this December, our nation's leaders were sensible enough to
realize that we could no longer afford enforcing the ineffective prohibition
of alcohol during the Great Depression and that we should instead bolster
our economy with tax revenue from legal liquor and beer sales.
Today, we could similarly fill in a big part of the hole in our economy if
we stopped spending so much money locking people up and instead moved drugs
out of the criminal black market and into a system of legalized and taxed
regulation. Consider that back in the 1960's, Turkey was the worlds biggest source of black market heroin. Every effort of the U.S. to persuade the Turkish government to crack down failed. Why? Because the Turkish economy was dependent on the stuff. Does Afghanistan ring a bell?
In 1974 the Turkish began a licensing program that effectively took the criminals out of the opium business. Now there's quality control and reliable distribution. And there's an annual income of $60 million per year, mainly from selling to U.S. pharma companies.
But the economy isn't the only reason we should change our drug laws.
As a retired Police Officer and Police Chief, I hope policymakers remember how we put
dangerous gangsters like Al Capone out of business when we ended alcohol
prohibition. Today we can hurt Al Qaeda's bottom line by regulating the
drug trade that they currently make so much money from. The illegal drug trade is estimated to be 450 billion dollars per year worldwide.
We are arresting two million people are year for mostly minor drug offenses. Our prisons are bursting at the seams and the prison industry is the fasting business in the US.
We repealed a failed prohibition policy once before to help solve economic
and crime problems. We can do it again.