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My idea would be: make them legal, tax them high (or make them accessible only after certain educational exams), from that money educate people, help them recovering. Teach them basic game theory and the term what trap is, what is it like to be the frog in the boiling water, etc.

I'm confident I missed many aspects here, although really interested in: What are the problems with this model?




Taxing them really high will increase the likelihood of black market product, which goes against the public health aspect. You don't want a poor person buying junk and getting sick because they couldn't go to the store and buy proper medicine. Just like you wouldn't heavily tax aspirin or ibuprofen.

Basic medical education should be provided as part of national education. Except, properly done, not the factually incorrect, dramatic anti-drug programs they have these days.

There also seem to be a bias against drugs here, which I don't believe is founded in research. After all, we encourage people to get treatment for mental illnesses, the treatments which usually involve becoming addicted to very strong medications like SSRIs. Yet there's no education against being "trapped" onto such things.


Makes sense. It could be difficult to raise money for prevention and rehabilitation purposes from the tax approach. Although maybe wealthy recreational users would happily "fund" the education / rehabilitation of the poor. Or maybe I'm just completely wrong here :D

I agree with the other points you've discussed.


> It could be difficult to raise money for prevention and rehabilitation purposes from the tax approach.

Maybe, but it'd be easy diverting money being spent to arrest, prosecute, and imprison people into prevention and treatment (and we're already spending money on prevention and treatment from general state and federal tax money without legalization, so with legalization and no special taxes -- just general income, sales, etc., taxes -- there'd be more money from that, even before you consider repurposing the money currently being spent on the enforcement end of the drug war that would no longer be required.)

OTOH, while there are black markets for alcohol and tobacco -- largely as an effort to evade the special taxes on those products -- the special taxes on them still bring in considerable revenue, and the black market for, e.g., alcohol is far less significant and socially problematic than when alcohol was prohibited. So, its far from clear that special "sin taxes" on legalized drugs would not be useful as a significant additional revenue source for prevention and treatment activities.


The real outward problem of drugs is poverty. As we've seen from a certain mayor who has been in the news lately, the issue people have with drug users is them "breaking into your house for $5"[1]. If you have the means to use the drugs without financial repercussions, then it is "okay" (a term I use lightly here). If you tax the drugs at a high rate and make them still inaccessible to some degree, then the problem persists exactly as it does today, with criminal organizations supplying the drugs at an artificially inflated price to the people who can afford them least.

[1] http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/ID/2416184416/


I knew (personally) of a surprisingly large number of white-collar functional addicts who worked in the city and earned mid six figures.

Hell, I technically am in the category myself with my Suboxone treatment. My life is better than fine, and has been since I went from paying $400 a day for heroin, to $5 a day for suboxone.

My lowest points where when I was poor and addicted. I never stole, and went through withdrawals instead, but I can tell you it crosses the mind of any addict at some point. Take that away, and the impact on society is lessened considerably.


One problem with making them too inaccessible and too expensive is that it might make the illegal market attractive again, with the risk of bringing us back to the current situation. So I think the idea is viable but can only be pushed up to a certain point.


My problem with your model is the apparent preconception that I (as an adult) shouldn't be able to take whatever drugs I feel like. Your regulatory scheme seems more appropriate for a substance like heroin rather than cannabis, as well.


The tax and regulation issue is at best a sideshow, and, at worst, will keep traffickers in business.

The real issue is to transition the law enforcement and prison spending to addiction treatment spending.




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