Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Unexpected leadership - or not so valuable?

According to Time magazine, an unexpected leader in the move to legalise illegal drugs has emerged: Latin America.

Time is saying that Mexico and Guatemala - countries always reputed to be extremely hard on illicit drug-related crime - have especially via President Otto PĂ©rez Molina taken a new approach to the problem of illicit drug use. Even in the Southern Cone, whilst the step of legalising such drug as heroin is not yet considered seriously, there are still moves to decriminalise these drugs; however it could certainly be done much more effectively without government interference except perhaps via excise taxation. Without government interference, the enormous problems of extremely high murder rates and political lobbying from artificially high prices and profits would be greatly ameliorated. So would the problems of government deficits that are likely to emerge in Latin America from very low fertility rates during this century.

If citizens were free to purchase any amount of illegal drugs and not just the small amounts advocated presently in Uruguay, it would be their own responsibility to avoid dangerous use of them, and even people who are very rich might be more responsible about the financial costs of having to deal with medical problems resulting thereby. The alternative of allowing decriminalisation of cultivation only for personal use is a little better since the benefits may be greater, but still questionable since there are difficulties of proof in courts of law.

Thus, whilst it is unexpected for some that Latin America is doing so much about the issue of drug legalisation, and in many ways a welcome move, one should be a little cautious about what a government-regulated marijuana market may bring in Uruguay - a nation already known for big-government policies. It may simply become a source of taxes that affect business and feed cultural problems already endemic in the Enriched World from high taxes.

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