Legalisation of Purchase, Possession and Consumption of all Class A, B and C Drugs

Legalisation of Purchase, Possession and Consumption of all Class A, B and C Drugs
?It is every parent?s nightmare. A youngster slithers inexorably from a few puffs on a joint, to a snort of cocaine, to the needle and addiction.? In modern society, in the developed world, it has been drilled into the minds of middleclass youngsters that drugs are bad for you. A taboo has formed around the issue, raising curiousity. This curiousity, combined with an idea of rebelling against rules has led many people to illegal drugs (not to mention various individual reasons for resorting to illegal drug taking). For many, drugs have become the forbidden fruit. For many others, the supply of forbidden fruit can be extrememly profitable. For the majority, this ?business? can cause serious harm to society. Many say that prohibition of drugs isn?t working. Even with it being illegal, it is still very accessible, and hence drug trade continues. On the other hand, it is still less accessible than what it would have been if they were to be legalised and, say for example, placed on supermarket shelves. Legalisation has come to be seen by some as a symbol of a frightening laissez-faire society where drugs are cheap and easily available to anyone, with the result that drug use and the harms that are attendant on it are rampant.
However, legalisation is not a risk-free policy: it is not a way to make drugs safe. But because it causes different types of harms from those that result from a policy of prohibition, it is possible that it will cause less harm. Most users enjoy taking drugs i.e. this is consumer surplus. They are prepared to pay more than the actual price to ?get high?. This also suggests that the illegal drug market is fairly price inelastic for demand. After legalisation, drugs may become relatively more readily available, and the prices that they would have to pay may well fall (as there is no criminal organisation trying to make a healthy profit to fund terrorist activity in Afghanistan? etc.) So, consumer surplus may then be reduced (price elasticity of demand would increase in the legal drug market at least for those already not addicted to it, as there are various substitutes to ?have a good time?). [image] Unless of course, the government decide to place heavy taxes on them as they do on other products which go hand in hand for many people- cigarettes and alcohol. If the tax is too high, this may have a negative effect on the issue in the sense that some users may find a cheaper alternative on the streets, resulting in a black market in drugs; and the situation is pretty much as it had begun- illegal drugs. [image] Standard economic price theory tells us how the supply of drugs will be split between the legal and illegal drug markets after legalisation. Legalisation will not necessarily eliminate the illegal market: its size will depend on the relative price and quality in the two drug markets. All else being equal, consumers would prefer legal to illegal drugs because there is a ?quality? difference between the two: there is no danger of arrest from buying in the legal market, which there may be in the illegal market; and the health risks are lower from using legal drugs. Thus, the amount of drugs purchased in the legal market will be higher, and that purchased in the illegal market will be lower; the greater the consumers? valuation of this quality difference between legal and illegal drugs, the lower the legal price and the higher is the illegal price. At an optimum level of taxation, young consumers might see that the use of the drug is cheap enough to enjoy but not so cheap as to lead to its abuse. If legalisation is to occur, the drug business may lose out on the customers who were attracted to it due to its position outside the legal boundary. But it may gain more customers as all law abiding, yet curious consumers would like to try it out. Hence, although it will increase the amount of drugs used (at least initially), it could ensure that the average damage done to society per unit of drugs used is reduced. This can be seen as one of the main trade-offs in favour of legalisation. For example, smoking is bad for the health. It is very harmful to people. Diseases such as cancer, emphysema and bronchitis can arise from it. These then have to be treated by the nhs. This costs money; for the medical attention needed, and the lost years of earning power. Yet, it also saves money: in pensions, welfare and in the health care costs of people who never grow old. Furthermore, smokers pay far more tax than the cost in health care. If drugs were treated in the same way legalisation could be seen as a perfect answer to may problems. (After all, the use of, for example, cannabis, if smoked, would not only lead to problems caused by the drug itself, but would also cause the same problems faced by smokers.) It would bring in extra revenue for the government, could reduce overall health costs, and would reduce income-generated crime and hence reduce the costs involved with the judgement and punishment of such crimes. [image] If legalisation is decided on, since we can assume that the prices will be much cheaper legally than illegally, this may cause a decrease in the purchase and use of other ?enjoyment enhancers? such as cigarettes and alcohol, due to such relatively high taxes on them, and as users may prefer the ?high? gained from drugs to the usual drunkenness and ?nici-rushes?. On the other hand, drugs could be seen as a complementary good with the rest, as an extra ?high? to enjoy the time further. Hence, this may lead to an increase in the purchase of other enjoyment enhancers, along with the drugs. This could bring a new level to drunken disorderly behaviour and may lead to more damage to society. This in turn would cost further money; for healthcare treatment and repair of damage to goods and society. Since drugs would be seen as a luxury good and a non-essential (to most), it is also plausible to imagine that as income rises, more and more people may consider drugs as an alternative way to ?have fun?. (Already, those who can afford to and are not afraid to, would rather go for cocaine than cannabis.) In general, we could also assume that high earners are the cream of society. Those already in stable jobs may be too sensible to try drugs even if they are legal, but what about the potential cream of society (e.g. those being groomed at university)? If drugs become more readily available, would some not be tempted to try, leading to possible addiction and a loss in risk-taking entrepreneurs, doctors and engineers, resulting in a weaker economic future with less earning power, labour and resources? There is, however, much to admire about the about the drugs industry. It is, to start with, highly profitable. It produces goods for a small fraction of the price its customers are willing to pay. It has skilfully taken advantage of globalisation, deftly responding to changing markets and transport routes. It is global but dispersed, built upon a high level of trust, and markets its wares to the young with no spending on conventional advertising. It brings rewards to some of the world?s poorer countries, and employs many of the rich world?s minorities and unskilled. All well and good, if it was only legitimate. Bibliography: Richard D. North, ?Legalising cannabis: the commercialisation of forbidden fruit.? Andrew Clark, ?Adding up the Pros and Cons of Legalisation? The Economist (July 26th 2001) ?The case for legalisation? The Economist (July 26th 2001) ?Stumbling in the dark? David Yallop, ?The buying power of illegal narcotics.?

Legalisation of Purchase, Possession and Consumption of all Class A, B and C Drugs 9.5 of 10 on the basis of 4482 Review.