A pragmatic argument against criminalizing drugs is that criminalization creates vast rents and encourages criminal entrepreneurs to use violence, intimidation, bribery, extortion and corruption to extract these rents. Another pragmatic argument is that it is pointless to waste resources fighting a war that cannot be won. The losing war on drugs wastes resources that could be used to fight terrorism and other crimes.
Another important argument for legalizing, in particular, all cultivation of poppy and of coca (and their illegal derivatives) is that this would take away a vital source of income and political support for terrorist move- ments, including the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (Farc) and various paramilitary groups.
Indeed, it's so obvious that it's.... I don't know. It's just really, really, obvious to me that this would be a good idea. One of Dan's commenters captures my incredulity:
I understand that politics is the art of the possible, etc. But why is it that some politicians and large blocs the commentariat and the public will endorse “getting our hands dirty” (“enhanced interrogation techniques” (torture), the suspension of habeus corpus and even the thousand natural shocks of commercial air transport security) because of the existential threat of terrorism, but changing drug policy is a bridge too far? I know screaming DRUGS THINKOFTHECHILDREN DRUGS presses on the reptilian core of the public brain….but shouldn’t screaming TERRORISM ALQUEDA TERRORISM trump that? What am I missing here?