H/T to Jeffrey Miron.
Mexico’s Felipe Calderon criticized the U.S.’s “incoherent” drug policy, criminalization sans proper enforcement, as causing “terrible damage,” noting the widows of the thousands of policemen who have died in the war on drugs. In a bit of an incoherent twist of his own, the Mexican president cites difficulty in prosecuting “a very poor farmer in Mexico growing marijuana.”
Not only is it entirely antithetical to individual freedom and property rights to criminalize marijuana, but it is bad economic policy. Making something illegal does not eliminate demand for it and, as an economic axiom states, as long as there is substantial demand for a product there will always be a supplier. The illegality of marijuana serves only to drive the market for marijuana underground and give violent drug cartels a monopoly on production and distribution. In other words, criminalizing drugs subsidizes cartels. Legalizing it would allow average Joes to sell to their neighbors thereby stripping cartels of their funding.