Quick Edit | Kicking the habit

Quick Edit | Kicking the habit

Ask any economist how to reduce crimes associated with substance abuse and he will tell you to free its supply. This simple idea has eluded governments for a long time.

Now, a global panel on drug abuse—the Global Commission on Drug Policy—has arrived at the same conclusion. The panel recommends that governments consider legalizing marijuana and other illicit drugs, and focus on organized crime and drug traffickers.

This makes much sense. At one end of the problem—the micro level—free availability of drugs is likely to greatly reduce incentives associated with drug pushing. This will slowly work its way to the other end—that of powerful crime syndicates. They will simply run out of business opportunities.

It will also make the task of governments easier: they can then focus on the much simpler task of educating people against the harmful effects of drug consumption.