Why is marijuana illegal, but alcohol and tobacco are available and regulated?
People who support marijuana prohibition claim that marijuana is unhealthy and dangerous. They say we need to keep drugs illegal to protect our society from the addiction and disease that they cause.
These arguments are not consistent with the fact that the two most deadly drugs in America are legal. Alcohol and tobacco are far more addictive and harmful than marijuana, but they are legally available. If we want to have drug policies that are logical and effective, we need to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco.
Alcohol prohibition failed miserably. Marijuana prohibition is failing for the same reasons. For an economic analysis of why prohibition doesn't work, see Alcohol Prohibition Was A Failure, by Auburn Economics professor Mark Thornton.
Despite the known health risks of tobacco use, cigarettes are legally available throughout the United States and can be purchased at gas stations, convenience stores, and supermarkets for less than $5 per pack.
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