What if all illegal drugs (marijuana, hashish, crack and powder cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, etc.) were legal and regulated in the same way cigarettes and alcohol are regulated for adult consumption. Would drug-related crime increase or decrease? Would we have more drug addicts or fewer?
Of course, there is no way to know for certain how things would be if drugs were legalized. We can only engage in conjecture.
My own view is that the number of addicts would probably not change to any appreciable degree. The fact that drugs had been legalized would not be likely to cause fewer people to use them. The legalization would not make the drugs any less addictive. For those reasons, it is unlikely that addictions would decrease. Finally, I do not see any reason to believe that more people would use drugs. We can think of this in relation to cigarettes. Even though they are legal, the vast majority of people choose not to use them because they know the health consequences of smoking. Therefore, we would not see more addicts either.
My own view is that the number of drug-related crimes would decrease. First of all, if drugs were legal there would be many more legal sellers and, presumably, many fewer illegal sellers. That would reduce the number of drug-related crimes on its own. There would, however, still be some crime related to drugs. If the number of addicts did not decrease, there should be no decrease in crimes committed by people trying to get money to buy drugs.
Therefore, I would argue that the number of addicts would probably remain the same while the number of crimes would drop to some degree.
- significant drop in crime/ violence if drugs were legalized