March 26th, 2009
02:52 PM ET
12 years ago

Cafferty: Time for U.S. to legalize drugs?

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As drugs and related violence from Mexico continue to infect 230 cities in the United States, some politicians, economists, and even drug law enforcement leaders say legalizing drugs may be the answer.

One Texas city councilman tells CNN “it’s the least worst option to ending cartel violence.” He says decriminalizing drugs would take away a lot of the financial incentive for the cartels to kill. Arizona’s Attorney General says 60 percent of the battle is marijuana — and he’s called for “at least a rational discussion” on ways to take the profit out of weed.

Some insist legalizing drugs like pot would help our economy. One California congresswoman says it would pump $1 billion into her state’s budget alone every year. A senior economics lecturer at Harvard says federal, state and local governments spend $44 billion a year to enforce drug prohibition. If drugs were legal, they could be making about $33 billion per year in tax revenue.

To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion, click here.

Filed under: Cafferty File
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Pam Baggett

    Oh, good grief! I answered that question in the affirmative in the 60s!

    March 26, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. dreamer

    I think it is a good time to have a good old fashion open debate about what whould be the pros and cons about decrimilzation of some recreational drugs.Maybie there really need to change we deal with drugs.Awful lot of money going around not to be put to good use.....just somthing to think about.

    March 26, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Takeshi

    Heck No. From a true Dem. Time to Close the importing of it. Period. Stop worrying about the money and do the right thing.

    March 26, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Green future Ph.D.

    I'm an extremely successful future Ph.D. in an engineering related field and I like to smoke pot. There's just nothing wrong with it, it's normal and just as harmful as tobacco or alcohol.

    It would save us TONS of money

    Legalize it

    March 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Simmy

    Now, more than ever, we need to have clear heads, and stay focused. Although weed tends to make one feel giddy and bubbly all over (I've heard), that might not be the reality we live in. Once down from the high, depression might set in too deeply, and cause one to crave something more harmful and or habit forming.

    March 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. tony

    Not a good idea at all.... people forget what drugs do. does anyone pay attention to the news and how certain people react when on drugs? there is no set amount to what will cause someone to react in an unsatisfactory manner and put many peoples live's in danger? the street would be filled with walking zombies feening for that next fix but cant get it because they spent it already. hmm lets try some crack today. maybe some heroin tommorow? it does not make sense. all this talk makes me wonder where the mind is today.Police officers would deserve raises as would doctors because drugs in general are very unstable and both those occupations would see an increase in major incidents. The economy issues arent going to go away in a cloud of smoke. It's going to take alot of hard work but let's not lose our heads and common sense because the going gets rough.

    March 26, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Chris - Seattle

    Seems to me that America is stuck in the 1920's with the propaganda of "Reefer Madness", never mind that it's already Americas #1 cash crop and never mind that Thomas Jefferson & George Washington both said in writing that Hemp would save the human race! And if I'm adding correctly the $44billion we'd save from the enforcement of prohibition plus the $33billion in tax revenue just for one state and let's not forget about exporting it to other countries and last but not least the lives saved from bringing the business from underground / blackmarket to above ground! Too common sensical I guess, which is exactly why it won't happen! Because common sense just ain't very common anymore!

    March 26, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Rodel Rodis

    Marijuana was not criminalized by the US Congress until the 1930s and for anti-Mexican racist reasons that distorted the scientific facts. If cigaret smoking is legal, then marijuana should be legal too. It's certainly less harmful than cigarets and millions of Americans won't have to go to jail and become statistics in the criminal justice system.

    March 26, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. PATC

    I have no qualms with it. Don't legislate stupidity. Same as don't legislate trans-fats, don't legislate what type of car I drive, don't legislate if I drive without a seatbelt. On the flip side. Don't make others pay for their stupidty. No government Drug Rehab, no sueing if you get fat or die of a heart attack, no insurance payment if you become a vegatable when your head goes through the windshield. Who knows Cafferty may be like Palin a Conservative-Libertarian afterall.

    March 26, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Leeza

    I have always held the opinion that the only reason marijuana is not legal is because the government has not found a way to tax it! It is funny how all of sudden the country needs money, and now it is being talked about!
    It is the least of all the other poisons like alcohol and tobacco. We make millions/billions off of those each year!
    BAN ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Susan

    Legalize everything. People who want to smoke marijuanna are gonna smoke or not....

    March 26, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Alex

    Well if Obama thinks that it deserves to be a drug then surely he wouldn't mind being given a court date seeing as how he admitted smoking it.
    On the other hand, he could step through the obvious lobbying by big tobacco and admit that it causes no harm. I mean, he did manage to become president. Infact, since both our last presidents have tried it, maybe its a new requirement for the job!

    March 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. De Da DEEE

    Common sense tells you that weed should be legal there is no real argument against it. This world would be so much better if people got high instead of drunk. High people don’t beat their wives. High people don’t get angry and start fights. High people don’t rob stores. High people just relax and chill and eat. Weed is not addictive. There is no withdraw when you quite. You can’t smoke yourself to death. A grown man or woman should have the right to smoke weed. The government has no right telling us we can’t.

    March 26, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX


    I am divided. I don't know about a legal pot industry curing all our economic ills or reducing the violence in and outside of the country.

    But with all this insanity in 2009 there are some days I long to be twenty again...with a bad case of the munchies!

    March 26, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. scott

    I thnk that pot should be legalized for one simple reason. Alcohol.
    How as a society can anyone who has ever had even one drink say that pot is bad? No one has ever died from pot, ever! No one crashes their car into a tree from smoking, no one beats their wife after smoking, no one gets into a bar fight after smoking or has sex in a way they would regret and then not remember. Alcohol is a dangerous deadly DRUG and yet you can buy it anywhere and in hundreds of flavors. Yet harmless pot is illegal? Who makes up these rules?

    March 26, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. tony

    and they say it would save money right? 10 billion is a pittance. the fact is we are still going to be trillions in debt. and they leave out the truth that regulating this industry is going to cost a whole lot of money as well. There are people out there who lace their products with such unsavory items as windex, rat poison, other stronger drugs. Students failing out of school would increase. our country would be full of smoked out zombies and not exactly the most appealing to the rest of the world who looks at us as setting the standard for the most part. Yes we have our flaws but something like this? is beyond a flaw it would be a black mark on us all even those who dont touch it.

    March 26, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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