It has been suggested, and in some cases demonstrated, that legalizing or at least decriminalizing less harmful drugs, such as marijuana, can help to reduce the violence, significantly decrease the numbers of people incarcerated for drug use, allow more individuals to remain a contributing member of society and free up funds and manpower to combat against more harmful substances. That the war on drugs is ineffective has been documented in various ways and by various officials. An examination into the available literature illustrates that the war on drugs has not managed to eliminate the sales of these substances within defined boundaries, has contributed to the development of organized crime and other associated crimes and carries an unsupportable price tag in terms of prison space and law enforcement capabilities.
A report put out by the Drug Reform Coordination Network in 2005 indicated that a group of at least 500 economists is pushing for legislation reform as a means of saving billions of dollars through a tax and regulation policy as opposed to the current elimination policy.5 In this report, a study conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Miron is cited as claiming legalized marijuana would provide significant savings in enforcement costs at both the federal and state levels and would generate significant income in the form of taxes. Together, it is suggested there would be a net savings of approximately $14 billion a year. Rather than proposing a specific course of action, these economists were instead calling for a national debate to be held to discuss legalization. “The fact that marijuana prohibition has these budgetary impacts does not by itself mean prohibition is a bad policy. Existing evidence, however, suggests prohibition has minimal benefits and may itself cause substantial harm.” (Friedman, 2005)
It was believed by the economists that such a discussion would bring .out the obvious factors that will lead to the legalization, regulation, and taxation on marijuana, bringing out the benefits of each side and, at the least, justifies the reasons for maintaining the prohibition against the substance.