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Illicit Drugs

Libertarians have consistently argued that individuals should be free to consume mind-altering substances such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco given that others are not harmed. When we examine spillover harms that are allegedly caused by the consumption of these products, they cannot stand muster. Further, even if some spillovers occur, anticonsumption policies are not warranted because their implementation, it has been shown, invariably imposes even greater costs than drug use. Yet prohibitionist policies persist because they promote the interests of several powerful political groups.

Drug war advocates contend that drug cravings cause people to steal; thus, they argue, controlling drug markets will have the effect of reducing both drug consumption and property crime. However, substantial evidence shows that property crime is not caused by ...

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