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Kleiman's study shows that (from a crime perspective) there would not be any difference between tightening or loosening the reins currently on illicit drugs, therefore, it makes sense to loosen those reins. His study shows that crime would neither become more prevalent, nor less prevalent.
Jack Westman, MD has this to say, "The only sensible solution, however, is to reduce the demand for street drugs, not legalize them. The sentence for illegal drug use is treatment that may include substituting medications for the illegal drugs" (Westman 2000, pg 10).
There could be two possibilities for Westman's stance. One could be that, as a professional in the medical industry he sees the amount of dollars that are being wasted by illicit drug use (and its money the drug companies could be making) or secondly he believes that cocaine use is not that serious and can be controlled in a medical environment more effectively than on the streets.
It is ironic that a practicing physician talks about organized crime as the source of addicting drugs for two reasons. The first reason is because doctors are actually the biggest source of addicting drugs (by prescribing drugs to patients) and two because he is advocating that doctors take over that role.
His idea of medicalizing cocaine use is good as far as it goes, it just does not go far enough. By his words, he is saying that cocaine use is okay, but that the medical industry would be more conducive to controlling usage than allowing individuals to make that decision on their own. Either way, it is still legalization.
Other experts have a different take on the matter.
Mark Richardson wrote in the Southern Economic Journal, "illicit channels for drug-smuggling are well established and the apparent gains from smuggling are large. And discussion of this issue (legalizing cocaine) must consider the incentives to smuggle that still exist after legalization" (Richardson 1992, pg 659).
He believes that smuggling of cocaine (and other illicit drugs) will continue even if they are legalized because there is still a huge incentive to bring them illegally into the country. In other words, he feels that legalization is a good idea, as long as the smugglers are taken care of, or that they no longer have an incentive to do so.
Other experts say that the effects of legalizing cocaine will be very detrimental to society and especially to the youth of the world, who supposedly would have freer access to the drugs. Studies do not show that freer access is what entices youth to use cocaine however. "The results indicate that youth cocaine demand is sensitive to price" (Chaloupka 1998). The solution then is to keep the purchase price or cocaine relatively high.
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