Pubdate: Wed, 13 Nov 2013
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2013 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Elizabeth Bloom Albert


I agree wholeheartedly with a recent letter to the editor sharing 
some solid arguments for the legalization not just of marijuana but 
of all street drugs.

A big part of the argument in favor of legalization is economic.

Here is just a partial list of taxes and fees that we are missing out 
on by keeping drug trafficking illegal: Import tariffs. Sales taxes. 
Sumptuary taxes (as one would pay on a pack of cigarettes or a pint 
of whiskey).

Licenses (like those displayed by liquor and tobacco merchants). 
Income taxes. Payroll (Social Security and Medicare) taxes.

Federally mandated unemployment insurance.

Indeed, the only times society at large reaps any money from drug 
traffickers are the sales taxes collected on big-ticket items drug 
dealers buy with the tax-free millions they are raking in, or when 
Hollywood actors pay their income taxes after having played the role 
of a drug kingpin.

And the costs of the drug trade to society are astronomical: the 
innocents wounded or outright killed during turf wars, the murder and 
mayhem on every street corner, the prisons overflowing with gang 
members, the missed opportunities of our nation's youth. How do you 
even begin to place a dollar figure on all that?

Elizabeth Bloom Albert, Highland Park
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