Florida Can Save Billions by Legalizing Drugs
Here is a letter to the St. Petersburg Times:
In response to the recent court ruling declaring a key statute of Florida’s drug law unconstitutional, the Times applauds Judge Mary Scriven’s opinion and urges lawmakers to “fix the law as soon as possible” (Due process returns to Florida’s drug law, July 30).
However, instead of fixing the law, the Florida legislature should take the bold step of legalizing drugs. Despite drug policy needing to be treated as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice one, legalizing drugs will be a tremendous boon financially for a state like Florida with horrible fiscal problems. Studies show Florida expenditures attributable to drug prohibition are just shy of $1.5 billion per year. Moreover, estimates of potential annual revenues realized from taxation and regulation will be approximately $1 billion. The $2.5 billion in annual savings can put state resources to better use than locking people up in jail, such as paying down the state’s budget deficit, or increased spending on education, rail projects, and the like.
Brad R. Schlesinger