Exposing A Myth About Drug Legalizationby Doug Mataconis
One of the most common retorts from opponents of drug legalization is that making drugs available legally would lead to increased use.
Well, if Britain’s experience with the decriminalization is any indication, they’ve got it completely wrong:
Gordon Brown’s plans to tighten the law on cannabis by increasing the penalties for possession suffered a fresh blow yesterday as the latest official figures showed the decision to downgrade the drug had been followed by a significant fall in its use.
British Crime Survey statistics showed that the proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds using cannabis slumped from 28% a decade ago to 21% now, with its declining popularity accelerating after the decision to downgrade the drug to class C was announced in January 2004.
Since cannabis was downgraded the proportion of young people using it has fallen each year from 25.3% in 2003-4 to 20.9% now. Among those aged 16 to 59, the proportion over the same period has fallen from 10.8% to 8.2%.
Why might something like this happen ? Well, once illegal drugs loose their taboo status, their allure for some people, especially young people, suddenly goes away.
So the next time some drug warrior tells you that legalization will result in a nation of drug addicts, you can tell him that it ain’t necessarily so.