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View Diary: Support the DRUG LEGALIZATION DEBATE in Central America (14 comments)

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  •  If drugs were legalized in Central America, (0+ / 0-)

    wouldn't that lead to an increase in demand by users there, resulting in higher prices both there and here?

    •  Short answer: no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, AoT

      The most transpoted drug now is MJ, which can be grown almost anywhere (and was by law back when tall ships were in vogue
      Assuming all drugs are legal, that won't lead to an increase in use (source-Ron Paul). But if it did, Bolivia's president is a native sympathetic to local coca growers- maybe they'll work something out. And several countries like Amsterdam have government heroin programs,  so they must have a source.

      Snarka snarka snarka!

      by Hunter Huxley on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 02:19:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Central America's economies are far too small to have a real impact on drug demand. According to the UN World Drug Report (2007), the illicit drug markets are a $322 billion behemoth.

      That's larger than the entire region's combined GDP!!

      Now, the precise effect of prices in demand varies with the drug used. A drug like marijuana, for example, is more elastic, which means that consumption MIGHT change with lower prices.

      An interesting economic study on this topic can be found here, though it's hard to measure precisely because prohibition itself affects studies. The same can be said about medical research too. We don't know enough about substance abuse because those substances are illegal, and thus, hard to research!

      Note, though, that most legalization efforts will definitively include strong taxation. For soft drugs, such as marijuana, legalization would probably introduce some strong taxation, which drives prices up. Thus legalization proponents talk about regularization, more than just "opening the market".

      As an example, Costa Rica has just signed an anti-tobbaco law with a new tax on cigarrettes of 40%. Even though figures for cocaine and heroine are higher, it's not as if heroine shots would be sold as aspirins.

      In summary: Markets are way too small to affect prices, and drugs would be heavily taxed (marijuana) or just  controlled by the State (hard drugs) anyway.

      •  i meant, (0+ / 0-)

        real impact on global drug demand.

        Even if drugs in the region were sold at cost, the real driver of international drug prices are the developed economies. So, it might affect consumption in the region (depending on regulations & taxing, as I said above), but wouldn't probably affect consumption in the US.

        Of course, there would be a policy problem in the US, since trafficking would be allowed within the region. Probably that's the reason the US Administration is trying to stop the debate.

        The problem is that too many people are dying in Mexico and Guatemala to continue pursuing the route suggested by the US military.

    •  Supply and Demand.. (0+ / 0-)

      If a product is legalized and regulated the product becomes more available and costs the consumer less.. Ask anybody in California or Colorado how much less cannabis costs these days compared with just a few years ago.

      •  I thought prices have gone up not down (0+ / 0-)

        but I admit it was only in conversations not anything scientific.

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 03:41:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  it would be nice to see (0+ / 0-)

        prices AND consumption levels in both states.

        Even though supply & demand does apply for drugs, this is a product that has some considerations. Even if people were able to buy heroin at the drug store, that doesn't mean that everybody would consume it!! Since drugs (legal or illegal) have a very real health effect, there are additional considerations when evaluating the possibility of buying them.

        Morphine is the best example of this. It is a legal drug, very addictive and very similar to heroin, that is regulated. But you don't see high levels of morphine consumption, since it's not something you just "go and buy".

        Yes, there are indeed people with morphine addiction problems. But the problem is treated as a medical condition, and thus we don't see the violence level associated with cartels, nor people incarcerated for morphine possession.

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