Legalization as a weapon

Linda Valdez has an fascinating OpEd in today’s Arizona Republic: Stem the violence, make marijuana legal

Imagine you had a really smart bomb – a genius bomb – that could blow up the leaders of every drug cartel in Mexico.
By the time the smoke cleared, a new pusher would be sitting in every cartel’s big chair and the distribution networks would continue satisfying the demand of every junkie and recreational-drug user in America. […]
Now, imagine a different weapon.
Consider the impact of eliminating the most profitable product the cartels sell.
All we have to do is legalize marijuana.

It’s a very good piece and she uses all the drug warriors’ arguments against them by simply setting up her unimpeachable premise and then quoting their usual stuff.
I love this line, of course:

You’d think a country built on capitalism would understand basic laws of supply and demand. Instead, a failed and irrational national policy blunders forward, costing billions, incarcerating large numbers of people and enriching ruthless crime syndicates.

Update: Also see Debra J. Saunders at Townhall: The Drug War Body Count. Good article, but the check out some of the ignorant commenters:
Doug writes:

It is an understatement to say that you are stupid if you believe that prohibition causes this type of violence.
The people who control this industry are not moral people. They will not simply roll over and be good little sunday school students simply because you tell them it is now legal.
They will conduct their business with the same disrespect for the law, and will laugh at your “regulators” the same way they shoot your peace officers.
Naive band of idiots.

Lolo1 says:

Doug: Well said!

Lolo1 also says:

I see people here honestly think that drug pushers are going to suddenly come out of the shadows and pay taxes and go legitimate.
Wanna buy a bridge?

Um, no, Lolo and Doug. Enterprising Americans will leap at the chance to make money by selling drugs legally and yes, even happily pay taxes. And then anybody who wants to sell drug on the black market will become mostly irrelevant, forced to search for new income sources. It’s really not rocket science, folks.

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