Alcohol Taxes Should Be Tripled

marijuana-alcohol-harmful-pew-research

America is rushing headlong toward legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. A growing majority—54 percent as of a Pew survey released just last month—favor legalization, and an even larger majority of millennials (69 percent) feels the same way. Colorado and Washington are the first states to move decisively in this direction, but they won’t be the last. I basically think this is an OK development. Like Mark Kleiman, a public policy professor at UCLA who is my guru on the regulation of controlled substances, I see full commercial legalization as a truly terrible idea, while I think noncommercial legalization, ideally via monopolies owned and operated by state governments, would be an improvement over the status quo. Regardless, marijuana legalization is coming, one way or another.

One thing that is really striking about the new Pew data is that 69 percent of Americans believe, correctly, that alcohol is more harmful to society than marijuana. When asked if alcohol would still be more harmful to society than marijuana if marijuana were just as easy to get a hold of as alcohol is now, 63 percent said that yes, it would be. Most people see marijuana’s relative harmlessness as a reason for us to regulate marijuana as lightly as we regulate alcohol. I see things differently. The fact that alcohol is more harmful to society than marijuana is a reason to regulate alcohol more stringently than we regulate marijuana. In other words, let’s ease up on marijuana Prohibition and ramp up good old-fashioned alcohol Prohibition. More precisely I favor something like what the libertarian journalist Greg Beato calls, and not in a nice way, “Prohibition Lite,”…

Read original article on Slate.com

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