Milton Friedman – Why Drugs Should Be Legalized

Milton Friedman – Why Drugs Should Be Legalized


during prohibition when I was a teenager A prohibition was repealed in 1933 when I was 21-years-old, so I was a teenager during most of prohibition Alcohol was readily available Bootlegging was common, any idea that alcohol prohibition was keeping people from drinking was absurd There were speakeasies all over the place but more than that We had this spectacle of Al Capone, of the hijackings, of the Gang wars; Anybody with two eyes to see could see that this was a bad deal. That you were doing more harm than good. Now, in addition, I became an economist and as an economist I came to recognize the importance of markets and the free choice and of consumer sovereignty and came to discover the harm that was done when you interfered with it. The effect of criminalization, of making drugs criminal, is to drive people from mild drugs to strong drugs. In what way? Well you make take, Marijuana. Marijuana is a very heavy bulky substance and therefore it’s relatively easy to interdict The warriors on drugs have been more successful Interdicting marijuana than let’s say cocaine so marijuana prices have gone up they become harder to get. There’s been an incentive to grow more potent marijuana and People have been driven from marijuana to heroin, or cocaine, or crack or one of the other drugs. Let us consider another drug then, and that is the drug crack, crack cocaine. Crack would never have existed In my opinion if you had not had drug prohibition It was drug prohibition Why was crack created? Because cocaine was so expensive I see America with half the number of prisons half the number of prisoners 10,000 fewer homicides a year inner cities in which there’s a chance For these poor people to live without being afraid for their lives Respectable citizens – or, citizens who might be respectable who are now addicts? not being subject to becoming criminals in order to get their drug, being able to Get drugs for which they’re sure of the quality The role of the government is to protect the drug Cartel That’s literally true. [if] they’re doing a good job with it excellent. What [do] I mean by that in an ordinary free-Market business? Let’s take potatoes Defended anyone there are thousands of importers and exporters Anybody can go into the business But the drug but but it’s very hard for a small person to go into the drug importing business because our interdiction efforts Essentially make an enormous lacrosse line, so the only people who can survive in that business are these large Medellin Cartel kind of people we’ll have enough money so they can reflect some airplane, so they can have sophisticated methods So it’s in effect in addition to it by Keeping [goods] out By and by arresting let’s say local marijuana growers the government keeps the price of these products on So what more could a Monopolist [walk]? The one negative feature of legalizing drugs. Is that there might be some additional? drug addicts However, I want to qualify that and still another the [Child] was shot in a slum [enou] in a Pass by shooting in Random shooting is an innocent victim in every respect of the time The person who decides to take drugs for himself was not an innocent victim he has chosen himself to be [able] And I must say I have very much less sympathy for him Let us tell the willing I am not willing to impose. I do not think it is more to impose heavy costs on other people to protect people from Their own choices [is] it not true that the entire discussion here the entire drug problem is an economic problem till now it’s not an economic profit Or tomorrow problem in what way the economics part of it is I’m an economist, but the economics problem is strictly Tertiary it’s a Moral problem It’s a problem with a harm which government is doing look, I have estimated statistically that the prohibition of drugs produces on the average 10,000 additional homicides a year it’s a moral problem that the government is going around killing 10,000 people. It’s a moral problem That the government is making into criminals people who May be doing something you and I don’t approve of but who are doing something that hurts nobody else most of the arrests for drugs Are for possession by casual users now here’s somebody who wants [to] smoke a cigarette Mara Joint If he’s caught he goes to jail Now is that Moral is that proper? I think it’s absolutely disgraceful that our government’s supposed to be our government should be in the position of Converting people who are not harming others? Into criminals of destroying their life putting them in jail. [I] don’t see that’s the issue to me Look if you’re right the case for prohibiting [our] Drugs is exactly in straw as strong and as weak. There’s a case for prohibiting people from overeating We all know that overeating causes more deaths than than drugs Why can’t why why isn’t it perfect if it’s if it’s if it’s in principle? Okay for the government [to] say you must not consume drugs because there do you want why isn’t it [alright] to say you must not eat too much because Why isn’t it [alright] to say you must not try to go in for skydiving because you’re likely to die Why isn’t it alright to say all skiing? That’s no good. That’s a very dangerous sport, you’ll hurt yourself Where do you draw [the] line? what scares you the [most] about the notion of drugs being legal as Nothing like here’s me about the notion of drugs being legal nothing. What scares me? Is the notion of continuing on the past path were on now? Which will destroy our free society? you

100 comments

  1. The stoners and non-stoners that think only weed should be legal are pretentious assholes. I've met one at my college, wish she didn't think that way.

    These people are like, "But weed is safe! Heroin isn't!" and I'm like, "So what? People have a right to put whatever they want into their bodies, plus you still have the war on drugs if only weed is legal." and they're still like "Well only weed should be legal."

    I just give up.

  2. The terrible cost to society from alcohol is clear. DWI/DUI, lost man house, addiction, liver problems etc….smoking is a terrible product..sure it's a free society but society has to pay for the medical care eventually,. So toss another log on the fire with making more drugs legal. Look at the opiate addiction problems now. Legal drugs.

    What is the total cost to society? Just because we want to give up where does it stop? Child porn is a huge problem. Make it legal and the problem will go away? The same with car theft etc…any numerous crimes can be made legal. Illegal immigration is another great example. Just have open borders and watch a billion people show up.

  3. We already tried that. Illegal Drugs used to be completely legal. Heroin, Cocaine, were sold openly in drug stores in the 1900's. What happened? Families were destroyed. Fathers were fired from their jobs. Mothers were thrown on the street. Children were thrown on the street. That's why these wonderful, purposeful, drug control laws were written. You were a great economic thinker Mr. Frieman, but you should stick to subjects you know something about. Heroin is not alcohol.

  4. Is it moral to allow someone to harm themselves? They may not be harming others, but would it be moral to allow someone to harm themselves??

  5. Holly shit this is when they still let people complete their thought and feeling instead of interrupting them constantly when they don't agree with what they said

  6. Alcohol isn't Meth or Heroine tho. Don't we have enough problems with alcohol as it is, such as people killed by drunk drivers, alcohol abuse, teen addiction etc….Oh But only if we legalize Meth, heroine and Crack the world would be a better place. ARE YOU FUCKING IDIOTS OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS?? When you kid rips his/hers own eyeballs out with their bear hands because they're high as Fuck Don't blame the Meth then k! You fuckin R-tards, Grow the fuck up!…. And I like Milton Friedman, he should stick to economics tho.

  7. I think seatbelt laws are fair, and I consider myself a libertarian, because, and correct me if I'm wrong on the physics of this, but if you crash into someone, and you're not wearing a seatbelt, then your body is a projectile that could potentially hit the person in the other car. This for me, at least means that it's not just an issue of doing harm to yourself, but it's putting others at risk.

  8. The blatant stupidity of the drug war serves very well as an example of how badly government make a mess of things. They ESPECIALLY make a mess of things when they criminalize private behavior.

  9. I only wish Mr. Friedman could be around to see how spot on he was regarding fentanyl replacing heroin and the destruction this is causing.

  10. Great clips with a lot of great points, whoever added that annoying fucking music nearly ruined the entire thing

  11. As much as I value his oppinion, but I don't want to live in a society in which it is okay to take drugs in public, a society that teaches children that taking drugs is okay. Then what about the costs for the health care system? What about crime under influence? Yes, this is about morality, not purely economics.
    What I don't get, and there he is inconsistent: He talks about personal freedom, but when it comes to gang crimes he blames the government. Does he really think those drug lords would ever tolerate an open and free market?

  12. A nation's most valuable asset may very well be it's culture. Widespread drug use leads to drug culture. If marijuana becomes prevalent we are screwed. People who are stoners are lazy, don't work hard, are not at their best and actually not even close to it. See Jamaica. Jamaica needs foreign workers to work where the natives are too lazy. Do you think those stoners give two craps about building a society that respects human freedom. The two ingredients for human freedom and morality, intellect and will, are dulled by drugs

  13. What he did not address is that unlike potatoes or milk, drugs effect various people differently. Especially psychoactive narcotics. Drugs aren’t a commodity class in itself because there are so many substances used to make certain types. The chemicals, etc. To fully legalize ALL drugs is madness.

  14. They are legal. The "war " on plants is illegal. Big pharma is a huge pusher with a govt stamp but they don't want competition. Like giant monster mega banks (Clark), that buy protection from crooks in suits with your $$!!

  15. There's one major problem with Friedman's argument that he didn't cover. Many property crimes and violent crimes are committed by addicts trying to get money to support their habits. In fact, most addicts (not all), resort to crime! Anywhere you go in the world, high drug use correlates with high crime rates. The biggest drug crime being committed is drunk driving. The solution is to impose a death penalty on anyone who commits crimes while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The citizenry should be encouraged to shoot and kill addicts that steal from them or commit violent offenses. This natural culling of herd will cure America's drug problem.

  16. Weed is now "legal" on a state level in California. Of course, it's still federally illegal. But why are weed prices in CA more expensive now at "legal" dispensaries? Street level prices remain unaffected.

  17. If you want to see the effects of drug legalization look at the opioid epidemic in America. High rates of addiction resulting in 11 million Americans abusing prescription opioids in 2016. There are countless deaths daily that add up to thousands dead every year.

  18. Only manufacturing and sale of alcohol was illegal during prohibition (possession and consumption wasn’t), and was enforced with fines at worst. The reason it was a failure was because enforcement wasn’t anywhere near as condign as it should have been. More casuistry and manipulation from a Jew, how typical…

  19. My son died a year ago, of a heroin/fentanyl, over dose. If not laced with fentanyl, he would be alive, if it was pure. As with alcohol, when you buy it, one knows what one is buying.

  20. As a Mexican, i surely know that prohibition only makes the drug business more profitable for drug cartels. If USA wants to stop illegal immigration, they should first remove the prohibition on drugs.

  21. Because most politicians, entertainers and athletes use them with impunity, while the little people get thrown in jail.

  22. He was anti-goverment, wich is probably pure sanity. The same idea can't apply to, for example, parenting, as wel as other institutions. Freedom, then, is not an absolute idea and should be applied carefully.

  23. What they do not tell you about prohibition. By the way, I have a Ph.D. In Education and Criminal Justice and retired as a police administrator. I like Milton Friedman, however, he missed the most important point —- people. During the time of prohibition sanitariums for alcoholism was down 50%. Most people during prohibition actually abided by the law, alcohol abuse was down and there was some positive influence. Yes, the black market did happen and that is the downside; however, alcoholism during prohibition did not raise the use of alcohol; especially among YOUTH.

    Drugs today? Unlike alcohol, since the mid 1960s and on DRUGS have become part of the youth culture and has been a major market for illegal drugs. When you legalize drugs those using drugs, especially young, say those who are 18 years old, will be a gateway for younger youth to become part of the drug market users – intentional or not. Those teenagers that use drugs are part of a higher drop out rate, do poorer in school, more apt to commit a juvenile delinquent act and their very mind – which is in developmental stage (until like 25) will be seriously debilitated. Legalizing drugs will allow more youth to take drugs by easier access. ALSO —- it sends a social approval message that DRUGS ARE OKAY. When studying sociology for years we have known that most citizens comply with the law because they observe that laws as something that are there for a reason and should be followed. Laws make a positive difference;

    Next point. People do not make good decisions on drugs. They increase higher risk behavior making them a threat. Drug users operate at an more emotional level than intelligence level and therefore commit crime and often violent crime. Legalize cocaine? Legalize meth / crack? Legalize opiates? You would be an IDIOT ! These drugs DESTROY PEOPLES LIVES and make them a risk to themselves and also society. Marijuana —- what they don’t share —- a police officer pulls someone over for driving on marijuana —- which tremendously affects the ability to do responsive coordinated actions with a time space problems —- there ARE NO TESTS TO DETERMINE HOW HIGH THEY WERE WHEN DRIVING !!! There is no means of accountability. Yet, people who DO NOT USE DRUGS on on the road subject not only to the higher risk of being in an accident with those under the influence of marijuana / other drugs, IF there is an accident the person under influence who is at fault cannot clearly be held accountable. There are THOUSANDS of INNOCENT people killed on the road every year from people who drive under the influence of some substance abuse —- including marijuana. Do you realize how many on the job accidents happen on the job due to drugs. Do your research. Sorry Milton, during the prohibition the thousands of thousands of youth that we see today whose lives, and their families – who are totally destroyed because of drug addiction / drug overdoses DID NOT EXIST LIKE TODAY. In short, social, medical, psychological and juvenile delinquency research ALL POINT THAT DRUGS ARE DESTRUCTIVE AND DESTROY LIVES AND ARE A HUMONGOUS COST TO SOCIETY. Liberals do not care. Libertarians are often Okay with drug legalization. However, conservative philosophy is the “greater good for the greater number”. We do not need a larger population of drug addicts, under the influence, unmotivated except to attain their next high, or so whacky to become under paranoia and become more of a threat to others and themselves. Add the last fact that TREATMENT FACILITIES have a very low rate of success.

  24. If all drugs we legalized and professionally manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, we could literally wipe out 99% of diseases related to drug use in two generations and cut the overdose rates in a HUGE way!
    • Why do people get hepatitis? Low/non-existant access to clean equipment and sterile drugs.
    • Why do people overdose? Unknown potency and cutting agents.

    Imagine how much better our streets would be if this took place! Imagine if people could just use their clean drug of choice, go to work and support their families etc… People could mind their OWN business and police could focus on REAL crimes.
    It's a guarantee that people WILL continue using drugs, the question is; HOW do we MINIMIZE the damage as they continue doing their thing? Surely sticking a fearful and hurting opioid addict in a metal cage for a month and then telling them to go to NA and enroll in a methadone program isn't the answer…

  25. What leads you to believe you have the right to tell others what they can and can't ingest into their own body? While the practicality and real world consequences argument is obvious, it should never even GET to the point where people are debating those things because ITS ALL FOUNDED ON THE PRESUMPTION THAT PEOPLE CAN TELL OTHER PEOPLE WHAT THEY CAN DO WITH THEIR OWN SELF

  26. While of course drugs should never have been made illegal, Friedman knows very little about the real drug black market (or non black market) for that matter. He also seems to still old the juvenile idea of a "gateway" drug as cited at 1:43.
    Also, giant foreign drug cartels are NOT the only people able to actually produce and sell drugs in the black market. I'm fairly certain estimates put foreign imported weed at least than 25% of the actual weed sold and smoked here in America. The vast majority is grown by small indoor operations by a single person, or at most a small ring of 3 to 10 guys.
    Nobody wants the shwag crap cartels bring in anyway. It's all brick weed, black looking garbage that'll probably have mold on it.

  27. I see where he’s gettin at but the idea that people doing drugs only affects them is foolish.. as a country we spend billions of dollars to treat patients with overdoses and psychological trauma .. directly affecting government spending.. I’d also like to add that by increasing the price on these drugs it actually incentivizes people NOT to go after them and start using them.. it’s basic economics that if the price goes down people tend to buy MORE of that good.. I think to have a thriving nation u must balance out a free market and the right amount of regulation

  28. Friedman was a great man. I totally agree with him about legalizing drugs and have been saying it for years. He was also right about free speech. I think he would be horrified about the path that free speech is heading – he would be appalled at at PC and hate speech laws. We are heading down the path to tyranny.

  29. So ahead of his time he was timeless.

    You'll be able to listen to his lectures a hundred years from now and the ideas will still be potent

  30. ALL DRUGS SHOULD BE LEGAL. Drug prohibition has simply handed control of these substances to the WORST PEOPLE IMAGINABLE! Criminals with no conscience!!
    In other words, the type of people who could never make the kind of money they make from drugs from any other business! And these are the people we’re handing OBSCENE PROFITS TO!
    And what do they do with those profits? They use it to corrupt, to carry out more crimes and to destroy neighbourhoods

  31. 4:19 "He has chosen himself to be a victim." Largely this is not the case. The environment he lives in causes him to be a victim. Drugs should non the less be legalised but this will not solve the problem of addiction and dependency in places where, arguably, the government has a responsibility to push people's lives in the right direction, when they cannot do so themselves.

  32. This man speaks pure sense, yes drugs are addictive but i believe in the radical notion of owning my own mind and body, and NOT succumbing to the will of the collective. No inherent point in life can be seen in my opinion, Therefore if i wish to take heroin until i od it's my prerogative, the only thing the man who is selling it to me should do is provide a warning label and be accountable for his product's quality.

  33. Milton Friedman is very intelligent and makes some compelling points, but drugs like Heroin and Cocaine are much more serious than simply eating too much for dinner. The fact that he compared the two like that is kind of insulting.

  34. that prohibition shit its bee real dark age to research of better medicine how long humanity have time to sit thumb in asshole research shoud be gouing forward

  35. Libertarian paternalism is dangerous because they project their own shortcomings and use them as arguments.

  36. The best part? The free market developed a cure for opium addiction!! Now you can buy Suboxone, and that drug gets rid of all the negative externalities associated with opium. Why is it hard to get? Because the government controls it too!

  37. Legal ,illegal, these are just artificial standards that temporarily redistrict natural law for the benefit of primates. Law is Law. Discovered only, never created by man. Science would explain everything if we would just Grant said institutions their necessary miracle. They deny the very evidence they have requested. Profound claims require profound evidence. This is merely Lucifer and the three temptations. God cannot be compelled or extorted to reveal himself. If he could, he would not be God.

  38. The war on drugs was not about the drugs. It’s about the businesses evading taxes. Drugs gave government the excuse to audit anyone whenever they want “because drugs are bad”.

  39. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a good solution for the drug problem in America. I’ve seen both of their ‘solutions’, first hand 🖐, lead to dire situations in Seattle….

    The republicans solution is increased punishment. The liberal solution is no punishment. Both have lead to nothing good in Seattle.

  40. Where now is all the fun, all the glory to be had … Now that the Al Capone days are gone? Lame. The world is not any better. Perhaps drug use is necessary for you now to cope with the fact that you sapped the life excitement out of life. It's kind of ironic really.

  41. Our choice always have an effect on others people .when you smoke your marijuana drug , I might be around inhaling .you have just stolen my freedom !

  42. Our choice always have an effect on others people .but when you smoke your marijuana drug , I might be around inhaling .you have just stolen my freedom !

  43. The USA is NOT a "free society" and it hasn't been for a long time now. We live in a highly repressive totalitarian state that wantonly violates our rights and the people cry out for more repression! I have absolutely no hope for a better future and I certainly have no faith in my fellow human beings. I just detest being controlled and, unfortunately, that is the game that we are discussing: Control, control, control.

  44. Marijuana saves and enhances quality of life… Crack, heroin, meth, crocodil, Flocka… All man made garbage by garbage raised men… But I'm the hypocrite for wanting life savers legal and life takers illegal and a degenerate for smoking weed to kill everyday common life pains and aches instead of drinking until my liver fails… Smh

  45. Legalize all drugs. Free up prison space and law enforcement manpower for really violent, dangerous criminals. Added benefit: Darwinism on steroids.

  46. that man is absolutely correct and i to could give a rats ass about addicts.. people will get what they want, let em.

  47. 2019 and I admire Milton Friedman. I don´t use drugs, but it is a true: nobody has the right over someone else body.

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