Many of he same medical problems remain, Uncas, as is the case with Alcohol. But now they can be more readily addressed with regulation. For example, you can inspect the stills and be sure that the coils are not made out of lead, as they were on occasion during prohibition. You can force testing for methyl alcohol content in alcohol distilled for human consumption. You can force testing for purity so that fusel oil and other impurities don't creep in, and you can make sure the various additives are reasonably benign. Used to be that urea was an additive in beer, for example, and for all I know it may still be in some brands, a hold-over from a process that used to be called "lanting." If you really want to know about that one, you should look it up, but only long after a meal.
While the Alcohol was illegal, that sort of thing was not an option, was it?
Those who will make a profit from the drugs will naturally fight any attempt to regulate their monopoly at all, and will seek to re-establish it on terms as advantageous to them as possible in its legal form. Why would they be any different from manufacturers of other legal drugs in that regard? These folks already try to keep the cost of drugs prohibitively high, like the dealers in illegal drugs, and many of them show a fairly brutal disregard of who may die if they can't afford the prices. Their self interest seems fully as callous as the various cartels, and one may only speculate what the cost in lives may be. The deaths may be a bit more sanitary looking, mind you, but they may also be somewhat more protracted and painful as well.
Yes, sure, you can hear the drug companies say, we have medical miracles available. You can have them as long as you can pay for them, just like any other junkie. "You can't afford our miracles, go put the squeeze on your family. Go rob a bank for all we care."
But as long as the process is legal, the public has some possibility of making inroads into this monopoly structure. People aren't forced to go out and rob their neighbors for a dose of antibiotics, though given the Republican notions about health care, it seems that there may be a large segment of the American public that would rather have things run that way.
Your argument seems slightly flawed in that respect, you say that the problems associated with the drug trade - kidnappings, murders etc. - are greater than the problems associated with drug use itself and offer marijuana as an example. That's a little like arguing that all prisoners should be released because tax dodgers aren't really that dangerous to other members of society.
I don't see your analogy here. That doesn't mean you're wrong; it means I don't see it and understand it, and I'd like you to take a shot at explaining it to me in some more detail before I take a chance on replying to something you may not actually have said.
The number of marijuana users out there seems pretty high. I don't know if it would shoot up to huge numbers or not if marijuana was legalized, but on the whole they don't seem to be a terrible bunch of folks.
As for the other drugs, you might consider what percentage of the societal ill effects come from the drug itself and what percentage come from the lifestyle they are forced to adopt by the prohibition against the drugs.
If people cannot care for their children, they should lose their children. If they cannot hold their jobs, they should lose their jobs. This has happened to alcoholics for years, just as it's happened to junkies. But you don't have to pay several hundred dollars a day to be an alcoholic, and that means that we aren't surrounded by drunks who are forced to commit crimes to keep from going into withdrawal.
Getting addicted to booze can take a long time, though it can happen fairly quickly to somebody with the wrong genetic package. Getting hooked on crack cocaine can happen in as little as a single experience.
There's a lot more to be said, of course, but I need to understand what Uncas is saying more clearly, first.