Watch: Cerebral debate on the merits of drug legalization
Supporters of drug legalization on Wednesday faced their opponents in a thoughtful debate hosted by Intelligence Squared.
Nick Gillespie, the editor in chief of the libertarian Reason magazine and Professor Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor, argued in favor of legalizing marijuana and other recreational drugs. Asa Hutchinson, former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Theodore Dalrymple, a writer and retired prison doctor, argued against the motion. The debate was moderated by John Donvan.
The issue has gained national attention in recent weeks thanks to Colorado and Washington state, which will both be implementing laws to allow for the limited recreational use of marijuana.
1. I watched this yesterday and thought neither side did very well ...
Professor Butler's argument for legalization was the best, but will not sway many people I'm afraid. Mr. Gillespie advocated from a libertarian point of view and ended up caught in his own trap, advocating for more government.
Mr. Hutchinson simply made my skin crawl, suggesting that some small improvement in sentence disparities for crimes like cocaine use vs crack cocaine use is a ready formula for solving all our problems with the unevenly applied laws. Mr. Darymple offered nothing memorable.
I would suggest a better case for legalization is the enormous financial and societal costs as a result not of drug use and abuse, but as a result of the illegality of such use. The cure is much worse than the disease.