The Link Between Terrorism and Drug Dealing

Mark Kleiman has just published a new report on drug dealing, drug control, and terrorism. He says one thing his report did not address is:

whether the links between drugs and terror constitute a sufficient reason for making cocaine a licit commodity on more or less the same terms as alcohol.

Here's a portion of what his answer would be:

There is no doubt that cocaine dealing contributes to terrorism in Colombia, and that it does so only because it is illicit. Whatever contribution cocaine dealing makes to the terrorist threat domestically is similarly tied to its illicit status. Therefore, if terrorism were the only thing we cared about, we probably ought to legalize cocaine.

He adds that, because of the drug's severe abuse potential, the world might be worse-off if it were legalized,

But if a convincing case were made that cocaine trafficking was, or could become, a significant source of funding to terrorist groups threatening the United States, that judgment might have to be revised.

Whether it takes legalization or decriminalization, we'd sure like to see our clients be offered treatment instead of a felony conviction.

Update: Pete at Drug War Rant takes serious issue with Mark's contention that we would be worse off if we legalized cocaine.

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