Why the Tea Party must support legalizing drugs
Tea Party conservatives are opposed to unnecessary government spending, abuse of the Constitution and restriction of free markets, says Jeffrey A. Miron at NPR. Then it must follow that they support legalizing drugs. So far, in a political climate characterized by economic discontent, the Tea Party movement has managed to "sidestep the divisions" between its libertarian and conservative wings. But drug policy will force it to come down on one side:
"As the elections near, however, voters will want to know where the party stands not just on the economy but on social issues. A perfect illustration is drug policy, where conservatives advocate continued prohibition but libertarians argue for legalization. Which way should the tea party lean when this issue arises? If the party is true to its principles — fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets — it must side with the libertarians.
"...Drug prohibition is not remotely consistent with fiscal responsibility. This policy costs the public purse around $70 billion per year, according to my estimates, yet no evidence suggests that prohibition reduces drug use to a significant degree."