Now that the former drug warrior Joe Biden is pardoning weed smokers, he needs to consider legalizing cocaine, too, says The Economist. It admits that if cocaine was legal, "more people would take it. But the benefits of lifting drug prohibition are well worth the individual and societal harms that legal coke would unleash.
Legal cocaine would be less dangerous, since legitimate producers would not adulterate it with other white powders and dosage would be clearly labelled, as it is on whisky bottles. Cocaine-related deaths have risen fivefold in America since 2010, mostly because gangs are cutting it with fentanyl, a cheaper and more lethal drug.
Legalisation would defang the gangs. Obviously, some would find other revenues but the loss of cocaine profits would help curb their power to recruit, buy top-end weapons and corrupt officials. This would reduce drug-related violence everywhere, but most of all in the worst-affected region, Latin America.
I doubt cocaine will be legalized in the United States soon because too many powerful interests benefit from prohibition. Corrupt government officials, the CIA, and the DEA, rely on prohibition to fund their dark projects and keep their offshore bank accounts fat. Law enforcement also likes prohibition because it keeps them employed and allows them to seize assets and property from citizens, often people of color, without due process. The prison industry also loves prohibition because it keeps its prisons full and their profits soaring. Pharmaceutical companies and alcohol and tobacco industries are also against the legalization of cocaine because it would cut into their profits. And, of course, the cartels don't want cocaine to be legalized because it would put them out of business. Most of all, politicians love prohibition because it allows them to look like they are "tough on crime" and "keeping us safe" even though they are really just lining their pockets with dirty money.