"It's a moral problem that the government is making into criminals people, who may be doing something you and I don't approve of, but who are doing something that hurts nobody else. Most of the arrests for drugs are for possession by casual users. Now here's somebody who wants to smoke a marijuana cigarette. If he's caught, he goes to jail. Now is that moral? Is that proper? I think it's absolutely disgraceful that our government, supposed to be our government, should be in the position of converting people who are not harming others into criminals, of destroying their lives, putting them in jail. That's the issue to me. The economic issue comes in only for explaining why it has those effects. But the economic reasons are not the reasons."
Milton Friedman
(1912-2006) Nobel Prize-winning economist, economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan, "ultimate guru of the free-market system"
America's Drug Forum interview (1991)"America's Drug Forum" (1991)
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Reader comments about this quote:
Friedman is right on target again.
 -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    The government uses the excuse of expensive programs to care for folks who have used or overdosed on drugs to continue the drug war. Just junk all those federal programs and leave people alone.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    It would take volumes of encyclopedia to do this quot justice - ABSOLUTELY !
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Just as Prohibition created huge profits for the Mafia and endangered the lives of many innocent people caught in the cross-fire - the same can be said for the so-called "War On Drugs" and its instrumentation of the Drug Cartels. In every country where they have de-criminalized drugs the drug crimes have been obliterated and the youth have all but lost their interest in drug experimentation.
     -- Mary MI     
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