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How Legalizing Drugs Would Strengthen Democracy From Afghanistan to Mexico

Corrupt Afghan officials would lose a source of income and Latin American violence and corruption would decrease.

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As with alcohol, we need to be honest with ourselves about the costs and benefits of our social policies and recognize that not all problems have comprehensive or entirely satisfactory solutions. We can only do our best to make decisions that take into consideration all of the costs and benefits of our choices and not pretend that moral crusades are costless. We need to address honestly the morality of foisting upon other countries the violence, corruption, and damage to democracy caused by U.S. drug policies and driven by U.S. demand.  

Legalization is the only solution to the problem of Afghan and Latin American violence and corruption—and the less obvious but more insidious problems of poverty, over-incarceration, and the misallocation of public resources within the United States. Only legalization can change the worldwide nexus of drugs and criminality.

Foreign Policy In Focus contributor Inge Fryklund was a Chicago prosecutor during the 1980s. From 2004 to 2012, she spent more than four years in Afghanistan.

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