"Legalize it," reggae pioneer Peter Tosh sang back in the day, "and I will advertise it." The musical "it" in question was marijuana. But now, with medical marijuana leagl in 18 states and Washington, D.C., and recreational cannabis use legal in Washington state and Colorado, some people are taking that thought to its extreme: Why don't we just legalize all drugs?

Economist Allison Schrager is examining that argument over at Quartz.com from a variety of angles.

Of course, blanket legalization would have a huge financial impact. The U.S. spends more than $40 billion annually on its war on drugs, but Schrager notes that figure doesn't include the additional economic burdens of keeping people in prison, drug-related violence and the cycle of poverty that drug use can help perpetuate.

On the other hand, she says, "prohibition does decrease drug use. The World Bank estimates cocaine use would double if it became legal in America." Another concern is that legalizing drugs would spark a international public health crisis.

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Article courtesy of msn.com

Photo courtesy of Flickr: username: Lucio Saverio Eastman