Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
I read with interest your editorial regarding the legalization of recreational drugs as this happens to be a viewpoint that I have held for years.
However, the thinking goes a little further than just the legalization and tax collection.
One of the more basic problems with drug use is it alters the perception of the world in real time. This makes common tasks difficult and sometimes impossible. Driving a motor vehicle is a case in point, but includes other areas also such as heavy equipment usage and other activities that are safe, with training, and while in control of all of ones faculties. Some of the users do not have anything resembling self control, and will attempt to perform work that is ordinarily safe but difficult to impossible when under the influence.
The tax administration is an obvious benefit to governments, and has been discussed ad infinitum, and needs no further discussion here.
But, if these substances were controlled by the state, whichever one, and administered properly, these people could be identified and kept out of jobs that affect the general public, such as bus driver, airline pilot, the list is almost endless. This benefit alone is enough to warrant serious consideration to a proposal of this kind.
Also, the price could be kept low enough to take the smugglers and traffickers right out of the business. Nearly every day we read of extremely violent acts in Mexico, as this is the portal to the biggest retail drug market in the world.
Of course there would still be a population who take their drug usage seriously, leaving them unable to perform any useful societal function, and effectively leaving them unemployed and unemployable. From that would come the remaining hard core small-time criminals, the strong arm, back alley types. Still, with modern computer techniques, these people could be identified.
I see a lot of benefits to legalizing these substances, and little downside.
For myself, I tried these drugs many years ago, and I found nothing that could replace a few beers to relax after a trying, or even a leisurely day.