The commercial vices are gambling, prostitution, and drugs. The appeals of the commercial vices are so strong and widespread that attempts to prohibit them in western countries have always failed. The evils of these vices are threefold: Those who practice them suffer, the criminals who sell them prosper, and the enforcement organizations are expensive, unsuccessful, and often corrupt. Two commercial vices have been accepted as unstoppable, but there evils have been minimized by legalization and regulation.
These are the particular drug, alcohol, and gambling. Ethyl alcohol, the drug in beer, whiskey, and wine does more harm is causing accidents, overdose deaths, job failures, broken homes, and violence than all other drugs combined. The United States attempted to prohibit alcohol and failed. The Mafia made its money by bootlegging alcohol. The gangsters of the twenties and thiries were in the alcohol business just as the drug peddlers of today are in the drug business. Both settled trade disputes with gun fire.
When lcohol prohibition was repealed and sale by licensed dealers was instituted, the Mafia went out of the liquor business and the revenue agents assigned to stop the illegal business went out of business too. The quality of regulated liquor became assured and taxed, not high enough to motivate bootlegging, became a source of public revenue. Consumption of legal alcohol became only slightly greater than the consumption of illegal alcohol had been. If we follow the alcohol example with all other drugs, the benefits will obtain.
Much more than that, the temptation of the forbidden fruits will disappear. The jailing of petty drug pushers will stop, together with their training as future serious criminals in the crime schools which are jails. If we transfer the huge sums wasted on efforts and on punishment to serious education and rehabilitation programs, the drug problem will retreat to the trivial level it was fifty years ago. At one time all but private gambling at home was illegal. So the Mafia ran the numbers rackets and secret games and the bookmaking where law biding citizens did their unstoppable gambling.
Now governments run lotteries and license and supervise casinos so the gangsters are largely out, cheating in minimal, and governments earn revenue instead of paying police. Prostitution is an even more emotional problem. Addiction to sex is genetic, permanent, and deprivation has many more penalties. Prostitution is the worlds oldest profession. Here, again, legalization and regulation in Nevada was already eliminated the pimps and gangsters and reduce the police force.
With medical examinations and licensing of the practitioners, there will be a radical reduction in the spread of venerel diseases, including aids. For those already diseased there can be a matching of buyer and seller by coding there license cards. In conclusion, the government will take any law they can’t enforce and turn it around in order to make and save money. But they are also making less jobs for the police and other law enforcement agencies. I believe that in the end this way of doing things will more than likely hurt us overall.