Mad Money's Senior Writer: America Needs a 'Nice Toke'

Is America in need of a little Mary-J? Not Blige … marijuana.Mad Money's senior writer Cliff Mason (Jim Cramer's nephew) thinks so. Here's what he wrote on Jan. 15, 2009:

"This may be apocryphal, but when FDR was running for President for the first time in 1932, he said something along the lines of "What America needs now is a good, stiff drink.

Then he won and went on to help end prohibition.

Well, now we've got a new Democratic President coming into office, we're in similarly dire economic straits, and maybe what America needs is a nice toke?"

There was no maybe about it, according to Mason who declared that "It's time to legalize, or at least decriminalize, drugs."Mason used the familiar argument that decriminalization of drugs would be profitable - read: taxable - and would "keep people from shooting each other." He omitted any reference to the morality of legalization or societal harm that could result.According to The Heritage Foundation, even legalizing "all drugs" would not stop "drug violence." Charles Stimson, a Heritage senior legal fellow and former prosecutor, wrote that if prices drop and are taxed as a result of drug legalization then "a gray market will inevitably be created, and along with it will come violence.""There are myriad examples of gray markets for legal products where, not surprisingly, violence is necessary to secure financial gain. The criminal cartels of Eastern Europe built their fortunes on, among other things, the cigarette trade. Cigarettes are legal. Move a bit north (Russia), and there's a thriving criminal trade in luxury automobiles. Cars are legal. Terrorist groups in the Middle East pocket money from selling bootleg DVDs. DVDs are legal," wrote Stimson. "These products are all taxed and regulated, yet there's a violent and vibrant gray market for them. Criminals always find ways to make money to finance their enterprises. They will do exactly the same thing with "legalized" drugs."

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.