I remember the arguments for a public lottery. It was partly about raising some money for the government, but much of it was, 'There are a lot of people who like to play the numbers. Why should we give their money to the criminals? We might just as well put that money toward the schools.'
And then what do we get? We get state governments hiring really good ad agencies to try to produce compulsive gamblers. One of my favorites was for the Massachusetts Lottery Commission. You hear this sort of creepy voice saying, 'Think of a number between one and five.' It turns out that about 70% of the population, if asked to pick a number between one and five, will pick three. Then you get a three bleeding onto the screen in psychedelic colors, and the voice says, 'If you picked three you may have ESP. Have you played your number today?'
If we legalize marijuana, or any other drug, either we will have a private industry whose profits depend on creating and maintaining addicts, or we will have a public beauracracy whose revenues depend on creating and maintaining addicts. Somebody's going to get a revenue stream from selling licit drugs, and whoever gets that revenue stream is going to try and maximize it."