The reality is that people will steal, rape and murder too - should we decriminalise those offences?
Stan, the fundamental tenet of Libertarianism is that you own your own body and the fruits of your labour. Any damage that anyone else does to you is a matter for the law. Theft, rape and murder involve someone else damaging you or your property and are therefore the worst of crimes in my view of the world.
However, taking drugs is something you do to yourself. You may not agree with it, and I certainly do not agree with it either, but it is your decision to do it to yourself.
If we did legalise drug use how would that help? Addicts would still need their fix and the nature of the addiction means they will steal to fund it. Taxing a product will not make it cheaper so the likelihood is that the costs will be higher not lower. We're not Portugal - they have different attitudes to legal drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes and, consequently, fewer problems than we do. There is no evidence to suggest that a change in our policy will improve things, although there is evidence to suggest that it will make things worse - the downgrading of cannabis and the subsequent explosion in mental health issues caused by cannabis demonstrates that.
If you make drugs available on prescription for people who are addicted and cannot afford to buy them, then you immediately remove the need to steal and you also reduce the health risks by making it possible for them to get clean paraphernalia.
By making recreational drugs of a suitable standard available from pharmacies, you could easily tax them.
I'm no expert on cannabis and mental health issues, I'm not sure whether there is correlation or causation there. I certainly don't remember any particular "explosion" of mental health issues.
But the issue for me is this: I don't condone drug use, I don't use "drugs" but I don't see that it's right for me to force my morality on other people. It looks to me that a lot of justice system resources are wasted on something which is not, to a libertarian, a crime.
Just as we're not Portugal, we're not Singapore either, but their approach to illegal drugs suggests there is more to be gained if the focus was on demand rather than supply but that would mean prosecuting and jailing vast swathes of the entertainment and media industries.
But as a libertarian, I cannot support that. Drug users harm themselves. Most of the knock-on effects on families stem from the criminality of taking drugs. And while the occasional drug-addled loon may kill his family or whatever, you can equally point to booze-addled loons killing their families or whatever. Or even totally tee-total loons.
The externalities of drug taking could be paid for by taxing recreational users.
Finally, before anyone says that their drug use "doesn't harm anyone" - you're wrong. People, including children, die every day to bring you your illegal drug of choice. Would that improve if you legalised it? Maybe, but seeing how people, including kids, die every day to bring us legal cheap goods from the third world I doubt it.
Drug use definitely harms the user. Well, that's my opinion, anyway.
I don't know if people would have to die to bring other people the LEGAL drug of their choice, though. I'm fairly certain that making drugs legal would reduce the likelihood of someone dying for being involved in the trade.
And no-one is holding a gun to the head of those people involved in bringing us cheap goods from the third world. Those people are doing those awful jobs and facing those terrible risks for a pittance because it's much, much better than the alternatives they have.