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More and more, law enforcement officials are coming around to the conclusion that the only way to reduce the crime rate in America is to make everything legal. Moves in various parts of the country to decriminalize marijuana are illustrative of this approach. If adopted nationwide, proponents claim, decriminalization would produce a dramatic decline in the number of arrests for illegal pot possession.


There is also talk of employing the legalization technique to stamp out violations of laws against pornography, prostitution, gambling and assorted other vices. One of the leading advocates of decriminalization is an organization called Less Lawlessness Through Less Law (LLLL).


“Hiring more policemen, imposing curfews, building new prisons, enlarging the judiciary—these measures only treat the symptoms of the crime wave,” Bargood Fie, a LLLL spokesman, told me. “If we’re ever going to have a genuine improvement in the situation we’ve got to attack the root cause of crime—the laws.”

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