Whenever someone gets sent to jail for selling drugs I am usually sympathetic towards the individual. Yes I believe drugs should not be criminalized but the main reason I have sympathy for drug dealers is the economic attractiveness of drugs.
Currently in the United State the Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25 an hour. Considering that an average American work week is about 40 hours someone on minimum wage makes $290 a week.Actually the person will make a little less that $290 a week because some money will go to taxes.
Minimum wage jobs prey on people with limited education as minimum wage jobs are low skilled jobs. Now let's present a different scenario to making money. Let's say our hypothetical person graduated high school but did not graduate from a university, so all their job opportunities are limited mostly to minimum wage jobs. Perhaps they have rent to pay, a family to feed, or car bills to pay. I can only imagine how difficult it is to make ends meet making minimum wage. Now let's look at drug dealing and see how that compares to a minimum wage job. Instead of $7.25 an hour they can make upwards of hundreds of dollars an hour on one deal alone. Instead of $290 a week they can make over $15,000 a week and unlike minimum wage jobs none of that money will be taxed. Which one is more attractive to you?
The saddest part about this whole scenario is that is a cycle. Say someone is in jail for 5 years for dealing drugs when they get out they are a convict and must disclose that information when applying for a job. Employers are going to be hesitant to hire anyone who is a convict. So once again the person is in the same predicament as to whether to struggle on minimum wage or to live comfortably back in the drug game with the threat of prison time again. It is a modern day "Catch 22" that seems to be all too common in America.
This is why the issue of drug prohibition is as much an economic issue as it is an issue of public safety. If drugs were made legal or were decriminalized then the prices for drugs would most likely go down. If that happened then dealing drugs would not be such a lucrative and attractive way to make money. It is the prohibition of drugs that leads to an increase in drug costs. People need to remember just how difficult life is on minimum wage and why someone would sell drugs, when discussing prohibition. It's time we end this Catch 22 by repealing our drug laws here in America.