Legalization, Decriminalization, and Police Priorities
"Some experts propose easing certain laws to allow the government to concentrate its limited resources on the most pressing criminal activities. For example, some advocate decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Others, concerned that the government may be overwhelmed, have proposed legalizing some counterfeit products and easing certain piracy restrictions. Intellectual property-related legal changes would probably require contentious negotiations with affected U.S. industries. Approaches such as these can be controversial and politically difficult; critics believe they risk sending society an inappropriate message. But some argue that similar strategies are already employed. The United States, for example, has taken steps to regularize the status of certain illegal immigrants. Many foreign countries have reduced legal penalties for marijuana possession. Some experts propose more funding for studies on various policies’ economic and social effects."
Wagley, John R., "Transnational Organized Crime: Principal Threats and U.S. Responses," Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, March 20, 2006), p. CRS 14.