Imagine you have very limited or no legal employment opportunities. Or perhaps you have some opportunities, but they pay poorly.
Dealing drugs may be a semi-rational choice then. American jails are famously nasty, but if you can avoid prolonged incarceration and drug trade violence you can earn money.
If we end the failed war on drugs though, those income opportunities vanish. Walmart and Philip Morris take the profits, and distribution becomes another high-competition minimum wage option.
Ending the war on drugs, without providing an answer to mass disability, may have unintended consequences.
We might do better to keep drugs illegal, but reform prisons -- turn them into enhanced skills development programs.