US News & World Report: ‘Is It Time To Scale Back The War On Drugs?’

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 10, 2012

    The editors at US News & World Report are asking the question, ‘Is it time to scale back the war on drugs?’ They’ve assembled a round-table of participants to respond.

    Arguing in favor politics as usual are Kevin Sabet, former Senior Policy Adviser to President Obama’s Drug Czar and David Evans, Special Adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation. Predictably, neither author’s platitudes are resonating with US News readers. (Both Evans and Sabet have only 15 ‘up’ votes combined, versus some 650 ‘down’ votes.)

    Myself, Aaron Houston (Executive Director: Students for Sensible Drug Policy), and Neill Franklin (Executive Director: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) take the opposite approach — and are much better received.

    You can read an excerpt from my commentary below:

    “It’s time for politicians to call for a truce in the so-called war on drugs. According to a 2010 investigation by the Associated Press, lawmakers have spent over $1 trillion dollars enforcing the drug war. Their actions have resulted in a quadrupling of the U.S. prison population since 1980, but little else. In fact, according to America’s present drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, “in the grand scheme, [the drug war] has not been successful.”

    Least successful among the government’s drug war policies is its long-standing criminalization of marijuana. Since 1970, over 21 million U.S. citizens have been cited or arrested for violating marijuana laws. Yet despite this vigorous criminal enforcement, over 100 million Americans—including the president—acknowledge having consumed cannabis, and 1 in 10 admits using it regularly. Marijuana prohibition hasn’t dissuaded the general public from consuming cannabis or reduced its availability, especially among young people. But it has damaged the lives and careers of millions of people who were arrested and sanctioned for choosing to ingest a substance that is safer than alcohol or tobacco.

    … Despite more than 70 years of federal prohibition, marijuana is here to stay. Let’s acknowledge this reality, cease ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises, and put it in the hands of licensed businesses.”

    Click here to read all of the round-table submissions and to cast your vote.

    35 Responses to “US News & World Report: ‘Is It Time To Scale Back The War On Drugs?’”

    1. Annamarie says:

      Also, Georgia’s idea of pain management is to give me Lortab 10 for my pain. Let’s just get me addicted to legal narcotics, that I cannot function on and make me sleep non-stop. Give me a solution. I would love one.

    2. Annamarie says:

      I am a 50 year old mother of 6 asnd grandmother of 9. I am also a cancer survivor that lives in Georgia, God help me, of all places. I have been smoking pot since I was 16 years old DAILY decided I wanted to further my education. I enrolled in the local community college, burning one before go to school and carried a 4.0 without losing any sleep. My advisor convinced me to attend a 4 year university, for which I wrote an essay and applied, and I was accepted. I carried 6 classes on my full-time school schedule and burned a big fatty everyday before attending class. I still maintained a 4.0 in school. I’m still waiting for the brain damage the alcoholic legislators claim it causes like alcohol and the short/long term memory loss you are supposed to experience. The government officials are idiots and ARE AFRAID to allow us to legalize pot, and GEORGIA IS ONE OF THE WORST STATES FOR PENALTIES. I remember when the District Attorney’s wife of the Drug Task Force in the Georgia Mountains was busted with a bag of pot. The DA and police weighed and reweighed her bag until it was under 28 grams, then just gave her a fine. EQUAL IN THE EYES OF THE LAW; NOT IN GEORGIA. Look it up, because these are all true stories. DTF busted her 5 years ago.

    3. April Johnson says:

      I also find it very saddening that people who need cannabis in order to stay pain free risk arrest. If they recieve any comfort from cancer through this method, why not allow them to indulge. Some of these people are in the last stage(s) of their lives, it is truly heartwrenching and sick. The simple fact that the president smoked cannabis, but yet refuses to acknowledge that it doesn’t cause you to be crazy or lazy is truly appauling. Our government is so freaking hypocritical,no wonder they are called liars. We as Americans have the power to change these laws, and whether the politicians want it or not, we can make a change. Write to Congress or the House of Representatives in your state and voice your opinion. Let them know where you stand on this issue, this new change is within reach….. To all you presciption drug companies out there, you are killin hundreds of thousands Americans every year with your poison. You are the biggest pusher that I know of!!!!!

    4. April Johnson says:

      Please tell me what sense it makes to arrest someone for smoking cannabis especially whenever that person is a responsible, tax-paying citizen. Due to my recent cannabis arrest, I lost my job of five years, now on unemployment, had to pay attorney fees of $3000, had to enter drug court at a cost of $2500! Can’t work at this time due to 12 hours a week in drug classes, and I go to school full-time! If they belive that this punishment fits my crime then people are crazy. It is time for all of us to pull together and decriminilize the use and possession of cannabis. Smoking cannabis never stopped me from getting up and going to work or making straight A’s in college. The people who don’t want to see this change are already making money off of cannabis being illegal, I guarantee that the day they legalize and begin collecting taxes on cannabis, the cartels will be straight out of business. I also guarantee that these lazy police officers will have to do real police work and stop depending on informants to do it for them! You really want to see the national deficiet decrease, legalize cannabis and there you go!

    5. chris says:

      The war on drugs is a conspiracy.Hard street drug prices dropping like crazy is proof!

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