How America Lost the War on Drugs

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Tue, 04 Dec 2007 14:01:57 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

Ben Wallace-Wells at Rolling Stone - $50 billion a year, over $500 billion total spent, and drugs keep getting cheaper and more plentiful. So, if you think of the war on some drugs as an effort to eliminate drug use, it has failed, miserably. But for the recipients of that $50 billion a year, the sheriff's departments that are kept afloat on asset forfeiture lucre, and the non-government criminal enterprises whose nearly worthless product is a jackpot, because and only because it's illegal, the war on some drugs continues to be a major win.

I was reminded last night of my 2001 essay, The Lie of Cannabis Prohibition. Still spot on after all these years. Probably my best essay ever. Another big winner in the battle against the war on some drugs is Peter McWilliams' Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do. Check it out.

Even by conservative estimates, the War on Drugs now costs the United States $50 billion each year and has overcrowded prisons to the breaking point - all with little discernible impact on the drug trade. A report by the Government Accountability Office released at the end of September estimated that ninety percent of the cocaine moving into the United States now arrives through Mexico, up from sixty-six percent in 2000. Even Walters acknowledges that for all of the efforts the Bush administration has devoted to overseas drug enforcement, the price of cocaine has dropped while its purity has risen. More than forty percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, yet the government continues to target pot smokers. In October, the administration announced it was planning a new military offensive, dubbed Plan Mexico, with a price tag of $1.4 billion. Things look so bleak that Walters was recently moved to describe a momentary upward blip in drug prices as "historic progress."

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