The Global Commission on Drug Policy has released a landmark report announcing that the War on Drugs is over. Drugs won. Or rather, the so-called war is a failure. The criminalization of addiction is cruel and stupid. Legalization and regulation of some drugs, particularly marijuana, would defang criminal enterprises the way a legal crackdown could never hope to.
The commission heavily emphasized treatment of non-violent drug users rather than incarceration. Basically, treat drugs as a health care issue rather than a law enforcement crusade.
We could save a ton of money, bleed out the brutal drug trade, empty some prisons, prevent overdoses, and help some sick people. But we should probably ignore the recommendations, however, because the commission is made up of a bunch of hippies, including former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and some other no-name pinkos.
Here are some of their nutty ideas:
The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and
40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.
Vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs have clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption. Apparent victories in eliminating one source or trafficking organization are negated almost instantly by the emergence of other sources and traffickers. Repressive efforts directed at consumers impede public health measures to reduce HIV/AIDS, overdose fatalities and other harmful consequences of drug use. Government expenditures on futile supply reduction strategies and incarceration displace more cost-effective and evidence-based investments in demand and harm reduction.
End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others. Challenge rather than reinforce common misconceptions about drug markets, drug use and drug dependence.
Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens. This recommendation applies especially to cannabis, but we also encourage other experiments in decriminalization and legal regulation that can accomplish these objectives and provide models for others.
Begin the transformation of the global drug prohibition regime. Replace drug policies and strategies driven by ideology and political convenience with fiscally responsible policies and strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights – and adopt appropriate criteria for their evaluation. Review the scheduling of drugs that has resulted in obvious anomalies like the flawed categorization of cannabis, coca leaf and MDMA. Ensure that the international conventions are interpreted and/or revised to accommodate robust experimentation with harm reduction, decriminalization and legal regulatory policies.
Break the taboo on debate and reform. The time for action is now.