It is clear that the so-called War on Drugs is a failed and futile policy that is needlessly wasting billions upon billions of dollars while ruining countless lives. Despite declaring the War on Drugs during the Nixon administration, drugs are still widely available and organized crime organizations are reaping huge profits, just as Al Capone was enriched during alcohol prohibition. For instance, Mexican drug cartels are not only waging violence and destabilizing parts of Mexico, their influence has spread into everyday communities in the United States.
While the term Drug War is used, there really isn’t a war because of drugs. War is no longer waged over alcohol, as alcohol is licensed and regulated by the government, allowing businesses to prosper and society to utilize the revenue generated. The war ravaging Mexico and other countries continues because of prohibition, thus the War on Drugs should really be called the Prohibition War.
Our current drug policy is one of punishment and mass incarceration. This mass incarceration has created powerful special interests with a financial stake in perpetuating failed and costly policies. Instead of looking at drug use as a law enforcement issue, we need to change tactics and look at it from a health perspective. Instead of jailing people and wasting money on prisons, society would be better off investing money on treatment and education. while concentrating law enforcement resources on serious crimes.
Unfortunately, the current drug policies of the United States have disenfranchised millions. Low-income citizens find it hard to become productive members of society when their drug felonies prevent them from gainful employment or even the right to cast a vote. Some analysts have even called the Drug War the new Jim Crow, as African American males are just as likely to end up ensnared in the prison system as they are to attend college.
The Drug War only provides prohibition profits for criminals and rich special interests. The War on Drugs is really a war on ordinary citizens and it is time to end that war.
For additional news on the drug war, here is some recommended reading:
- Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
- Students for a Sensible Drug Policy
- Drug Policy Alliance
- Marijuana Majority
- The Weed Blog
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on drug sentencing and penalties
- Drug War Chronicle
- End the Drug War, Save Black America by John Stossel at Reason
- Drug Policy as Race Policy: Best Seller Galvanizes the Debate in the New York Times
- Incarceration Nation by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria
This is a very disturbing video of a SWAT raid in Columbia, Missouri. Getting a faulty tip from an informant, the Columbia Police Department mistakenly thought that they were raiding a major marijuana provider. Instead, they found less than a gram of marijuana and a pipe. Since marijuana is decriminalized in Columbia, the victim of the raid was fined merely $250. Unfortunately, raids such as this are very common and literally happen ever day in the United States because of the so-called War on Drugs, a war that enriches cartels but endangers the lives of non-violent, ordinary citizens.