Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time For Alternative Policy To America's Failed War On Drugs

From The New York review of Books, "An End to the War on Drugs?" by Alma Guillermoprieto:
Despite billions of enforcement dollars spent by Washington, the overall amount of drugs being trafficked worldwide has remained more or less constant over the last forty years. Profits are higher. Many more countries are involved in the trade than even ten years ago, including, most worryingly, several of the most vulnerable African states. The trade’s ability to insinuate itself into every branch of government in drug-afflicted countries continues apace. Candidates to every elected post in Mexico, to name just one critically important country, are ruthlessly wooed by traffickers offering financing. Trafficking organizations not only grow and increase their connections to global mafias and terrorist networks, they have branched out into ever more sordid sidelines, including human trafficking. It’s a sorry record.
In Colombia, for example, after all the years of bloodshed and devastation, cocaine production and export have gone down so slightly as to make no difference, and it would seem that Peru is now taking up the slack. Again.
Suggested alternatives range from an acknowledgment that marijuana is already all but legal in the United States and much of the rest of the world, and should be officially so (it is generally estimated to be the largest moneymaker for the illegal trade), to a sort of universal legalization of drugs that would ban advertising, restrict distribution to government outlets, and tax the profits heavily.

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