Well, according to a global commission announcement this month we have officially lost the War on Drugs.
“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.”
That is the first paragraph in a 24 page report they released just yesterday. Now here’s where it gets interesting. Those fundamental reforms they’re suggesting? Legalize drugs.
“Our principles and recommendations can be summarized as follows: 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.”
The report then breaks these and other things down and suggests that we treat people who are in the lower levels of the drug trade as patients as opposed to criminals. They later listed different recommendations for how to implement new policies and I have to say, a lot of it made sense.
However (duh, you knew that was coming)…
They suggest that we put more effort into persuading kids to not do drugs, but ahem, we should have already been doing that. And they also suggest that we offer a wide variety of treatment options and facilities, but once again, we should have already been doing that. Many of these suggestions should be taken into account whether drugs are legal or not, I would think.
However, I’m hard pressed to believe that the United States is going to jump right on this band wagon. In fact, I’m sure in most countries it is going to take a long, long time before any of this is seriously considered. I bet for much of our country and others, it’s going to be hard for people to wrap their mind around something that was once a war becoming a party.
Of course, many a drug user is going to look at this as a victory (especially the hippies and college kids), and although I’ve often wondered about the effectiveness of charging a kid with a dime bag of weed, something about this whole ‘we lost so let’s do the complete opposite’ theory bothers me. We can’t stop the drug trade so we’ll just make the drugs okay?
It’s kind of like saying “Well, we lost the War on Terror so… terror for everyone!”