On June 26, over 100 cities in at least 46 countries will speak out against the war on drugs.
It is difficult to overstate how much of a failure the War on Drugs has been. By any reasonable standard it has done much more harm than good. Drug trafficking-related violence has soared, our prisons are stuffed with drug offenders (many of them non-violent), with minorities disproportionately represented. It is a costly, global economic disaster with economic gains from cannabis and other drugs restricted to the black market. Scientists are kept from studying cannabis, a plant that has proven to ease the suffering of countless medical patients—and those patients are forced break federal law if they want to obtain their medicine. Even by the drug war’s own misguided metrics, the project has failed. The US alone has invested $51 billion annually but drug use and availability have not decreased. Drug potency has steeply risen over the last several decades and the public is not safer for the drug war’s efforts.
Other countries, while not spending this absurd amount, have seen similar self-inflicted harm from their repressive drug policies. Criminalization has not done anything to stem the demand for mind-altering substances. Rather, it has created an ecosystem that fosters gang activity on a neighborhood level, and violent, politically connected cartels on a countrywide scale.
The final, and in a way, most tragic piece of this picture is that the drug war’s failures are common knowledge, yet politicians in the U.S. and worldwide (with parts of Latin America emerging as notable exceptions) seem almost entirely impotent when it comes to obvious reforms, namely ending cannabis prohibition.
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.