The practical case against prohibition is overwhelming, and the moral case for it is myopic and deeply misguided
A major report released Thursday by the Global Commission on Drug Policy affirms what we've long known: the war on drugs is an abject failure, it empowers criminal organizations that undermine democracy, and it makes drug users and non-drug users alike worse off than they'd otherwise be. "Public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately," the report states. "That the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won."
The conclusions are notable mostly because of the people who produced them: former presidents of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the prime minister of Greece, and former high ranking federal officials George P. Schultz and Paul Volcker. The commission had 19 members total. Other notables include writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, and the billionaire Richard Branson, who hammered home the fiscal inefficiency of the drug war. "It's estimated that over one trillion have been spent on fighting this unwinnable battle," he said. "A regulated market -- one that is tightly controlled, one that would offer support not prison to those with drug problems -- would cost tax payers much less money."