Kristof: 40 Years Later, The War on Drugs Is Lost


Forty years after President Nixon declared war on narcotics, the drugs have won, writes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. He said the war has had three three dire consequences by vastly increasing the proportion of our population in prisons, by empowering criminals at home and terrorists abroad with the increased profit margins that interdiction wielded, and by squandering resources through the spending of $44 billion a year enforcing drug prohibitions.

Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief, called the drug war “a dismal failure.” Kristof writes, “Moving forward, we need to be less ideological and more empirical in figuring out what works in combating America's drug problem. One approach would be for a state or two to experiment with legalization of marijuana, allowing it to be sold by licensed pharmacists, while measuring the impact on usage and crime.”

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