Today Marks 40 Years Of Failure

Pundits in The Hill, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and mainstream media around the nation today are lamenting the 40-year-anniversary of Nixon’s declaration of the ‘war on drugs.’ Authors of these critiques include former President Jimmy Carter, former city of Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and other luminaries. Events and vigils protesting America’s punitive drug policies are being held today across the country, including a press conference at Washington, DC’s National Press Club.
After 40 years it is apparent that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ is indefensible. As the Associated Press reported last year, even those in charge of waging this war it no longer can support it with a straight face.

AP IMPACT: After 40 years, $1 trillion, US War on Drugs has failed to meet any of its goals
After 40 years, the United States’ war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread.
Even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes the strategy hasn’t worked.
“In the grand scheme, it has not been successful,” Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. “Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.”

Nevertheless, the costs of the ‘war’ — both fiscal costs and human costs — continues to grow unabated.

In 1970, hippies were smoking pot and dropping acid. Soldiers were coming home from Vietnam hooked on heroin. Embattled President Richard M. Nixon seized on a new war he thought he could win.
“This nation faces a major crisis in terms of the increasing use of drugs, particularly among our young people,” Nixon said as he signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The following year, he said: “Public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”
His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it’s $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon’s amount even when adjusted for inflation.
Using Freedom of Information Act requests, archival records, federal budgets and dozens of interviews with leaders and analysts, the AP tracked where that money went, and found that the United States repeatedly increased budgets for programs that did little to stop the flow of drugs. In 40 years, taxpayers spent more than:
— $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries. In Colombia, for example, the United States spent more than $6 billion, while coca cultivation increased and trafficking moved to Mexico — and the violence along with it.
$33 billion in marketing “Just Say No”-style messages to America’s youth and other prevention programs. High school students report the same rates of illegal drug use as they did in 1970, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses have “risen steadily” since the early 1970s to more than 20,000 last year.
— $49 billion for law enforcement along America’s borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs. This year, 25 million Americans will snort, swallow, inject and smoke illicit drugs, about 10 million more than in 1970, with the bulk of those drugs imported from Mexico.
$121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, about 10 million of them for possession of marijuana. Studies show that jail time tends to increase drug abuse.
$450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone. Last year, half of all federal prisoners in the U.S. were serving sentences for drug offenses.
At the same time, drug abuse is costing the nation in other ways. The Justice Department estimates the consequences of drug abuse — “an overburdened justice system, a strained health care system, lost productivity, and environmental destruction” — cost the United States $215 billion a year.
Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron says the only sure thing taxpayers get for more spending on police and soldiers is more homicides.
“Current policy is not having an effect of reducing drug use,” Miron said, “but it’s costing the public a fortune.”

After four decades of failure, isn’t it time we say ‘enough is enough?’

64 thoughts

  1. 49. Don
    You’ll get a big amen on that from me. It is our “Constitutional Duty” to oppose an unjust law.

  2. 50. BobKat
    “You can’t win a war without soldiers.” It’s much like having a open and shut case in court – but – you can’t get any witnesses to appear on your behalf. Frustrating isn’t it? If you just pulled all those who are intimidated out of the closet – the “percentage in favor” would jump out and grab ya! I could even use being a Genesist as an example. By definition – anyone that believes in God and smokes pot is a Genesist – but – being a Genesist by Faith requires a Declaration of Faith. POINT: How many Genesists are there? ANSWER: As many that will admit it. You need soldiers that will come out of the closet – and – defend their own freedom – and – not let someone else do it for them.

  3. I watched a show about the war on drugs in california last nite. I noticed that while California is broke they send out the drug cops to find pot gardens and destroy the plants. Don’t these idiots realize that it is legal to sell the marijuana to existing dispensaries? Basically they are spending money to find and destroy a legally sold product all while whining about the state being broke!DUH

  4. 52, The American Genesist
    Thank-you! A part of me feels defeat… the other part – still a soldier; even though I do not have access to my God-Given herb anymore, except on rare occasions, I am battling the WAR on many fronts. But the defeatist part of me is stymied by the simple fact the WAR makes no practical sense. And yet it goes on, and on like a certain battery bunny.
    The crime is fictitious, based on no practical reality, yet people pay huge penal, social, career and psychological costs… and over the years, being a very social person, I found that the majority of the very people I called friends, who used cannabis and found it beneficial, were ashamed of themselves and felt legalization was wrong because it was illegal. The circular reasoning has over time dumbfounded me! But I have been fighting…
    I’ve had a blog now since 2009 (listed at the end of this comment) where I have many resources and I provide a myriad of topics to entice readers of all kinds to visit, and at random I post topics for cannabis reform.
    I openly admit to being in favor of legalization to people of all kinds, except my boss.
    I became the advocate of a missing person who disappeared in 2004 and who law enforcement put under the pile because it was known she liked to use cannabis. I worked on the front line in that case with her family turning the case around and the case will be featured in an upcoming NBC production of the program “Disappeared”. Yes, I am still advocating for her today.
    I am a or have been a member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) since it first went public, trusting that even law enforcement knows the WAR has failed, and the laws hurt far more than any perceived crime.
    I have and continue to write letters to my government representatives, even though many of them seem to be body-snatchers (taken over by aliens with no common or practical sense).
    Peers may laugh at me, criticize me, call me a danger to society for doing so, but I plod on.
    Imagine… if the internet had never happened, we’d still be in the 1950’s with regards to many things. Perhaps I’m impatient, but who of you would blame me. I’m 56 and for 40 years cannabis really helped me prosper in life. And for 6 years now I have not had access to cannabis, and it shows. I have aged considerably, developed lack of motivation, depression, increasing anxiety.
    When I say, “I quit”, it’s a metaphor for “I can’t take this anymore”. In that I suspect I’m not alone. The whole idea of legalizing cannabis under the guise of “medical marijuana” is fraudulent. It is an herb with medicinal properties, not a “manufactured drug”. The only reason President Obama pretended to call off the DEA dogs on states that legalized it for that use is because it fits right in with the notion cannabis is a “drug”.
    It is not! And for the drug czar to say “demand in this country must be stopped to end the killings in Mexico”, is lunacy. It’s like saying people demand coffee, or gasoline for their cars, or food for their survival. In that respect, yeah, sure, it’s a demand. But it’s a basic human demand for survival. Not some sort of “drug induced psychotic demand”. To say that is a total insult.
    I say I quit, because, I’m sick of the emperor dancing naked and and acting like a clown at the cost of millions of Americans. But I haven’t stopped being a soldier on the front line. Too many people are still too scared to come out of the closet… in fact, we still can’t even admit that our government is waging a WAR on American soil against predominantly non-violent citizens. We pretend as much as we say it that it’s not happening. But it is!

  5. harassing poor ppl while keeping the rich comfy is the american way if ur too dumb to know that its ur fault

  6. Y’all got the memo that congress will be voting later today to completely end federal prohibition of marijuana rite?
    It was written by Ron Paul (google if ur too stoned to know who he is) and has a lot of backing, it will probably pass…
    The one thing I can’t wait for is after pot is legal AGAIN how manyof the anarchist will quit smoking weed “since the taxes support a corrupt gov’t”… its actually rather funny how many of u look like a bunch of spoiled teenagers.
    The govt isn’t a bunch of rich monsters who hate parties and want to ruin ur fun cuz they are jealous, it was a flawed era of misscommunication that led to many of the social issues of the early 20th century, not evil corruption, if you want proof of the past stupidity of americans why not look back 8 years from today, when americans reelected a president whom they declared they hated… and if you need proof that thee govt isn’t rich and evil, I’m former and soon to be reentering federal service, I’m broke as shit and believe me, we just want to get high like you. My prayers are for the passing of this bill! God bless this country in the HIGHest.
    [Paul Armentano responds: A federal bill to end the federal prohibition of marijuana will be formally introduced in Congress today. Congress will not be voting on the measure today. Many more details to follow.]

  7. @T Rock: Truly, there seems to be no limit to the stupidity of the prohibitionists! Ironically, they think that cannabis users are the losers that can’t think straight. They ignore scientific evidence. They readily buy into propaganda if it supports what they already believe…
    I have a family member who believes cannabis should be illegal; in spite of numerous conversations on the subject. he tends to think the way I described above. he thinks that I’m okay though; he thinks I’m an exception. He knows that I am squared away, don’t get into trouble, have been productive, and I can beat him at chess even after having endulged in my favorite herb! He just can’t accept that what I am is not the exception but the rule!

  8. 54. BobKat
    Does today’s news of the federal legalization initiative bring you renewed satisfaction and a feeling of personal accomplishment – it does me. I have been actively pressing for “religious use” since 1990 [God – 21 years now] with the Reformation of the Genesis Faith. Compelling Justification and Prior Competing Governmental Interests are the only injustices standing in our way. Repeal these – and – the sky opens up and the dark clouds that have been following us around disappear.
    Great wisdom on your part BobKat. Thank you.

  9. and thats the people we trust with our tax money with..we have a mob running our country, cause i tell you what, there so deep in the drug game it ain’t funny, whatever nixon started anything he started it for a reason, to put a lot money in a lot peoples pockets under the table,and it’s not the tax payers i can promise u that, they can’t let go, their addicted to our money and their addicted to the new form of slavery, an hatred,,they don’t want peace, love an harmany are we crazy, we’re talking about a bunch of narcistic scum bags, the human race would be to self efficient if it were legal,. people could pitch 85% of their over and behind the counter gov.drugs that kill, now that would make my day!! all of this over something that has done nothing but better this world, we would wouldn’t be having this conversation if it wasn’t for peace loving hippies.

  10. 59. BobKat
    We may have lost a few battles along the way – but – “there’s no way we are going to lose the war.” We still have a front line – and – a massive army behind it. The only thing that they have in their favor is their ability to vote on the issue – but – what we have in our favor is our ability to vote for them [or not]. We’re now riding the crest of the wave – let’s “hang 10” and ride it to shore.

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  12. 54. BobKat
    I’ve been thinking about what you said – “A part of me feels defeat… the other part – still a soldier.” My guess is – “You’re 100% into this fight – and – you’re only getting minimal results, even zip from your efforts.” It’s like butting your head against a brick wall. The difference between you and the audience is – “You won’t quit butting your head against wall.” Every so often – one needs to repair the dents – choose their battle, and live to fight another day.
    The reason I say this is because – they need to “legitimize” the extraction of organic THC from the whole plant material. Moving it to Schedule III is only a starting chess move. The anti-cannabis public will view this as a confession of guilt on the part of government – while holding no different view or opinion on cannabis. They now have to change public opinion – white wash their lies about THC – so that pharmaceutical companies can “push” organic THC as a good thing – and – PROFIT. THC is a “legal substance.” The thing that is great about schedule III is – it allows for federal funding on research [an absolute must – and – the Genesist’s #1 priority]. The truth is in the science. In fact science, medicine [especially rehab], and pharmacy is where the big and only money is going to be [except for taxation]. It will be researching every medical condition [of which we know has efficacy in over 250 conditions – and – is the safest substance known to man]. When this whole thing goes down – don’t worry – they’ll be calling it a “Wonder Drug.”
    I know you – as I – want to fall across the finish line tape – but – there’s a few more strides to take – and – the “Main Event” – is only a committee away. Think about the insurance issue with legal THC – and – whether insurance companies will add THC to their covered drugs. There’s a lot to think about in the next few weeks. Good CDXX Communion BobKat

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