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. if Obama had got caught smoking pot ( when he said he smoked it ) he wouldnt be where he is today !
    just saying

  2. “Current policy is not having an effect of reducing drug use,” Miron said, “but it’s costing the public a fortune.”
    ..while making a small handful of individuals very, very rich.

  3. 40 years is a long time for this goverments War on Drugs,? It really is about the War on marihuana, that has the goverments bloomers in a twist. They really don’t know what to do with it !! Stop putting people that smoke pot in jail!!That is reserved for rapists, perverts and we have alot of them and murders. !!

  4. While liberty has been been replaced by a paranoid schizophrenic nanny, this Drug War costly failure could very well be added to the “Chaos Theory”. Another factor of the “Butter Fly Effect” of wasted money and a shrinking economy.

  5. our government has failed us. contact your representatives and let them know how you feel!!

  6. In addition to the cited statistics are the hidden costs of prohibition like the thefts and assaults that occur in pursuit of illegal drugs. Additionally, many children’s parental rights are permanently severed because their parent tested positive for drugs, only to be orphaned to the streets when they turn 18, and within 6 months become one of the disgraceful army of American homeless in the richest country in the world.

  7. A little bit about this was on the radio yesterday, right here in the deep south. Wanna know who they used as their expert speaker…a former New York drug felon. I’m sure he changed opinions left and right. Absolutely bogus considering how many people with clout have come out against prohibition lately, lmao.

  8. Get Carter on the phone with Obama now. The Democratic party of today disgusts me. Why have they given in to Reagan and Nixons bullshit!?

  9. I can assuer you the cost are much higher than stated, how many black opts. have been included in the totals above. None im sure do you really thing the feds are gonna just let that info out.You have to figure its an avrage of 500 an hour for a blackhawk just to fly around, how many of these stile missons are we not told about, and at what coast?

  10. The US estimated 22million pounds of marijuana were grown in 2010, if the US taxed this est. amount with a flat tax at an average value of $6400 per pound The US would make roughly $6.3 billion a year. These are grossly low values yes but +$6.3 billion is a vast improvement over the negligent spending

  11. #1 Tim: Actually I noticed on several occasions, and especially on the occasion when Obama was videoed on UTube…Obama looked stoned as shit that day! Several other times Obama looked as if he had just finished off a big fat spliff before addressing something on T.V. Our government consists of a bunch of greedy, lying conspirators against the American people.
    Vote Gary Johnson for President in 2012.

  12. #2. Dispensory Reviews: your comment “our current policy is making a handfull of people very, very rich”…
    you’re exactly right there folks….I’ll bet that 98% of that handful of people are kin to some of the government scoundrals in some form or fashion!

  13. Marijuana Prohibition = Government Conspiracy against Americans Liberties and Freedoms!
    Maybe when this government crumbles here very shortly, we can regain the Liberties and Freedoms we have all been denied!

  14. Marijuana Prohibition = Government Monopoly in the Marijuana trade.
    By the way..speaking on that note…I know of several federal postal workers that have a little or I should say BIG…Marijuana moonlighting business after hours and probably during working hours. The federal government is in on that because those moonlighters have protection and will never be caught! GO FIGURE!
    I’d bet that someone you know that works for the postal service is a marijuana moonlighter with those protections. UTTER GOVERNMENT SCOUNDRALISM AGAINST THE PEOPLES RIGHTS, FREEDOMS AND LIBERTIES!!!
    ————Go Figure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!————–

  15. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall……… the way when the gov’t. crumbles, least they not expect ANY OF the American people that have been devistated by the government corruption, to even be burdened any further to piece the gov’t back together again! When those gov’t scumbags cause everything to go to hell in a hand basket here in America, I suggest we all let them drowned in their own deciet. IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE PEOPLE!

  16. …while babies go hungry in the streets. Shame, shame on us.But we can put an end to this maddness when we get up, stand up, stand up for our rights! We must be brave and courageous to get this job done.
    We must be willing to be called ‘terrorists’ (as Uncle loves lableing those in oposition) while calmly going about bringing an end to the maddness. Every day we must do something that makes a difference to bring this about.
    Write copious letters to the powers that are, (the USPO needs some capital infusion), sign e-petitions, drag our friends and family into the fray, make signs to hang in our windows, tell everyone we know that WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE WON’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! It’s time, Folks. In solidarity, ajahaha

  17. gahhh!!! so sick of this crap… it feels like we live in some alternate “1984ish” dystopian universe where the people in power don’t even consider the position of responsible, autonomous adults and force their fears and agendas on the public unapologetically even at the cost of human life.

  18. In order to end the war, they would have to give-up tens of billions of dollars per year, layoff tens of thousands of cops and guards, release hundreds of thousands of POWs (prisoners), and admit that the second great prohibition was a failure.
    It’ll never happen.
    This war will only end when the Dollar crashes and foreign governments invite us to go home, and the federal government can no longer afford to force states to act against their own best interests.

  19. P.S. Thank you, Mr. Nixon, for a war that never ends.
    And thank you, Mr. Obama, for teaching us that no President will ever try to end it.

  20. As a paitient who’s Oregon Dispensierie just closed I would just like to point out that they are still going at it by attacking legitimate dispenseries with threatening letters. On that note does anyone know more about what is happening in Oregon?

  21. I believe the only reason marijuana is still illegal must be someone with alot of pull is on the take. Lets line up our political leaders and give them a drug test I bet more would fail then you think.

  22. The more we bitch about it the more our government sits back and laughs at us.They listen to no one.For forty years they have destroyed lives and careers.And they are going to do it for another forty years unless we…

  23. Nixon worked for Rockefeller and DuPont. David and Nelson elected Tricky Dick [Fifth Avenue Compact]- and – Tricky Dick did what he was told to do – not to mention the fact that he was a little – well! – “our long national nightmare.” I’m sure Tricky Dick is looking up.

  24. We the people have to take the power back. Civil rights showed the way, women showed the way, gays showed the way….be silent and suffer unjust abuse. We are cannabis users and we are not going to stand by and take it anymore!

  25. I’ve been saving up a pile of sticks and rocks since 1970, waiting for the day when we take our country back.

  26. Enough IS enough… PLEASE, stop the HURT, NOW!!! As long as Americans can legally use dangerous drugs like alcohol and tobacco, the “War” against people wishing to use cannabis is at least unfair and unjust, at best, unconstitutional. Everything I learned growing up with decent, law-abiding parents tells me it is WRONG to target Americans who wish to use cannabis for whatever reason they choose. The “War on Drugs” is not just a failed war, it is a terrorist attack on Americans given the US Constitution, and the very foundation of freedom in this country.
    Stop the Hurt NOW!!! It’s not a matter of votes… it’s a matter of what is right, what is just, what is scientifically reasonable. And cannabis prohibition is none of those things. It is genocide against Americans… ruining lives, interfering with social interactions among other like-minded people, a death-blow to those who find cannabis helpful for medical reasons.
    The recent surge in available “medical m-wordana is great, but it is unnecessary and extremely bias. Even the medical M growers in CA admit they voted against legalization because they were afraid of losing their niche in the market.
    The only practical solution to the Drug War, is No War, as The War is WRONG! Just like the Vietnam War was wrong, only this War, the War on Drugs is a thousand times worse. It has destroyed the lives, hopes and dreams of several generations of Americans by making them criminals when all WE seek is PEACE.
    I’m 56… think about it… most of my adult life has been subject to this war – to torture and alienation sans my government.
    Enough is Enough!!! Just Say NO… No, No, No… to this friggin’ torture of American Citizens who choose a plant over manufactured products like alcohol and tobacco, or Big Pharma drugs that only make them addicts, and worst.
    Stop The Hurt, Now!

  27. What would a sensible, logical, diligent person do with a “complete and utter failure?” Right! they’d deep six it. So! what’s up with these wise guys in D.C.? Bring in the clowns – the circus has come to town.

  28. maybe by 2020 , but i doubt it now ,. Come to california , the most lenient pot law in the US!

  29. All this failed policy and it doesn’t stop people. Maybe there is a secret study that says people spending money buying stuff for detox products is keeping the economy afloat!

  30. 40 years of failure is not enough! At least not for some people. The prohibitionists are still very much at work spreading their propaganda and no only here in the USA. Take a look at this BBC article:
    It is about Skunk Marijuana and claims that growing numbers of people in the South East are using a form of cannabis believed to put users more at risk of psychosis than other forms of the drug. The reason it is more dangerous is because it is more potent… The article looks very authentic but is total garbage and there is no blog associated with it. I don’t think they want any negative comments getting added to their story…
    Folks, we still have a lot of fighting to do in this war before it’s all over.

  31. “Prohibitionists have abducted my Constitution – and – have imposed their values on me – I am an abducted child.”

  32. Sorry i don’t have a link or remember the whole story, but I read either on CNN or MSNBC today the White House has escalated the WAR on DRUGS creating special zones considered “Hotspots” in High Risk areas of the country, including CA, and allocated I think it was an additional 10 billion dollars to the DEA’s budget.
    All those cuts to in the federal budget obviously were necessary so the DEA could expand on the war. Hell, why only 10 billion? Without a doubt the DEA could use more like 100 billion, but why stop there… why not pull out all the stops, setup checkpoints on all roads in the US. Employ 10’s of thousand of NARCS to enroll at colleges, Universities and resorts. Why not use the total budget of all law enforcement and fulfill a total invasion on US soil and find every single pothead out there? Since cannabis is by far the most popular “drug”, and it’s users the most docile, pull out all the stops and lets put every resource we have into rounding up every single one of them and their US providers.
    To hell with roads, the hungry, the unemployed, the sick, the elderly… if there’s going to be a war, this important – DO IT.
    Just don’t use my tax dollars… ask China for some money to do it.
    Makes me sick.
    Stop The Hurt! End the War!

  33. The thing I regret the most is that I haven’t used any cannabis since I turned 50. The last time was at my 50th birthday party. I’m too old now for the connections our laws have created with people younger than me. Too busy working, too busy being depressed about ED and all the drugs to cure it, but that give me a massive headache, and body aches. Plus, The E in ED is unnatural. You know, the effect – the pole… it’s unnatural.
    Maybe if I could live the life I love, grow the plants I used to love to grow, associate with the amiable people I used to find to associate with, I could find a way to naturally cure my problem. But I can’t.
    But’s that’s not what I feel bad about. What I feel bad about is being a criminal all those years using cannabis at the end of my workday and with friends, I cannot be busted like I once could have been. While this War on Plant-loving cannabis people goes down, I have to stand on the sidelines and watch.
    The “Calm before the Storm”, is upon us. Californians think they’re exempt, but they’re not. Cannabis you see has been proclaimed the evilest of Eden… and our government will stop at nothing to stop it.
    You all have alternatives, just like me. You can stop now. Stop using cannabis. You can drink, like me. You can smoke tobacco like me. You can die like me.
    Please… It is clear “society says”: cannabis is evil. So do yourself a favor – give it up before it’s too late. Be happy with what the god’s of Washington providith… alcohol and tobacco. It adds taxes to the war on drugs, and helps you, but not if you won’t accept the help.
    You are guaranteed a painful death, with both alternatives to cannabis, but unlike cannabis, which has killed no one, you will have an honorable death, unlike dying of old age as a pothead, which has no honor.
    The locust gather for the final assault, the greatest scourge in the history of human-kind is soon to end. And I am cursed, on the sidelines to watch as my fellow Americans are cut down, and the emperor who wears no clothes dances naked celebrating the biggest victory in all of human history. The eradication of potheads!

  34. BobKat #46. You are not a pothead! You are a valuable member of our society that used to enjoy a unjustly illegal herb. Since you know how bad alcohol and tobacco are stop using them. Make new friends or grow your own cannabis. A hero dies one death but a coward dies a thousand times. I am not calling you a coward. I am in almost exactly the same boat you are in. I despise liquor. I don’t drink, smoke, or use any illegal drugs. I’ve already had my fair share and don’t need them. I despise prohibitionists and those that would demonize and criminalize my favorite herb. Greed, meaness, and idiots rule the day. The drug war has been lost, was not winnable, was unjust, and will stop when cannabis users come out of the closet and demand their rights. Don’t accept what the powers give you demand the freedom we have in our Constitution.

  35. “Today Marks 40 Years Of Failure.”
    Will somebody please tell me – “Who the hell – in their right mind – wants to be an active supporter – and – boast about being a failure? Does this tell you anything about the lunacy of the whole nightmare? Well! It’s their nightmare not ours. In short – “Their reality is theirs.”

  36. @BobKat #46: I think you should just be like the rest of us that believe in freedom and want America to be what it once was – The Land of the Free. The rest of us choose to consume cannabis in spite of the idiotic predjudicial laws forced upon us by a combination of greedy and ignorant lawmakers and politicians. It’s a bad law and even though NORML does not advocate breaking the law, a great many of us do so anyway. In my opinion, breaking a bad and unjust law is in fact patriotic!

  37. @Don, #49 and Little gypsy, #47.
    Interesting replies, but i think you miss my point, though I feel better that you care about me, and consider me a valued member of society.
    In 1986 I was busted for having a pipe… unlike similar scheduled crimes like assault, cannabis crimes never go off your record. I paid a $100 fine, and have a Red Letter M on my record.
    The FDA recently announced new shock and awe labeling for tobacco. Though I admit it’s probably appropriate, I also consider it a joke.
    A sick joke!
    Our government we live within is not using science or common-sense to guide them. We barely are able to accept gays, but when it comes to the right of the individual to ingest what they choose, something Pres. jimmy Carter believed was a human right, our government ignores us and escalates a WAR.
    I’m done being “a criminal”, sneaking around, practicing civil disobedience. Fact is, cannabis saved my life and gave me many opportunities… it was a natural Symbian to who I am as a person. My government condemns it, and my age makes it difficult to play their game or Simon says any longer.
    Why not give in to their way of thinking? They want us to smoke tobacco and yet gross us out. They want us to purchase alcohol, and yet ignore statistics of the violence it causes. When in Rome, the saying goes, “Do as the Romans would do”.
    The federal government is waging this war on We the People… I’ve lived with it 40 years now. 40 friggin’ years!!!
    Grow my own? Make new friends? Are you kidding??? We’re in a war. There is no war against gay people. There is no war against tobacco. No war against alcohol related fatalities.
    There is a war on drugs, and the mentality of “this is your brain on drugs”, a “fried egg”, is unchanged.
    The “War on Drugs”, in particular, cannabis, is an obsession with my government, both state and federal.
    The laws against cannabis vastly magnify the penalty considering the crime. That gives me pause, to ask, what Constitution are you referring to Little Gypsy?
    President Jimmy Carter legalized cannabis, President Obama despite his world experience, including “drugs”, is playing games. Jimmy Carter legalized cannabis in 1977, his first term. President Obama laughs!
    What am I suppose to think? Because of my bust for a cannabis pipe many jobs are unavailable to me. And I’m far from alone. Things are like they were in the early 1860’s, with Black Slavery… it was an impossibility to think that common sense and human rights could prevail… only cannabis is the boy who cried wolf, in comparison, and the government can never, ever admit it is wrong, with regards to cannabis. It has spread lies so much so that it believes strongly in supporting it’s own lies forever.
    This is not “Life, Liberty, ones right to happiness” This is war… this is refusal to accept truth, and a mandate to fight this war no matter the cost in money or lives.
    Thanks for your concern and encouragement, but I quit… I’ll smoke the tobacco and drink the alcohol and hope I die an honorable death of liver disease and/or cancer.
    That is what it means in NH when the motto is “Live Free or Die”. I can’t live free… so…
    I’m not playing games. Bring it on… bring on the war… invade our castles, pillage our villages and rape our women… it is WAR!!!
    And it makes me sick… this is NOT the America I grew up to believe in. But it is the way it is.

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