If a business strategy were failing and instead of curbing a problem made it worse, would you keep it going or would you stop and consider an alternative course? Strangely, the trillion dollar war on drugs has persisted for 40 years even though it is the most dismal global policy failure of our time. Why do I care and why should you?
Millions of otherwise productive lives are wasted and lost in jail for marijuana possession and other nonviolent drug violations. California could raise an estimated US $1.4B in annual revenue if it taxed and regulated the sale of marijuana – so imagine the revenue that is keeping the underworld in business. Illegal drug money is financing street gangs, drug trafficers, and funding our enimies in the trillion dollar war in the mid East.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy has been looking at this issue for the last two years. There are countries – such as Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, UK and Netherlands - that have adopted alternative strategies with promising results. We and our government must take a hard look at the failures of the drug war and adopt humane solutions that focus on education, health care through regulation and taxation of drugs rather than criminalization and incarceration. Let's make the year 2013 the year of enlightenment.