This Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the modern "war on drugs," as declared by Richard Nixon and perpetuated by every president ever since.
So what's wrong with the war on drugs? How about everything? Here's Inimai Chettiar of the ACLU laying out the case:
What’s the verdict 40 years later? Have we won the war on drugs? Quite simply, no. From a public safety perspective, the war has been completely ineffective at stemming the supply or use of drugs in this country. From a cost perspective, it’s been horrific – with a whopping $1 trillion price tag thus far and an unimaginably higher toll in lives and families lost to prison. In terms of fairness, it has been a total bust as well. The effect on communities of color has been astonishingly tragic: there are more African-Americans under the control of prison and corrections departments today than were ever enslaved by this country. Even the current head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, and more recently the Global Commission on Drug Policy, have announced that the drug war has been an abject disaster.
Read the whole thing, which makes a concise tally of the major ways in which the drug war has failed in all its proponents' goals and continues to spread nothing but misery and pain to innocent civilians in this, America's longest-running war.
And check out this heavily documented report from the folks at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), which notes that "fully 76% of the American people and 69% of chiefs of police have declared the drug war a failure."