On June 17, 1971 President Richard Nixon launched the modern-day drug war, an effort perpetuated by every one of his successors.
As the reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) documents in a new comprehensive study, the drug war has destroyed lives and property, shredded the constitution, and distorted American education, health care, and even foreign policy. That's why, notes LEAP, fully 75 percent of Americans and 69 percent of police chiefs agree that the drug war has failed.
Reason's Nick Gillespie talked with LEAP's Executive Director Neill Franklin, a retired major in the Maryland State Police. As Franklin explains, he was one of the most bellicose drug warriors around until a comrade was killed during an undercover operation. The best way, argues Franklin, we can pay tribute to his fallen friend - and all the other people whose lives have been laid waste by a war on drugs that has caused far more bad than good - is to turn away from prohibition and embrace regulation and control similar to that used for alcohol.
Shot by Jim Epstein and Joshua Swain, who also edited.
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For more information on LEAP and to read "Ending the Drug War: A Dream Deferred," go to http://www.leap.cc/40years/