Is it time to rethink the war on drugs?
Published Thursday, May 15, 2014 7:28PM EDT
A number of reports related to the drug industry have caught our eye recently.
The London School of Economic issued a report suggesting it may be time to rethink the war on drugs because of the numerous consequences. The authors point to mass incarceration, vast corruption, immense violence, an HIV epidemic in Russia, and a global shortage of pain medication as a result of strict drug laws. Despite drastic increases in global enforcement spending, the war is failing and the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Vice News reported last week that some U.S. states legalizing marijuana is crippling Mexican drug cartels. The Washington Post reported farmers in a region home to some of the most notorious gangsters in Mexico, have stopped planting the crop because the wholesale price in the past five years has collapsed from $100 per kilogram to less than $25.
“It’s not worth it anymore,” said Rodrigo Silla, 50, a lifelong cannabis farmer, to The Washington Post. “I wish the American’s would stop with this legalization.”
And Vox reported today that crime is down in Denver since legalization. They note correlation doesn’t equal causation, but violent crime and property crime are both down from last year over the first four months.
So is it time to rethink the war on drugs?
Donald MacPherson, executive director for the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition told Kevin Newman Live there are many reasons why crime may have dipped and it may increase next month, but if the trend continues there may be a correlation. Because these programs are in their infancy, he called this a golden age for researchers.
Skip ahead to the 19-minute mark of the video above to see our full interview with MacPherson.
He said what we do know is that millions of dollars are being processed by the Colorado department of revenue and cannabis prices are dropping because of increased supply.
When asked about the war on drugs, MacPherson said, “I think it’s a colossal failure…it’s simply too blunt an instrument…and creates a vibrant robust illegal market.”
He suggested we need to change the criminal justice response because of the mass amount of money spent to lock people up for minor offenses and we need to reduce the amount of violence in Latin America caused by the drug trade.