'Global war on drugs has failed,' key panel says

Commission criticizes US approach and argues that governments should end the criminalization of drug use


The global war on drugs has failed and governments should explore legalizing marijuana and other controlled substances, according to a commission that includes former heads of state, a former U.N. secretary-general and a business mogul.

A new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy argues that the decades-old worldwide "war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world." The 24-page paper was released Thursday.

"Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said.

The 19-member commission includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former U.S. official George P. Schultz, who held cabinet posts under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

Others include former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, U.K. business mogul Richard Branson and the current prime minister of Greece.

Is anyone going to listen? Are we proud of what we have done to Mexico? Are we naive enough to believe that something similar is not going to be on our streets soon? Will this just become an extension of the War on Terror and another reason to trample our rights?

And I guess the biggest question is, can we undo the years of lies and propaganda spread by the conservatives in the US?

DUHHHHHHH!!!

You mean the government lied when they said that Marijuana will make you murder innocent people if you smoke it?

How old is the American criminalization of drugs? 100 years? Less? And the War on Drugs is younger yet. That article says it's merely "decades old." Seems like we've abandoned other platforms that were older.

I mean seriously -- although I rail against what it's become, the three tiered system proved amazing at dismantling gang distributed alcohol sales. And we practically have a skeleton of that structure already in place for marijuana. Growers --> smugglers --> dealers.

Just change "smugglers" to "licensed distributors," and you're halfway there.

I'd just be happy if the government would move marijuana lower on the class scale. Right now it's considered "worse" than cocaine. That'd be a sign to me that they're moving from sensationalism to a more rational and realistic approach (as much as the government can, at least).

I could've told them it was failing for the get go and not for the reasons most people think. When do not burn poppy seed plants in Afghanistan and we know where they are, when we do not protect our borders (speak to anyone who works in border patrol and they say how bad it has been over the years and how bad its getting) and when we put people who smoke Marijuana in jail for life when a murder gets 20 years, you know it was just a political ploy to get votes.

Not sure if the stories were related when I heard them on NPR this morning but I was confused by the fact that the Obama administration had already been focusing on reducing crack cocaine sentences as opposed to the easier pot charges. I am glad to see any movement forward on ending the ridiculous War On Drugs but it just seems like they went for the harder sell on the crack cocaine sentencing when the majority of the country would applaud any reduction in pot related crimes. I understand that there is a glaring disparity between race and sentencing when it comes to crack but if you really want to get things done then it seems to me that you'd get further with something the majority can empathize with.

Oh and on topic ... Good. Hopefully somebody will listen but I remain skeptical. Sadly enough I still entertain the dream that Obama will come out swinging and do something radical like end the War On Drugs. An eternal optimist I suppose ...

Crack laws are absurd. They were reactionary and are way out of line with everything else.

I hear what you're saying, but really, the laws were unfair.

garion333 wrote:

DUHHHHHHH!!!

No kidding. What finally tipped them off? Was it the everything?

One of my favorite bits from Bill Hicks was when he talked about the drug war.

"I loved when Bush came out and said, 'We are losing the war against drugs.' You know what that implies? There's a war being fought, and the people on drugs are winning it."

The sad thing is that almost all of Hicks' material is still relevant today, especially the drug stuff, and he died in '94.

Jayhawker wrote:

Is anyone going to listen?

The article wrote:

The office of White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said the report was misguided.

"Drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated. Making drugs more available — as this report suggests — will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe," Office of National Drug Control Policy spokesman Rafael Lemaitre said.

Guess that answers that question...

The drug czar always says that.

garion333 wrote:

The drug czar always says that.

It is sort of his job, so yeah.

I see reports like this every week.

The Drug War At Home: Gangs Acting As Foot Soldiers For Drug Cartels

Drug Violence Strains Blood Supply at Mexican Hospitals

And despite the fact that Arizonans voted to allow medical marijuana dispensaries, the state has unilaterally decided that it won't accept license applications: AZ turns away application for marijuana dispensary

It doesn't seem to matter what we do, how we vote, or who recommends change, it's hard to see how change will ever happen on this issue.

BadKen wrote:

It doesn't seem to matter what we do, how we vote, or who recommends change, it's hard to see how change will ever happen on this issue.

In this case you start by voting out Brewer in the next election and voting in someone who will allow pot dispensaries. There's going to have to be a critical mass of states allowing medical marijuana before policy at the federal level start to change.

OG_slinger wrote:
BadKen wrote:

It doesn't seem to matter what we do, how we vote, or who recommends change, it's hard to see how change will ever happen on this issue.

In this case you start by voting out Brewer in the next election and voting in someone who will allow pot dispensaries. There's going to have to be a critical mass of states allowing medical marijuana before policy at the federal level start to change.

Yean, and MM is growing, so ...

I don't know why more states don't allow it, it's good tax money.

BadKen wrote:

It doesn't seem to matter what we do, how we vote, or who recommends change, it's hard to see how change will ever happen on this issue.

Yeah, it seems like the politicians' answer is always to double down rather than cut our losses and get out.

Yean, and MM is growing, so ...

I don't know why more states don't allow it, it's good tax money.

Yes, the first thing I ask anyone I hear griping about the deficit is whether they support the legalization and taxation of marijuana. It's a great way to filter out the people interested in solutions vs. complaining about 'the liberals'.

Jayhawker wrote:

And I guess the biggest question is, can we undo the years of lies and propaganda spread by the conservatives in the US?

There are many things you can say about the war on drugs, but you can't say that the years of lies and propaganda rests solely on the shoulders of conservatives. This is a bipartisan issue to the core, and it is now tied to a huge number of meal tickets.

BadKen wrote:

It doesn't seem to matter what we do, how we vote, or who recommends change, it's hard to see how change will ever happen on this issue.

Could be because very few people actually vote for the people who actually support ending the War on Drugs. They can't win, it's a wasted vote, yada, yada. How did you vote in last year's election?

OG_Slinger wrote:

In this case you start by voting out Brewer in the next election and voting in someone who will allow pot dispensaries. There's going to have to be a critical mass of states allowing medical marijuana before policy at the federal level start to change.

And elect who? Goddard, the Democratic candidate in 2010, opposed Prop 203, as did Republican Brewer. The only candidate in 2010 with a known anti-Prohibition position was Barry Hess - should he vote Libertarian?

Aetius wrote:

And elect who? Goddard, the Democratic candidate in 2010, opposed Prop 203, as did Republican Brewer. The only candidate in 2010 with a known anti-Prohibition position was Barry Hess - should he vote Libertarian? :)

If he feels it's an important enough issue, then yeah.

Aetius wrote:

Could be because very few people actually vote for the people who actually support ending the War on Drugs. They can't win, it's a wasted vote, yada, yada. How did you vote in last year's election?

I supported the democrats for district 26 in Tucson, but despite the fact that this is the most left-leaning area of the state, they both went down. I also voted for the medical marijuana initiative, and was happy to see it pass. For Governor, as you mentioned, it wasn't much of a choice: pretty much giant douchebag vs. turd sandwich.

Here's one take on it. I'm not sure I'd buy it as a cause but I'd agree that it's an effect:

As I understand it there is a majority of folks in this country who seem okay with, at the least, decriminalizing marijuana or some form of legalization. Now I have heard alot of reasons as to why things remain the way they are from the wild conspiracy to the somewhat believable ... private prison systems making money, rubber/textile industries afraid of hemp, War On Drugs making certain folks rich, etc, etc. Even with those obviously well connected entities fighting this tooth and nail through lobbying I still can't make it match up to the obstinate stance our government has taken concerning marijuana. I have spoken to a lot of police on this and honestly they are fed up with it also as it seems very wasteful of their time and not what they consider to be criminal behavior. It just boggles my mind sometimes and I wish I knew how it could be changed. Not even sure voting for the right folks would change anything given the absurdity of it already.

If i'm quite honest, i'm fed up enough with having to suffer through all the sh*t from smelling and living around smokers. I don't want more smoking to start taking place. :/ Smokers forget that they don't smell the crap they're putting out and they don't realise that i can smell their smoke from in their flat around and in my flat sometimes. I hate the smell of pot even more than smoke from cigarettes...

Should it be criminal? Probably not, though i don't think it's advisable to smoke it any more than cigarettes and considering the small amount of medical data and genetic resistance to this sort of bodily abuse compared to something like alcohol which has been consumed for at least a thousand years... However, what really gets me is how drugs - including alcohol - can affect those around the users possibly as much as the users themselves. It's why i don't have a problem with alcohol because if it's drunk responsibly you don't affect anyone else. With smoking you're always affecting the environment around you whether you're well-behaved and trying to be considerate or not. More addictive and "hardcore" drugs i don't have much information on since i've never known anyone who was into anything more than LSD or some of the various forms of resin/marijuana..... Though i don't much like being around someone who's on LSD... too unpredictable sometimes.

Duoae wrote:

If i'm quite honest, i'm fed up enough with having to suffer through all the sh*t from smelling and living around smokers. I don't want more smoking to start taking place. :/ Smokers forget that they don't smell the crap they're putting out and they don't realise that i can smell their smoke from in their flat around and in my flat sometimes. I hate the smell of pot even more than smoke from cigarettes...
.

hoo boy, and so commences the "my slight inconvenience is enough to me to want to take away your rights" debate.

I don't like it when people are morbidly obese in restaurants I dine at. I also don't like screaming children in restaurants, regardless of how apologetic their parents are. I also don't like it when people wear shirts that say "NO FEAR" or ridiculous huge anime people on them. I also don't like it when people crowd up the streets every Sunday after Church lets out. I also don't like it when people talk on their cell phone on the bus. I also don't like it when people fart on the bus. I also don't like people who drive stinky diesel VWs and trucks. I also don't like it when people defecate in a public restroom.

LET'S BAN ALL OF IT.

I'd agree with you, Seth, if the obese were so fat that you couldn't eat at a restaurant without leaning on some blubber. Most people who dislike smokers don't really care about seeing someone smoke. It's the smell.

The fact of the matter is that there are legitimate reasons not to like smokers and legitimate reasons not to give a rat's ass how people who don't like smokers feel. I don't really think either approach is relevant here. PCP isn't illegal because it's obnoxious. It's illegal because it messed people right the hell up.

It's the unstated idea that olfactory discomfort is somehow worse than visual or auditory discomfort that drives me nuts. Yeah, someone stinks. It happens, be it by smoking or sweating or wearing patchouli. Your olfactory nerves are specifically designed to acclimate to unpleasant smells.

You're right, though, this is off topic. Withdrawn. I'll even accept up to 3 cheap shots at my expense without responding.

Seth wrote:

It's the unstated idea that olfactory discomfort is somehow worse than visual or auditory discomfort that drives me nuts. Yeah, someone stinks. It happens, be it by smoking or sweating or wearing patchouli. Your olfactory nerves are specifically designed to acclimate to unpleasant smells.

You're right, though, this is off topic. Withdrawn. I'll even accept up to 3 cheap shots at my expense without responding.

Cheap shot #1- You smell like elderberries!

Shot #2!

I don't think smokers have any idea just how bad they smell. I got my haircut by a woman the other day that made me want to gag.

I knew the my wife had finally kicked the habit, hopefully for good, when we went out to Harrah's to meet my folks. As we were walking into the lobby she was taken aback by just how terrible it smelled. She never noticed it at all when we've been there other times. But the smoke is the main reason I quit playing poker. they don't even let you smopke in the poker room, but just the time spent walking through the casino to and from the poker room makes me smell like I've been at a bar all night.

And while pot my smell worse than tobacco to some (although that just seems weird to me), marijuana smoke does not have near the same tendency to coat everything. I'm assuming that is becasue generally, once you get high, you are done. But smokers just keep going 24 hours a day. No one is going to smoke a pack a day except for the most obnoxious Snoop Dogg fan.