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March 18, 2015

"Law & Tactics for a Market-Reality Narcotics Policy"

The title of this post is the title of this notable new article by Mark William Osler now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The War on Drugs seems to be ending, leading to a crucial question: What comes next? Legalization of narcotics (marijuana aside) is unlikely, and the pursuit of broad incarceration to create deterrence or incapacitation has been largely disavowed.  However, drug use continues to be a profound social problem that must be confronted.

This article argues for the aggressive use of asset forfeiture to capture cash flow to core sources in order to systemically disrupt narcotics networks.  Importantly, such a project would steer police efforts away from capturing people, drugs, or the profits retained by drug dealers and instead target the lifeblood of the narcotics business, which is proceeds flowing back to mass producers, importers, and major wholesalers of drugs.

This tactic would address the continuing narcotics problem without mass incarceration or the problems associated with seizing small amounts of profit through forfeitures. Fortunately, the necessary tools are already embedded in existing federal statutes; all that is left to do is to use them wisely in a new and more effective way.

March 18, 2015 at 06:37 AM | Permalink


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Sorry, but as far as I can tell the cops have about as much success actually finding the cash and other assets as they do finding the drugs in the first place -- that is very little. Coupled with how much bad press asset forfeiture/seizure has been getting lately I see an increased effort along that line being very close to a non-starter.

I suspect the war on drugs will end by the feds declaring victory then taking their ball and going home.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Mar 18, 2015 10:43:25 AM

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