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June 7, 2011

Commemorating the "War on Drugs" as it begins its fifth decade

The ALCU's Blog of Rights is giving a bronx cheer to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the start of the modern so-called "War on Drugs" though a series of drug-war posts.  Here is the introduction to the series:

June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United States, and has contributed to making America the world's largest incarcerator.  All month, we'll have posts dedicated to the need end the war on drugs.  Check back daily for posts about the drug war, its victims and what needs to be done to restore fairness and create effective policy.

Here are links to a few of the early entries:

Relatedly, I see from this link that the folks at LEAP have a press event scheduled next week in DC to celebrate the drug war turning 40.  Here are the details from the LEAP press release:

Forty years ago President Nixon declared the "war on drugs." Marking next week's somber anniversary, a group of police officers, judges and corrections officials who support legalizing drugs will join forces to detail the ongoing failures of a war the Obama administration disingenuously claims it ended two years ago. Following a press conference, the law enforcers will attempt to hand-deliver a copy of their new report to President Obama's drug czar.

Norm Stamper, former chief of police in Seattle and a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said, "Since President Nixon declared 'war on drugs' four decades ago, this failed policy has led to millions of arrests, a trillion dollars spent and countless lives lost. Yet drugs today are more available than ever. President Obama's drug officials keep saying they've ended the 'drug war.' But our report shows that's just not true, and we'll be hand-delivering a copy to the drug czar in hopes he'll be convinced to actually end this war, or at least stop saying he already has."

Obama administration drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, like Stamper, is a former Seattle chief of police.

June 7, 2011 at 02:40 PM | Permalink


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Well, at least one police official gets it. He was also a former San Diego police official before relocating to Seattle.

Posted by: james | Jun 7, 2011 5:43:31 PM

This former narcotics detective isn't at all surprised by the fact that the 'war on drugs' is now widely recognized to be a failure. But as I posted in my blog recently, nobody asks our opinion on it. Never mind that we're the ones who are out there seeing the effects every day, the ones who get paid (not much) to risk our lives enforcing these laws.

Posted by: Eddie | Jun 8, 2011 11:21:42 AM

Eddie --

Based on your experience, is it your opinion that, if drugs were legalized, people who are now drug dealers would lead law-abiding lives?

I'm not trying to start a fight here. I'd just actually like to know from someone who dealt with these guys.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 9, 2011 11:15:29 PM

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