Finally People Are Admitting that the War on (Some) Drugs™ Has Failed

Don’t expect sanity from the American political establishment, but they haven’t shown any sanity in over a decade. Maybe longer.

First we have Kofi Annan. I wasn’t his fan when he was UN Secretary General, but the article is a good overview. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says the war on drugs has failed. [Warning: there is an autoplay video at that link. At least it isn’t Flash.]

Annan said that studies consistently fail to find a link between the harshness of a country’s drug laws and its levels of drug use. The experts we reached and the data and reports we found largely backed that up. In some places, tougher penalties led to less use. In others, tougher laws had no effect at all.

In the United States, while there are shifting patterns of drug use, there is no simple relationship to the severity of the nation’s drug laws.

The big news comes from Mexico. Their congress and Presidents have been at least as Puritanical as the US. But finally they are admiting that something needs to change. Mexico’s President Proposes To Relax Marijuana Laws. This guy has been in the ‘get tough on the drug trade’ camp. But doing the same thing and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity, and he has finally changed his stance.

A traditional opponent of efforts to liberalize drug laws, Pena Nieto began to modify his stance in recent months, reflecting growing regional disenchantment with the so-called War On Drugs.

“Our country has suffered the harmful effects of drug-linked organized crime. Thankfully, a new global consensus is gradually gathering steam in favor of a reform to the international drug regime,” Pena Nieto said in Mexico City.

Prohibition does not work. Markets work. We proved that with alcohol in the early part of the 20th Century. And we proved it again in the latter part of the 20th Century with drugs. In both instances, all prohibition did was fuel organized crime.

Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. I expect the folks in Washington to keep insisting we do the same thing, and then they will tell us how it will be different this time.