Intensifying the drug war definitely did not work. America locked drug sellers up, but drug use remained the same. Fat black-market profits enticed new groups of sellers to enter the business.
Now, almost no one claims that getting stoned is a good thing. Drugs, like alcohol, should be kept away from children. I admire President Trump’s self-restraint. He says he’s never used drugs, cigarettes or alcohol partly because his brother, Fred, drank himself to death. Drugs, cigarettes and alcohol do a lot of damage.
But they don’t do it to everyone. Lots of American adults manage drug or alcohol use while still raising families and going to work.
Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama used drugs when they were young, but then, when they became presidents, they hypocritically supported the drug war. They locked up other Americans who had less power than they had.
That didn’t stop drug sales. The drug war just drove the trade into the hands of nastier criminal gangs. Violence between those gangs is a much bigger problem than the drug use itself.
As Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore police officer and former drug warrior, puts it, “Drugs are problematic. But the policies to prohibit their use are 10 times more problematic.”