Pubdate: Thu, 9 Jul 2009
Source: Economist, The (UK)
Copyright: 2009 The Economist Newspaper Limited
Author: Norm Stamper


SIR - It is clear that the argument for ending the failed prohibition
of drugs is approaching a tipping point ("At last, a debate", June
27th). The fact that the United Nations "drug tsar" tried to refute
the evidence for legalising drugs on page one of this year's UN annual
report on drugs shows that the prohibitionists are concerned with the
increased attention being paid to reform in recent months.

As a retired police officer who for 34 years helped fight the "war on
drugs" and witnessed its failures, I find it curious that the UN
frames prohibition as an effective drug "control" strategy and implies
that legalisation would weaken control. Actually, legalisation would
move drugs away from the out-of-control cartels and gangs who traffic
in them now and into a properly regulated system.

Norm Stamper

Seattle chief of police, 1994-2000