Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jun 2018
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: James Liddell


The authors suffer from the same confirmation bias and first-order
thinking that begot the demonstrably unsuccessful war on drugs and has
sustained it, to tragic effect, for nearly 50 years. Despite enormous
expense and countless American lives lost to street violence and
incarceration, access to and abuse of marijuana and other drugs
remains as prevalent as ever. Why, then, do intelligent people refuse
to accept that the goals of the antidrug crusade haven't been, and
cannot be, achieved by prohibition?

The authors' parade of horribles is uncompelling when compared with
the actual devastation wrought by the war on drugs. Do Messrs. Kennedy
and Sabet really prefer the gangs that have defiled neighborhoods and
blighted inner cities, and the drug cartels that have terrorized whole
countries, to a few marijuana dispensaries engaging in unsavory
business practices? And what about the trade-off between a small
uptick in marijuana-related traffic fatalities on the one hand, and
tens of thousands of murders committed by drug pushers and
traffickers, enriched and enabled by America's misbegotten drug
policies, on the other? Should the profits of the drug trade flow to
murderers and narco-terrorists, or to the coffers of state and federal

In their hubris, American policy makers have selected the wrong answer
to each of these questions. Fortunately, we seem to be at an
inflection point, with more and more Americans opening their eyes to
the futility of marijuana prohibition and its appalling unintended
consequences. It's time for prohibitionists to face the fact that all
we have to show for the war on drugs is collateral damage. It's past
time to end it.

James Liddell