It is interesting that the Union Leader, a typically right wing newspaper covering NH, published an opinion about some of the problems surrounding the war on drugs. As the true cost of the war on drugs becomes clear, the left and right should come together to realize the only rational conclusion is to end the war on drugs and look to treatment and education. The decriminalization by Portugal as well as the end of alcohol prohibition in the United States show how criminalization simply fails. Portugal and the prior US experiment also show a clearly better solution through regulation and control.
One of the more coherent thoughts underlying this article is that “the punishment for a crime should not exceed the cost to society of the crime.” For example if you are found in possession of a single pill of oxy you should not be labeled a felon, you should get counseling and help for an addiction. If you are found with marijuana you need not be tagged as a criminal. As a defense lawyer, I routinely see people who have good families, careers and a bright future get caught with drugs and face the prospect of incarceration, embarrassment and financial ruin. I have also witnessed firsthand how the criminal justice system fails to end drug use and actually may encourage other dysfunctional behavior. The incarceration of drug offenders often costs jobs, homes, financial ruin and loss of family supports. The only rational solution is to treat users who want to stop and educate everyone about the real consequences of drugs. The other aspect of a true rational drug policy would be to regulate drugs enabling taxation and to ensure safe drugs. The American experience with alcohol prohibition should be applied to drug prohibition.