The War On Drugs Has Failed, So Tax And Regulate Marijuana – CNBCBy
Commentary & Analysis
Gary JohnsonGary E. Johnson
Board member, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy
Author, “Seven Principles of Good Government”
Former Governor of New Mexico (R)
It’s time we tax and regulate marijuana. The War on Drugs is a proven failure. We have spent several decades and close to a trillion dollars trying to eliminate drugs.
Consider these facts:
* The last three Presidents and half of American adults have said they have smoked marijuana.
* More children have tried marijuana, which is illegal, than cigarettes, which are regulated.
* Last year we arrested 850,000 people for marijuana, mostly for possession.
* So far, fourteen states have passed medical marijuana laws enabling sick people to benefit.
* Massachusetts, Denver, and Seattle have either successfully decriminalized, or instituted lowest priority law enforcement policies for marijuana possession.
We learned a valuable lesson with alcohol prohibition in this country. Prohibition created black markets and violence as gangs fought to control the market. The same thing is true today. Mexican cartels make the majority of their profits distributing marijuana in 230 American cities, and the resulting violence is tragic. That’s why the presidents of many Latin American countries signed a declaration that the war on drugs needs to be ended.