Drugs Policy

‘It’s all aircraft carriers, none of it moves on a dime’. So spoke a White House official, lamenting the painfully slow pace of change in drugs policy.

The World Today Published 1 August 2012 Updated 5 October 2020 1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

In the decades since Richard Nixon declared a ‘war on drugs’, a few battles have been won but most of the indicators point to defeat. Now a consensus is growing in favour of a radical re-think. President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia tells us that the burden of fighting the drugs trade has fallen too heavily on producer countries, like his own, or transit countries, such as Mexico. It is time for the consuming nations to get their houses in order.

In our cover story, Claire Yorke and Benoît Gomis argue that the guiding principle for policy-makers has to be a rigorous assessment of the balance of harm: does law enforcement cause more damage than the drugs themselves? Professor Mark Kleiman, one of the America’s most experienced drug policy analysts, predicts that cannabis will be legal in the US within 15 years.

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