Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lord Black on the drug war

Lord Black has an interesting piece at NRO. I recently attended a luncheon of the Conservative Business network in Montreal with HM Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson (who I have know for many years). It was a lot of fun and there wer many of my friends in attendance. HM Minister made some remarks on our tough on crime agaenda, which I generally support. After his speech I asked HM Minister about decriminalizing small amounts of drugs and increasing rehab beds like in Portugal. I said that jailing addicts serves very little purpose. He agreed with that and said that there are already drug courts that divert users from jail to rehab. He also said HM Government would still go after grow ops and dealers. At this point , I actually support the Portuguese law and would decriminalize up to 6 days worth of all drugs, but encourage rehab!

It is indicative of the failure of the current election to deal with real issues, apart from unease about deficits and curiosity about the endless military effort in the Near East, that, once again, almost nothing is asked or uttered about the proverbial War on Drugs, even as the virtual civil war it has caused in Mexico is amply publicized. Almost everyone agrees that hard drugs are a criminal problem, even if there is disagreement about how to fight them and dissatisfaction with the progress to date in doing so. But marijuana, cannabis, is an astonishing story of the hideously expensive and protracted failure of official policy.

There was a an increase of 600 percent in the federal drug-control budget, from $1.5 billion to $18 billion, between 1981 and 2002, and it is almost certainly now over $25 billion, and yet cannabis as an industry is an almost perfect illustration of the unstoppable force of supply-side economics. Between 1990 and 2007, there was a 420 percent increase in cannabis seizures by drug-control authorities, to about 140,000 tons; a 150 percent increase in annual cannabis-related arrests, to about 900,000 people; a 145 percent increase in average potency of seized cannabis (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol content); and a 58 percent decline, inflation-adjusted, in the retail price of cannabis throughout the United States.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not until the American government changes its "War on Drugs" policy will anything change for the better.

I Support Lord Black