The fully demonstrated and absolutely unsurprising consequences of criminalization

Nice piece at The Age today by Michael Coulter: The long-running war on drugs has failed: we need to legalise now

It would be nice to say that the war on drugs had achieved nothing. The truth is far worse.

The truth is the war on drugs has filled our jails, enriched the worst among us, wasted scarce police resources and blotted up millions of dollars that could have been far better spent. It has been an unmitigated disaster and it needs to stop.

This is the point that we have made here time and time again, and that is so important. Prohibition isn’t free. And yet, those who argue against legalization are often unwilling to even acknowledge the horrific costs of criminalization.

But if many now argue that drugs should be treated as a health problem rather than a law enforcement one, few are prepared to take the next step and call for full legalisation. It’s a debate we desperately need to have, because prohibition has had its day.

It certainly has.

And this frustrates me sometimes. In the past week, I’ve seen both an article and a panel discussion that purported to address the “unintended consequences of marijuana legalization.” Really? You’re going to go there?

I respect their right to have that discussion, but forgive me for not giving a damn about what they have to say, unless they have first established their bona fides in critiquing the destructive consequences of criminalization that we have faced for so many years.

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