Legalize It, Part II
In America, 37% of adults have tried marijuana; in the Netherlands the figure is 17%. Heroin usage rates are three times higher in the United States than in the Netherlands. Crystal meth, so destructive here, is almost nonexistent there. By any standard -- drug usage rates, addiction, homicides, incarceration and dollars spent -- America has lost the war on drugs.
And just as escalating the drug war over the past three decades hasn't caused a decrease in supply and demand, there's no good reason to believe that regulating drugs instead of outlawing them would cause an increase. If it did, why are drug usage rates in the Netherlands lower? People start and stop taking drugs for many different reasons, but the law seems to be pretty low on the list. Ask yourself: Would you shoot up tomorrow if heroin were legal?
~From today's Washington Post, by Peter Moskos, professor of criminal justice at John Jay College and the author of "Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore's Eastern District." He is a former Baltimore City police officer.