As drugs minister in the Home Office I saw how prohibition fails to reduce the harm that drugs cause in the UK, fuelling burglaries, gifting the trade to gangsters and increasing HIV infections. My experience as Defence Secretary, with specific responsibilities in Afghanistan, showed to me that the war on drugs creates the very conditions that perpetuate the illegal trade, while undermining international development and security. My departure from the front benches gives me the freedom to express my long held view that, whilst it was put in place with the best of intentions, the war on drugs has been nothing short of a disaster,”
– Bob Ainsworth, Britain’s former drugs minister.
OK, so I’m trying to decide where I come down on legalization of drugs. The War on Drugs has obviously been and still is an abject failure. We’re spending billions and it’s not getting us anywhere as far as cutting narcotics use, and it’s spreading crime and violence across the world.
So, some (by no means all) arguments in favor of a controlled legalization: It takes the drug biz away from the drug gangs and it provides a much-needed government revenue stream and allows for the money poured into prohibition to be redirected to other pressing needs.
Some (by no means all) arguments against: That it’ll lead to even more people (especially teens) to experiment with—and get hooked on—drugs, that if the government can’t keep teens from buying beer and cigarettes then why should we believe that it could control drug distribution, and that is immoral.
Having an uncle who has been using heroin off and on for going on 50-plus years (yeah, he’s still alive) and as someone who has never partaken in any sort of illegal drug (or even smoked a cigarette), I still think I’m coming down on the side of legalization. I haven’t totally made my mind up, but that’s the way I’m leaning.