right-arrow

The Brief

Get Up To Speed

It was 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs." $2.5 trillion dollars later, drug use is half of what it was 30 years ago, and thousands of offenders are successfully diverted to treatment instead of jail. And yet, 22 million Americans-9% of the population-still uses illegal drugs, and with the highest incarceration rate in the world, we continue to fill our prisons with drug offenders. Decimated families and communities are left in the wake. Is it time to legalize drugs or is this a war that we're winning?

View Debate Page
For:

Paul Butler

9 Items
Paul Butler
  • Former Federal Prosecutor & Professor, Georgetown Law
Read Bio
Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source
Saturday, May 1, 1999
Wednesday, December 31, 1969

The problem lies with power-drunk prosecutors and “tough on crime” lawmakers, who have enacted some of the world’s harshest sentencing laws. They mean well, but have created a system that makes a mockery of “equal justice under the law.”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Paul Butler used to send people to prison for drugs. Now he supports letting guilty drug offenders go.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Butler discusses his book “Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice” and whether or not good people can be prosecutors.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source

Paul Butler, author of ‘Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice,’ talks about jury nullification, and current issues in the war on drugs and criminal justice with Post-Exchange reporter Jamie Loo.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

If you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I have jury duty on July 2, and I can't wait. If I get put on a jury in a non-violent drug case, I'll vote "not guilty," based on my principles -- even if I think the defendant actually did it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
For:

Nick Gillespie

20 Items
Nick Gillespie
  • Editor-at-Large, Reason
Read Bio

In the wake of the D.C. shooting, some lawmakers are pushing for new regulations on firearms. But legislation should never be passed in the heat of a crisis.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Source

"Graboyes, a senior research analyst at George Mason's Mercatus Center, sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to outline immediate ways to grow the number of hospitals, doctors, and nurses to serve millions of newly insured patients."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Source

"When libertarians dole out blame for the growth of government, perhaps we should take a look in the mirror."

Monday, April 1, 2019
Source

"If single-payer couldn't make it out of Sanders' home state, there's no reason to try it on all of America."

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Source

"It will cost way too much, increase wait times, and slow down the development of new drugs."

Friday, September 13, 2019
Source

"If you or your parents can afford to pay your way, you should."
 

Monday, April 29, 2019

"Most college students borrow responsibly but the media can't stop showcasing people whose behavior is inexplicable and indefensible."
 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Somewhere in the 21st century, both Republicans and Democrats gave up on the idea of paying for your own stuff if you could afford to, replacing it instead with the notion that government can be all things to all people (or, government can be all things to your supporters and screw the other side). And here we are, with a government that will be running trillion-dollar deficits for the next decade or more." 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Nick Gillespie critiques Tom Wheeler and the Obama-era regulations.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Nick Gillespie argues that net neutrality regulations are unnecessary government overreach.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nick Gillespie discusses the repeal of net neutrality with fellow Reason journalists. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

With regards to net neutrality regulations, Nick Gillespie argues, “Goodbye fast-moving innovation and adjustment to changing technology on the part of companies, hello regulatory morass and long, drawn-out bureaucratic hassles.”

Monday, May 19, 2014

http://time.com/3578385/did-president-obama-just-break-the-internet/ 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Source
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Nick Gillespie critiques Burger King’s recent advertisement, which shows support for the 2015 net neutrality protections.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tom Wheeler and Nick Gillespie debate net neutrality.

Friday, December 1, 2017
Source

Gillespie and Welch answer the question: ‘What does a libertarian think about the war on drugs and how do we change it?’

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Source

Gillespie speaking at an SSDP conference on the topic of ‘What Would a Sensible Drug Policy Look Like,’ and discussing how drug prohibition functions as a ‘structuring event’ in American life, forcing all sorts of activity to pay hypocritical and misdirected lip service to a Just Say No mentality.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Legalize drugs and then tax sales of them. And while we're at it, welcome all forms of gambling (rather than just the few currently and arbitrarily allowed) and let prostitution go legit too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why is it that ostensibly pro-drug movies can never quite deliver the goods, can never quite depict drug use as something other than depraved?

Thursday, March 1, 2001
Against:

Asa Hutchinson

7 Items
Asa Hutchinson
  • Former Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration
Read Bio
Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Source

Transcript from Hannity & Colmes, Fox News August 16, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

(Scroll to page 286) Hutchinson lays out his strategy of a balanced approach to fighting drugs: enforcement, prevention and treatment in coordination.

Thursday, September 1, 2005
Source

Hutchinson and Judge Reggie Walton explain Congress’ decision to cut the mandatory sentence for the possession of crack cocaine which was much stiffer than that for powder cocaine.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Debate between Asa Hutchinson the former drug czar and Ethan Nadelmann the director of the Drug Policy Alliance, held at University of Arkansas.

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Source

An interview with the newly-appointed head of the Drug Enforcement Agency covering interdiction, supplier countries, and sentencing guidelines.

Monday, August 27, 2001
Against:

Theodore Dalrymple

8 Items
Theodore Dalrymple
  • Dietrich Weismann Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Read Bio
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Source

Theodore Dalrymple, an atheist, argues belief in God makes you a better person, both morally and practically.

Monday, April 21, 2003
Source

To regret religion is to regret Western civilization.

Monday, October 29, 2007
Source
Monday, October 1, 2007
Source

Dalrymple is outraged by the mollycoddling of drug addicts coming off heroin and the notion that their predicament is a matter of human rights.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Source

The extreme intellectual elegance of the proposal to legalize the distribution and consumption of drugs, touted as the solution to so many problems at once (AIDS, crime, overcrowding in the prisons, and even the attractiveness of drugs to foolish young people) should give rise to skepticism.

Saturday, March 1, 1997
Source

Dalrymple sparked a heated controversy with his book Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy. His argument that the official doctrine concerning drug addiction is mistaken and self-serving provoked criticism from various quarters--FrontPage invited Dalrymple to face some of his critics in this symposium.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Heroin doesn't hook people; rather, people hook heroin. It is quite untrue that withdr

Thursday, May 25, 2006

FOR

7 Items
down

Federal drug prohibition is not authorized by the Constitution and adult individuals should be free to make their own choices.

Thursday, October 25, 2007
David Boaz

After years of witnessing the ineffectiveness of drug policies -- and the disproportionate impact the drug war has on young black men  the authors, and other police officers, have begun to question the system.

Monday, August 17, 2009
Peter Moskos and Stanford 'Neill' Franklin

The drug war has been brutal -- complete with SWAT teams, tanks, bazookas, grenade launchers, and sweeps of entire neighborhoods -- but those who live in white communities have little clue to the devastation wrought. This war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies consistently show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates.

Monday, March 8, 2010
Michelle Alexander

The long-term impact that the tough-on-crime policies of the last two decades have had on prisoners and society. Housing nonviolent, victimless offenders with violent criminals for years on end can’t possibly help them reintegrate into society, which helps explain why four out of 10 released prisoners end up back in jail within three years of their release.

Friday, July 1, 2011
Veronique de Rugy

An economic perspective on the failure of the war on drugs. Demand for drugs is not affected by price the more the government tries to stop drug consumption, the more steeply consumers willingness to pay rises, which then provides greater incentives for dealers to bring drugs to market

Sunday, May 1, 2005
Gary S. Becker and Kevin M. Murphy

This report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition.

Monday, September 27, 2010
Jeffrey Miron and Katherine Waldock

The reasoning behind both the liberal and libertarian position supporting drug legalization.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Jeffrey A. Miron

AGAINST

6 Items
down

A picture of America's experience with drug use, the current state of the drug problem, and what might happen if America chooses to adopt a more permissive policy on drug abuse.

Thursday, May 1, 2003
Drug Enforcement Administration

Although it is clear the majority of U.S. citizens are in favor of keeping the use, sale, and possession of drugs illegal, much of the writing from the antilegalization viewpoint comes from law enforcement and government officials. Although many acknowledge that the so-called war on drugs has had mixed success, they believe that the alternative would have catastrophic effects on the nation.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Edmund Hartnett

Legalization is not an effective shortcut to law enforcement. On its own, it is unlikely to address a host of problems associated with organized crime.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Vanda Felbab-Brown

A future with legalized drugs would not get rid of a black market, reduce drug profits, or lower crime.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
William Bennett

Crack and heroin and meth are great, and I am going to give them to my brothers and sisters, my children and my grandchildren. If you find that statement absurd, irresponsible, or obscene, then at some level you appreciate that drugs cannot be accepted in civilized society.

Monday, May 7, 2012
John Walters

Stimson refutes the legalization arguments that marijuana is not addictive, that crime would diminish, and that tax revenue would outweigh any social costs of decriminalizing it.

Monday, September 13, 2010
Charles Stimson

OVERVIEW

5 Items
down

Follow the war on drugs from its inception under President Nixon.

Monday, April 2, 2007
National Public Radio

On March 8-9, 2012, the Baker Institute Drug Policy Program hosted a conference titled, 'The War on Drugs Has Failed. Is Legalization the Answer?' Martins summarizes the proceedings in this conference report.

Friday, June 29, 2012
William Martin

A few years ago it seemed unthinkable. But recently, public figures on both the Right and Left have called for the decriminalization of drugs. What are they thinking?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Nigel Farndale

In many countries, full jails, stretched budgets and a general weariness with the war on drugs have made prohibition harder to enforce.

Thursday, November 12, 2009
Economist

Julian Assange and Richard Branson; Russell Brand and Misha Glenny; Geoffrey Robertson and Eliot Spitzer. Experts, orators and celebrities who've made this their cause locked horns in an Intelligence Squared London & Google+ debate format.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Intelligence Squared

U.S. POLICY

3 Items
down

The Obama Administration's approach to drug control is described. It relies less on the previous enforcement-centric 'war on drugs' to one that incorporates evidence-based public health and safety initiatives such as substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Discussions about reducing the harms associated with drug use and antidrug policies are often politicized, infused with questionable data, and unproductive. This paper provides a nonpartisan primer that should be of interest to those who are new to the field of drug policy, as well as those who have been working in the trenches.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
RAND

Using a market framework, the book discusses the nature and effectiveness of efforts to tackle the nation's drug problems.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
David Boyum and Peter Reuter

MARIJUANA

4 Items
down

Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday in defiance of federal law, setting the stage for a possible showdown with the Obama administration.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Keith Coffman and Nicole Neroulias

Huffington Post talks to the four authors of Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Matt Ferner

Nine former Drug Enforcement Administrators argue that California would not earn more in state taxes from the legalization of marijuana because the supremacy of federal law would still make it a crime.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
John Bartels

NORML's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

3 Items
down

Prescription overdoses kill more people than heroin and cocaine. An LA Times review of coroner's records finds that drugs prescribed by a small number of doctors caused or contributed to a disproportionate number of deaths.

Sunday, November 11, 2012
Scott Glover

America's drug problem is shifting from illicit substances like cocaine to abuse of prescription painkillers, a change that is forcing policy makers to re-examine the long and expensive strategy of trying to stop illegal drugs from entering the United States.

Monday, July 16, 2012
Damien Cave and Michael S. Schmidt

As prescription drug abuse has risen, the DEA has come under increasing pressure from Congress to show it is containing the problem.

Monday, June 18, 2012
Reuters

LATIN AMERICA

3 Items
down

At a summit meeting of Western Hemisphere leaders in Cartagena, Colombia, several leaders urged that there be a wide-ranging discussion that even considered drug legalization as an alternative to the militarized war on drugs. Read Room for Debate contributors answer to the question: Is it time for Latin America and the United States to abandon the war on drugs and deal with the issue as a matter of public health rather than combat?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Room for Debate

When President Obama arrives in Colombia for a hemispheric summit this weekend, he will hear Latin American leaders say that the U.S.-orchestrated war on drugs, which criminalizes drug use and employs military tactics to fight gangs, is failing and that broad changes need to be considered.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Juan Forero

Latin American leaders entertain the idea of legalizing drugs after seeing the shortcomings of the American-led war on drugs in their countries.

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Alma Guillermoprieto

NETHERLANDS

3 Items
down

Drug-related information and date from the EMCDDA.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

A ruling in the Dutch courts means that foreigners heading to Amsterdam's famous marijuana cafes will soon be banned from buying cannabis in a bid to end drug tourism to the Netherlands.

Friday, April 27, 2012
Bruno Waterfield

The introduction of a "weed pass" in three Dutch provinces has resulted in an increase in illegal street sales of marijuana, researchers said.

Monday, July 9, 2012
UPI

PORTUGAL

4 Items
down

Drug-related information and date from the EMCDDA.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Ten years after Portugal's policy experimental that decriminalized drug use and treated addicts rather than punishing them the number of addicts have fallen.

Friday, July 1, 2011
Agence France Presse

The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success.

Thursday, April 2, 2009
Glenn Greenwald

The EMCDDA report on Portugal, 10 years after drug decriminalization.

Saturday, October 1, 2011
Reitox National Focal Point

DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE

2 Items
down

DPA looks at the whole picture of drug use, including making a distinction between the harm that can be caused by the substance itself and the harm caused by drug war policies.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Read statistics like the amount the U.S. spends annually on the war on drugs (more than $51,000,000,000) here.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

U.S. DRUG FACTS

4 Items
down

This large national survey compiles data on the illicit drug, alcohol and tobacco use of Americans aged 12 and older.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Drug law violations.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Source
Bureau of Justice Statistics

Drug abuse arrests for the year 2010 broken down by crime and geographic region.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Source
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Information on penalties, incarceration and fines for drug possession and sale by state as well as federal penalties.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Source
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Polls

1 Items
down

A record-high 50% of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal, up from 46% last year. Forty-six percent say marijuana use should remain illegal.

Monday, October 17, 2011
Frank Newport