As long as everybody who reads this understands that the question of the end of the war on drugs begins with a WHEN and not an IF. The war on drugs is coming to end simply because if it does not, the entire system will fall apart at the hands of its shortcomings.
The multitude of ways that the war on drugs has failed the USA has been talked about endlessly and everyone forgets to mention the one enormous thing that has been gained from it. As a result of the treachery of the war on drugs, the world has finally come to the realization that prohibition needs to end. Perhaps without this complete and utter failure of the US government, that might never have happened.
What is the war on drugs?
The War on Drugs is a campaign started by President Richard Nixon in 1971. Although it was long after prohibition, this was when it was declared that the United States government could impose military intervention on the basis of drugs. It was also declared that more US resources would be devoted to reducing the illegal drug trade, which Nixon coined “public enemy number one”.
And so the US government waged an all-offensive war against drug use and abuse.
What is the current situation of the war on drugs?
The current situation of the war on drugs is an illegal US drug market worth about $500 billion dollars – much larger than it was in 1971.
It means that the US houses 22 percent of the world’s prisoners, despite the fact that its population only makes up 4.4 percent of the world’s population. And half of the inmates currently in federal prison in the US are there for drug offenses.
The current situation is that the US is spending about $500 per second, or $15 billion in 2010, to support the war on drugs. It is all taxpayer money. A lot of this is spent to house the prisoners in there for drug use.
In fact, the Congress passed a bill in 1998 denying any financial federal assistance to anyone ever convicted of a felony or drug offense, which includes the possession of marijuana. This has led to more homelessness and more crime.
For a lot of those people with serious drug problems, the war on drugs has meant that their only method of treatment is to get arrested.
So, this is the current situation of the war on drugs. It has caused an illegal drug economy almost the size of a country, more prisoners at the cost of taxpayer money and more people who need serious help end up homeless. It’s not a very good situation.
Is there anyone still supporting the war on drugs?
Given the situation that the war on drugs has created in the USA, it’s hard to believe that anybody still supports the war on drugs. Most people have changed their minds in the last few years, and the movement is beginning to take place. However, there are still some people in government who want the war on drugs to continue.
Recent polls that have been hosted by all kinds of researchers suggest that there are few Americans left who believe that the war on drugs has been worthwhile. A HuffPost poll found that only 19 percent of participants said that the war on drugs was worth the price, and 53 percent said it was not.
The latest Gallup Poll found that more than half of Americans supported legalizing marijuana. However, in its latest budget, the White House has still submitted $25.6 billion to combat drug use, and that’s just at a federal level. So we can suppose that the Obama administration is yet to jump on the bandwagon.
There are politicians who are supporting the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, such as Senator Bernie Sanders. There are more out there, and when their voices are loud enough they will speak up, too.
Legalization has put the wheels in motion
The legalization of marijuana in certain states for recreational use was the first step towards the end of prohibition. And the end of prohibition means the end of the war on drugs. It means that there are governments who are acknowledging that there is no benefit of putting marijuana users in jail. It is only a matter of time before this attitude filters its way to a federal level. This is because as the country collaborates its forces from all states, the federal government will have no choice but to respond.
It is also important to realize the demographic of the world at this moment. The attitude is generally more liberal among young people because they have had the opportunity to make more independent decisions. As this generation becomes older and takes the place of the baby boomers, the attitude will naturally change. Young politicians entering their careers are entering with much more liberal mindsets than those who preceded them. When they are presidents, things will change.
The wheels are already in motion to the end of the war on drugs. The consequences have been so dire that if it does not end, it is likely the entire system will crumble at its hands in the USA. There will be more crime, more homelessness and more bloodshed than the system will be able to support.