Let's Get Real.
In 2012, both Colorado and Washington approved the recreational use of marijuana, yet possession or use of marijuana remains criminal in all other states. This illustrates the extent to which the war on drugs in the U.S. is largely misguided, focusing more on criminalizing drug use versus efforts toward harm reduction and treatment for current drug users.
A landmark study conducted by the UK and published on Wednesday shows that being “tough” on drugs is not correlated with actual drug use. Researchers studied 11 countries ranging from those with zero tolerance to those who have decriminalized possession of certain types of drugs. They found no significant effect of strict laws on drug use.
For example, laws regarding cannabis possession are similar in both the Czech Republic and Portugal, but levels of drug use in the Czech Republic are much higher than levels in Portugal.
Further, after experiencing fluctuations in drug use, Portugal now has lower drug use than it did in 2001. What is interesting about that, according to analyst Keith Mann is that the country decriminalized possession in 2001. Very interesting indeed.
These findings suggest that here in the U.S., we need to follow the lead of states like Washington and Colorado.