If insanity can be defined by ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’, then the Obama administration is certifiably nuts when it comes to drug policy. On Tuesday Vice President Joe Biden made a pledge of $107 million to continue to fight the ‘war on drugs’ in Central America. Biden, in Honduras, said, “We are sustaining support for the Central American Regional Security Initiative, through which we have dedicated $361 million since 2008. And we’re asking our Congress for another $107 million next year.”
What evidence do we have to show we are winning this 30 year-long drug war? None. What’s missing from our policy is the simple fact that people will use drugs whether they are illegal or not. We should have learned this lesson in the 1920s with alcohol prohibition but sadly human beings are doomed to repeat mistakes from generation to generation, but every once in a while we do learn a few things. When will we finally wake up and realize the war on drugs has been an incredible failure? When will we come to the sobering realization that we’ve spent 3 decades wasting law enforcement resources and tax payer dollars on an unachievable goal?
Biden made no mention of a hot regional debate on decriminalizing drugs — proposed last month by Guatemalan President Otto Perez — after insisting Monday in Mexico that the United States was firmly opposed to such a move.
The governments of Panama, El Salvador and Honduras have rejected legalization but, along with Costa Rica and Nicaragua, are open to discussing the issue.
Our elected officials have no courage at all on this issue. The likelihood is high that there are many high-ranking officials in the United States government fully aware of the failure of the war on drugs. We need one or more of them to make a stand.
Public opinion on legalization of all drugs may not be strong, but it has reached a tipping point when it comes to legalization of marijuana. I’m not, and I’ve never been, a drug user and I’m not advocating the use of drugs, I’m simply talking about a fresh perspective on a problem that we have clearly been unable to solve during the 30-year drug war.
Do we think the reason we have failed is because we haven’t thrown enough money and resources at the problem? Several states have begun to discuss and address years of failed policy by making marijuana legal for medical reasons. It’s time for the federal government to take a fresh approach on this issue instead of repeating failed policy and expecting a different result.