The War On Drugs Has Failed. Americans Know It. So What Gives?

A new Rasmussen poll shows a large majority of Americans believe the United States is not winning the war on drugs. Eight-two percent to be exact. And only four percent say the U.S. is winning the drug war. I’d like to know who those people are, because it’s undeniable that the war on drugs has been an abject failure.

But forget about all drugs for the moment, let’s just focus on marijuana. Recent polls show a plurality or even a majority of Americans supporting marijuana legalization. A Pew poll from this past April showed 52% supporting legalization, while 45% were opposed.

Yet even with so much support for legalization we have this…

NOMRL — Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The arrest total is among the highest ever reported by the agency and is nearly identical to the total number of cannabis-related arrests reported in 2009.

According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (52 percent) of all drug arrests in the United States. An estimated 46 percent of all drug arrests are for offenses related to marijuana possession.

Why are we arresting over three-quarters of a million Americans each year for marijuana-related offenses? In some cases it could be ideology, or a jaded sense of law and order, but in other cases it simply comes down to money. From privately run prisons that rely on a steady stream of drug offenders to make a profit, pharmaceutical companies that want you to buy their “legal” drug instead, to police and prison guard unions who need to protect existing jobs by keeping incarceration rates high, there are a lot of people who stand to lose a lot of money if marijuana is legalized. And in a country that worships at the altar of free market capitalism, and saving any job at any cost, this should surprise no one.

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