You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

POINT OF VIEW Trump should surrender the drug war


There is apparently at least one campaign promise that Donald Trump intends to keep. As he said in a New Hampshire campaign video: “No drugs are coming in. We’re gonna build a wall. You know what I’m talking about. You have confidence in me. Believe me, I will solve the problem.”

Thus far, Trump’s actions match his rhetoric. He has tapped two bona fide drug warriors for high-level positions: Jeff Sessions for attorney general and John F. Kelly for secretary of Homeland Security.

Sessions has gone so far as to assert that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” casually overlooking the fact that more Americans have smoked pot than have voted for Trump. Kelly, for his part, testified before a Senate committee in April that drugs, including marijuana, represent an ongoing threat to our national security. Nowhere does he consider that ongoing prohibition is what makes the U.S. market so attractive to drug cartels in the first place.

Yet we do have a very real drug problem. The problem is that the government makes more than 1.2 million arrests annually of people possessing a controlled substance. Even where there is no subsequent jail sentence, these arrests cost the victims thousands in legal fees, fines and court costs. And those who are arrested are harmed more by their own government than most of them ever would have been by the drugs from which they were “saved.”

American taxpayers pay dearly, too. The drug war costs taxpayers — at the state and federal levels — more than $45 billion annually in direct costs, and an additional $50 billion a year in tax revenues that would follow from legalization. Together, that means the drug war destroys or damages almost 1 million American lives each year at an ultimate annual cost of almost $100 billion. We have waged the war for 45 years now, and have precious little to show for it.

The incoming Trump administration is doubling down on the failed policies of the past. Instead of looking to Colorado, Washington, Oregon and the other states that have surrendered the drug war, Trump is simply upping the ante.

And, as usual, Americans will pay. They will pay with their freedom, and they will pay with their money. And as is almost always the case in the war on drugs, it will all be for nothing.

ANTONY DAVIES, PITTSBURGH, PA. and JAMES R. HARRIGAN, LOGAN, UTAH

Editor’s note: Antony Davies is associate professor of economics at Duquesne University. James R. Harrigan is senior research fellow at Strata in Logan, Utah. They wrote this for InsideSources.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

POINT OF VIEW: Preserving our South Florida soils, uplands, wetlands

Currently, Southeast Florida continues to destroy many of its remaining open areas for development. These areas hold native plants, soils and habitat for migratory birds. We continue to focus on growth rather than quality of life. A large amount of the water in our area is ground water. In order to have clean ground water we need to have open areas...
CARTOON
CARTOON

CARTOON VIEW KEVIN SIERS
Rep. Mast wrong on health care

Rep. Mast wrong on health care I attended U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s last town hall meeting in Loxahatchee. When asked if he supported Social Security and Medicaid, he said, “I back them 100 percent.” When asked why he did not support the Affordable Care Act, he said: “People should not be forced to pay for something they do not...
LETTERS
LETTERS

Probation for teacher who kissed boy a disgrace I read your paper faithfully each day of the week. I am beyond appalled at the Post article, “Boca teacher gets a year’s probation for kissing 10-year-old student” (Tuesday) regarding the Boca teacher who was caught on camera kissing a 10-year-old boy in an empty classroom. His punishment...
Opinion: Political operator Stone sets stage for Anger Games

“Hate is a more powerful motivator than love.” According to the new Netflix documentary “Get Me Roger Stone,” that is one of the “rules” the self-described Republican “agent provocateur” has lived by. Stone, of course, is a showman. The “evil political operator” pose is to some degree an artifice...
More Stories