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.

breaking news

FHP investigating fatal crash on I-95 in Fort Pierce

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

Letters Will country’s ideological divide drive us to second civil war?

Ideological divide driving us to war? With the end of an extremely contentious presidential election, it is clear that our country is more divided than ever. Sadly, I don’t see any way to heal this rift. Our country is divided by deep-seated ideological beliefs. Just before the Civil War, our country was also divided along ideological lines....
cartoon
cartoon

CARTOON VIEW MIKE LUCKOVICH
POINT OF VIEW Negative signals from Legislature suppress job numbers

Headlines across Florida recently highlighted the strong private-sector jobs created in January. It’s true, January was a banner month for jobs with 51,000 new jobs added in Florida. Unfortunately, that’s where the good news turns to concern. That’s because brand-new U.S. labor statistics show Florida created fewer jobs in 2016 than...
We’re against emotionalism, except when we’re not

Conservatives have rightly taken pride in Neil Gorsuch’s calm and cerebral performance at his Senate confirmation hearings. Many commentators, along with Republican senators, have mocked Democrats for presuming to evaluate Gorsuch based on the outcomes of his cases. Did he “side with the little guy” or with big corporations? The right...
Editorial: Glades’ worries deserve answers but shouldn’t kill reservoir
Editorial: Glades’ worries deserve answers but shouldn’t kill reservoir

State Senate President Joe Negron walked into a lion’s den last weekend at Pahokee High School. A spillover crowd wanted their district’s Republican senator to see how strongly they oppose a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, and how fearful they are that agricultural land would go out of production, taking their jobs and sinking their...
More Stories