5 Nobel Prize Winning Economists and Several World Leaders: End the War On Drugs

It’s Become Obvious to Everyone that the War On Drugs Is a Failure

We noted last year that stopping the “War On Drugs” would save the U.S.  $85 billion to $90 billion per year.

After all, a single state – Colorado – pulled in around $2 million dollars in taxes on marijuana sales in the first month after legalizing pot.

Last week, we pointed out that a new poll shows that the American people are sick of the war on drugs, noting that a broad majority of Americans are ready to significantly reduce the role of the criminal justice system in dealing with people who use drugs.  The poll found:

  • 63% of Americans think that we should stop mandatory prison terms for drug law violations
  • 54% are in favor of marijuana legalization
  • 67% say the government should focus more on providing treatment for people who use drugs like cocaine and heroin, and only 26% think the focus should be more on prosecuting people who use such drugs

Now, 5 Nobel prize winning economists and several world leaders have chimed in and called for an end to the War On Drugs.

Huffington Post writes:

The report, titled “Ending the Drug Wars” and put together by the London School of Economics’ IDEAS center, looks at the high costs and unintended consequences of drug prohibitions on public health and safety, national security and law enforcement.

“The pursuit of a militarized and enforcement-led global ‘war on drugs’ strategy has produced enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage,” says the 82-page report. “These include mass incarceration in the US, highly repressive policies in Asia, vast corruption and political destabilization in Afghanistan and West Africa, immense violence in Latin America, an HIV epidemic in Russia, an acute global shortage of pain medication and the propagation of systematic human rights abuses around the world.”

The report urges the world’s governments to reframe their drug policies around treatment and harm reduction rather than prosecution and prison.


In addition to contributions from [London School of Economics professor Danny] Quah and a dozen other foreign and drug policy experts, the report has been endorsed by five past winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics: Kenneth Arrow (1972), Sir Christopher Pissarides (2010), Thomas Schelling (2005), Vernon Smith (2002) and Oliver Williamson (2009). Also signing on to the report’s foreword are a number of current and former international leaders, including George Shultz, secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan; Nick Clegg, British deputy prime minister; and Javier Solana, the former EU high representative for common foreign and security policy.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, who has announced that his government may present a plan to legalize production of marijuana and opium poppies by the end of 2014, has also publicly backed the report. Molina plans to discuss the report at the U.N.

Why has the War On Drugs continued so long when it is harmful and counter-productive? We wouldn’t want to be  cynicalwould we?

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