James McEnaney: Why we must get serious about drug decriminalisation

CommonSpace columnist James McEnaney says it's time officials changed their thinking on drugs policy

IN the early 20th century, America spent years fruitlessly pursuing a policy of prohibition. The goal was to prevent the production, import, sale and consumption of alcohol; the result was an environment in which crime and drug addiction increased and organised crime built the foundations of an empire which endures to this day.

Now, in the early years of the 21st century, that same mistake is being made, only with different substances and on an international scale. As Cat Boyd points out in The National today, the prohibition of recreational drugs is inexorably linked to civil war, torture, dictatorship, disease and corruption, yet we are expected to believe that the war on drugs is not just right, but necessary. It isn’t.

Fortunately, dissent is becoming louder and harder to ignore, with official support for...

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