By Teresa Welsh |
GQ and the Huffington Post report that, if re-elected, the Obama administration will change the current strategy in the "war on drugs." Obama, who used marijuana and cocaine in his youth, has expressed that the approach to addressing drug abuse by strict enforcement and punishment alone does not work. However, federal authorities under his administration have cracked down on medical marijuana dispensaries across the country, even where their operations are legal under state law, leading many to question his commitment to changing drug enforcement policy.
Critics of the war on drugs say that it is actually making the problem worse. They argue that, by imprisoning small-time dealers and other low-level participants, authorities are breaking up impoverished families, dooming future generations to a similar fate. They say the government should spend fewer resources on the criminal aspect of drug use and more on the public health dimension, expanding treatment and rehabilitation. Some go as far to say marijuana should be legal, which could fill state coffers through taxes and regulation. However, others argue that calls for legalization and decriminalization are unrealistic and even dangerous, and that going soft on drugs will only lead to more use.
Is it time to scale back the war on drugs? Here is the Debate Club's take:
Neill Franklin Retired Cop and Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Aaron Houston Executive Director of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Foundation
David G. Evans Special Adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation