The Guardian has a very powerful editorial: The war on drugs and the shameful silence of our politicians
This week a major international summit on drugs will be hosted by Baroness Meacher in the House of Lords. No one from Downing Street will attend. No front line British politicians will be there to listen and learn from international medics, academics, politicians and economists who will reflect on lessons learnt from, and debate new approaches to, the “war on drugs”.
Privately, senior politicians have encouraged the hosting of the event and told organisers that they are sympathetic to a new discussion about drugs legislation â€“ but only once public opinion has shifted. They signal privately that there is a need for change, but do nothing to lead that debate.
The editorial goes on to talk about the taboo that exists regarding talking about reform.
The taboo shows no sign of being broken by Britain’s spineless political class, despite this generation of leaders being the first to have widespread, first-hand experience of illegal drugs. They will undoubtedly have come across cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy throughout their university, social and professional lives. Some of their best friends â€“ and colleagues â€“ will have taken them. […]
Instead, the leading voices in calling for a new discussion about the war on drugs are coming from Latin America. In today’s Observer, Colombia’s President Santos speaks eloquently about the price his country has paid as a drug “producing nation” servicing the demand for illicit drugs in “consumer nations”, principally in Europe and the US.
The Guardian pulls no punches…
It is unconscionable for the leaders of the largest consuming nations â€“ the US, UK and Spain â€“ to remain silent any longer. […]
The war on drugs has failed. When policies fail it is incumbent on our leaders to look for new ones. They show no signs of doing so â€“ even as Latin America’s body politic is threatened by the tentacles of the narco gangs who pay off politicians, judges, journalists and policemen â€“ or just kill them, so that they can better transport drugs to us.
Prohibition has failed. As we noted last year: “If the purpose of drug policy is to make toxic substances available to anyone who wants them in a flourishing market economy controlled by murderous criminal gangs, the current arrangements are working well.” Milton Friedman was right, 20 years ago, when he said: “If you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true”.