As election season gears up, a few political books have garnered attention. Certainly, Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" was revisited or poked fun at by many after vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's adoration of the objectivist literature came to light. Amazon is playing its part in highlighting popular election-themed books with its map that determines a state's party affiliation based on the number of "red" or "blue" books purchased there.
Still, some important topics are being skirted as far as political books are concerned. One such topic: The war on drugs. Just last summer, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a statement that "the war on drugs has failed," but what exactly does this mean? How can Americans help decrease illegal drug sales and usage? Do Americans even view this as an important objective? And how have Americans' opinions on drug policies changes over the years?
We've consulted experts on American drug policy, including authors and non-profit leaders, to suggest reading material that can help answer these questions, but here's a brief run-down of Romney's drug policy history:
-In 2004, he supported harsher penalties for drunk driving in Massachusetts.
-In 2005, he created legislation to up the fines for those in possession of methanphetamines.
-In 2007, 2011 and 2012 Romney supported funding "narco-terrorism" in Mexico and South America.
-Romney is known for having unclear views on the drug war, however. In a 2008 video, he stated that American money should be spent on handling teen drug prevention domestically, rather than attacking drug importation issues.
-Romney IS clear about one thing: He strongly opposes the legalization or marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.
Next week, we will highlight Barack Obama's stance on the war on drugs. Meanwhile, check out these books on the topic. Both new reads and older, more comprehensive histories are included:
HuffPost Live will be taking a comprehensive look at America’s failed war on drugs August 28th and September 4th from 12-4 pm ET and 6-10 pm ET. Click here to check it out -- and join the conversation.
"DRUG CRAZY: How We Got Into This Mess & How We Can Get Out" by Mike Gray "'Drug Crazy" was the product of a six-year, multi-country investigation that revealed a tragicomedy of errors almost unparalleled in human history. It has filled our prisons to the roof beams and destroyed our inner cities. A former ranking narcotics officer calls it, 'The worst social policy since slavery.'" -Mike Gray, Journalist, Screenwriter, Author, Producer and Documentarian, whose best known work includes the film "The China Syndrome," which he wrote, and the television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation," for which he has served as a writer and producer.
"Licit and Illicit Drugs: The Consumers Union Report on Narcotics, Stimulants, Depressants, Inhalants, Hallucinogens, and Marijuana - Including Caffei" by Edward M. Brecher "It has been out of print for many years but is still the best overall review of the problem ever written. It gives a good summary of what you would learn if you read the full text of every major government commission on drugs from around the world over the last 100 years." -Clifford Schaffer, founder of the Online Library of Drug Policy
"Drug Hang-Up" by Rufus King "This is an excellent history of the subject, written by a former president of the American Bar Association. It details a good deal of the lunacy behind the drug laws. He wrote the book because he once made the mistake of forming a committee with the American Medical Association to study US drug policy. You would think that rational analysis by two such prestigious organizations would be welcomed. It wasn't. That story is in the book and it tells a lot about the true nature of US drug policy." -Clifford Schaffer, founder of the Online Library of Drug Policy
"Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States" by Richard J. Bonnie and Charles H. Whitebread II "The most complete history of the marijuana laws." -Clifford Schaffer, founder of the Online Library of Drug Policy
"Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed: A Judicial Indictment Of War On Drugs" by James Gray "A good choice for a discussion of modern policy." -Clifford Schaffer, founder of the Online Library of Drug Policy
"Too High to Fail" by Doug Fine "It's my favorite book of the year. It's a great indictment of the war on drugs, and especially the war on pot, as well as a story of the medical cannabis industry in Mendocino County. It's immensely readable, Fine is an excellent story-teller." -Doug McVay, Common Sense for Drug Policy