This year, exactly three decades after both Democrats and Republicans first focused on creating the office that today leads drug policy efforts, both parties should co-lead today's drug challenges based on what we know can work.
We have to acknowledge that a certain percentage of the population will never be entirely drug-free, and we have to figure out what to do about that. It's costly and regressive to continually respond with arrests, drug courts and incarceration.
This year the Obama Administration allocated more money for drug prevention and treatment programs -- $10.1 billion -- than for U.S. law enforcement and incarceration. This Administration understands substance dependence is a public health issue, not just a law enforcement issue.
Living in the U.S. has made me realize how far Mexicans are from winning the drug war. We can continue to fight the cartels but we will never be able to beat Uncle Sam's insatiable 23 million drug consumers.
The spread of HIV will not be stopped as long as drug use remains criminalized and as long as people who inject drugs are given up for lost. The current situation has quite literally resulted from a life-or-death decision made by politicians.
One alternative to the war on drugs is simply to provide these substances without cost to those who suffer from addictions. This should be done by health care professionals, and involves attacking the problem for what it is, a serious public health issue.
Just like ending alcohol prohibition, making the current crop of drugs legal simply means changing the laws. But changing the laws has been turned into a bloody legal and political battle that is about everything except drugs.
Some people might still think that marijuana prohibition is a fringe issue -- but if any of these people run for office, they'd better watch their back. The drug policy reform movement is on the verge of being not just respected -- but feared.
The question is, will the Romney campaign understand the relationships between these two freedom- and liberty-related issues and pilot a course to maximize gun owners' fear and marijuana reformers' distrust?