The international drug control regime is broken. Past approaches premised on a punitive law enforcement paradigm have failed, emphatically so. They have resulted in more violence, larger prison populations, and the erosion of governance around the world. The health harms associated with drug use have gotten worse, not better. The Global Commission on Drug Policy instead advocates for an approach to drug policy that puts public health, community safety, human rights, and development at the center. I have listed the five pathways to ending the drug war recommended by the Global Commission on Drug Policy that I chair. (Other members of the commission, ranging from Kofi Annan to Paul Volcker to former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo are listed after the recommendations.)
The war on drugs has had a devastating impact in the U.S. Yet, as Republicans and Democrats gather at their national conventions, neither party has taken a strong stand on the critical need to support drug policy reform. And that's surprising. Drug reform is not a partisan issue. For Republicans, reform efforts both ensure and secure states' rights and at the same time minimize waste of limited federal dollars. For Democrats, minorities who make up a large portion of their constituency disproportionately bear the greatest burden of current drug policies. And a Gallup Poll this past year found that fully 50 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.