Obviously, there are big differences between drugs, both in the effect they have on the user and in their addictive and/or harmful potential. Some drugs that are generally considered addictive are not really addictive, while others that are freely available (such as sugar or nicotine) are both addictive and dangerous to users` health, but are still legal and widely used in society. In light of the above, it does not matter whether drug use – in itself and regardless of how the drugs are obtained – is good or bad: people take drugs, and the war on drugs is a costly, ineffective and extremely harmful policy to stop them. So the question is: how should drug policy be reformed in the face of the failure of the war on drugs? Regulation can and should be realistic and adaptable, evolve over time to reduce damage, and eventually shift all trade to the legal market for years where it can be controlled and taxed. It is necessarily a balancing act: if it is too difficult or too expensive for consumers to legally buy their favorite drugs, the black market will remain. If it`s too easy or too cheap, it could lead to greater addiction. The transition to legal drug markets is possible: the United States did it for alcohol in 1933, when prohibition ended, and still does it for cannabis. One problem is that you could justify everything with such an argument. Theft has certainly existed for as long as human societies have existed, and so have murders, rapes, wars and many other evils. Does that mean that we have the right to continue doing these things, or that we should support them because they have always existed? That doesn`t make sense. Second, the war on drugs cannot be won. People take drugs in the hope of feeling joy and relieving their distress.
These desires do not disappear. People who want drugs are also not deterred by criminal sanctions: a 2014 Interior Ministry report found “no clear link between a country`s tough enforcement against drug possession and the level of drug use in that country.” It is also virtually impossible to stop the supply of such profitable products – a kilo of cocaine can be bought in Colombia for $1,500, but is sold on US roads for 40 times more. Law enforcement suffers from the “balloon effect”: the successful compression of production in one area only moves it to another location. The legalization of marijuana puts the United States in a weak position when it comes to holding other countries accountable for legal agreements.  “This is a path that the United States, with its keen interest in international institutions and the rule of law, should follow with great caution,” wrote Wells Bennett, a fellow in national security law at the Brookings Institution, and John Walsh, senior associate in Washington`s Latin America office.  One option would be the unconditional and unregulated legalization of all currently illegal drugs. This would allow children to go to a store for a candy bar and a bag of heroin. Obviously, this is a terrible idea.
It is questionable whether and to what extent an unregulated legal drug market would be an improvement over what we currently have – an unregulated illicit market. Should drugs be legalized? What for? Is it time to lift the ban on recreational drugs like marijuana and cocaine? Can drug trafficking be stopped? If so, what would be the best way to reduce consumption? What do you think recreational drugs should legalize or decriminalize? Which of them? Is drug legalization lax on crime? Does drug prohibition complicate police work and divert resources from other, more important issues? Join the discussion and share arguments and resources in the forum below. There is also evidence of successful partial decriminalization in Canada, Switzerland, Portugal and Uruguay. Other countries, such as Ireland, seem to be following a similar path and plan to decriminalize some recreational drugs soon. In addition, at the request of the Presidents of Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala, the United Nations held a special session on drugs on drugs, UNGASS 2016. The objective of this session was to analyze the impact of the war on drugs. Explore new options and establish a new paradigm in international drug policy to prevent the flow of resources to organized criminal organizations. This meeting was seen as an opportunity and even a call for far-reaching reforms of drug legislation.
However, the end result could neither change the status quo nor trigger ambitious reform. It turns out that legalizing drugs is not a public policy option that lends itself to simplistic or superficial debate.