An unflinching analysis of one of the major issues of our time — the shift from criminalization to regulation of recreational drugs.
The “war on drugs” has failed. The cost of trying to control the production, sale, and use of recreational drugs through the criminal law is too high: unjust incarceration, illicit markets, tainted substances, exploited children, and an untaxed industry.
But there is an alternative.
The watchwords for governments controlling the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, junk food, and gambling are “permit but discourage.” All are legal, but harmful consumption is decreased by targeted regulatory strategies.
That same approach should be adopted for drugs. Legalization and regulation can attack the underground economy, drive down excessive use, provide revenue for prevention, treatment, and counselling, and better protect children.
Off the Street: Legalizing Drugs calls for a thoughtful, national discussion of the legalization and regulation of recreational drugs — the “least bad” way forward.