The war against drugs came about because there was a desire on the part of the American government to utterly destroy the trade in prohibited drugs and, to that end, they committed a large amount of resources in manpower and organizational structures to accomplish that objective.
America had a previous experience in their efforts to enforce their laws prohibiting the trade in the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. After a few years, they stopped short of declaring a war against alcoholic liquors and, decided to control its consumption through the use of taxation.
That the war against drugs, which has been going on longer than World War I (four years) and World War II (six years) combined, was unwinnable, must have occurred to its advocates long ago, and, that the law was ill-conceived may have occurred to its proponents. It should be noted, however, that there are powerful vested interests in the pursuit of the war, such as the office of the Drug Czar and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Also, there are many who cannot bear the thought of conceding defeat. They remind of the general who said, “I am going to convince the inhabitants (of a town) about what is good for them, even, if I have to kill them all.”
Now these studies, by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, are showing that the harm that the war against drugs has done and is doing to societies is greater than the objective it hopes to achieve. I think it is time for our leaders to take the lead.
Decriminalizing a drug does not mean that society considers its use desirable or acceptable. Institutions and organizations like the armed forces, the public service, and sporting associations will still have the right to ban its use.