In addition to voting for state and local candidates this Election Day, voters in 14 states will be asked about legalizing marijuana.
Reducing marijuana prohibition would be a major step toward ending the “war on drugs,” the government’s campaign against drug usage in the United States.
Related: The War on Drugs, Part 1
Declaring a war on drugs seemed like a good idea at its inception. Unfortunately, it has cost $1 trillion over the past four decades and failed to significantly reduce drug usage.
That’s not to say that the drug war hasn’t had an impact. Just the wrong kind of impact. Its role in locking up hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders has crippled numerous communities across the country and disproportionately hurt poor and minority people.
That’s right. Because of the government’s crackdown on drug usage, there’s been a 500 percent increase in the U.S. prison and jail population in the past 30 years, as one-third of all prison admissions are for drug crimes.
Meanwhile, it has only encouraged cartels, smuggling, black markets, and street violence.
See Also: Why Is Marijuana Legal in Some States and Not in Others
But there’s hope. As George Mason University Professor Donald Boudreaux explains in the new Learn Liberty video below, candidates from across the political spectrum are recognizing that the drug war has failed and are proposing reforms to end it.
For Republicans, that means treating drug abuse as a disease rather than as a crime. For many Democrats, it means arguing that states should have the right to set their own drug laws without interference from Washington.
Both parties support reform that emphasizes drug courts, methadone clinics, needle exchanges, and treatment centers over traditional courts, guns, swat raids, and prisons. With a few notable exceptions, then, both parties support an end to the drug war.
That means that no matter who wins on Election Day, we’ll hopefully all be victorious in this matter.