2016 Presidential Election: War On Drugs

Don Boudreaux,

Release Date
June 23, 2016


War on Drugs

Are SWAT raids and mandatory minimum sentences really the right way for the government to address drug use?
Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are talking up legalization, with Trump saying that states should be able to decriminalize drugs without federal interference.
Letting more states go the way of Colorado might help with America’s growing drug problem and skyrocketing prison populations.
What do you think? Does Bernie have a pot policy to believe in? Would Trump roll a yuge blunt for America?  Comment and let us know.

Fiending for more political videos? Grab your Doritos and subscribe to our channel for summer binge-learning — new Learn Liberty videos every week, three times a week, all summer long. You don’t even have to get off the couch.

3 things You NEED to Know about Mandatory Prison Sentencing (Video): One of the worst consequences of the War on Drugs has been prison overcrowding. In this video, you’ll learn a little bit more about the policies that’s making this happen.
Guide to Election Season (program): 2016 is heating up, which is why we’re cutting through the noise to bring you the most important issues of the election- drug policy, terrorism, immigration, and more. Join Professor Don Boudreaux in this On Demand Program designed to give you the information you need this election season.
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>> I’m Don Boudreaux, and today we’re talking about.
>> Illegal drugs.
>> The epidemic of heroine.
>> Recreational use of marijuana.
>> Mexican cartels.
>> The war on drugs.
>> Today, drug use, especially heroine and other opioids, is at an epidemic level across much of America’s heartland. In 2014, the number of deaths from drug overdoses exceeded the number of car crashes or guns.

There is increased recognition among candidates from both sides of the aisle, that the war on drugs, which has cost one trillion dollars over the past four decades and done little to stop drug use, is not an appropriate way to solve the problem. Mostly democratic candidates And its argue for policy reforms that treat drug abuse as a disease rather than as a crime.

They point out that the war on drugs is responsible for over criminalization, cartels, smuggling, a black market, the rocketing incarceration, and street violence. Misguided criminal justice policy that requires mandatory minimum sentencing for drug violations is partially responsible for the fact that the number of people in US prisons or jails has increased by about 500% just over the past 30 years.

To the point where about one-third of all prison admissions are for drug crimes.
>> Too many lives have been destroyed by this so called war on drugs.
>> These candidates also highlight that the criminalization of this non-violent offense has crippled communities and left millions with limited employment prospects and on the margins of their society.

>> Not only do the drugs damage them, we damage them again by incarcerating them. And then preventing them from getting employment over time.
>> Recognizing these problems, Republican candidates often argue that states should have the right to reform their drug laws and legalize marijuana use as they see fit without interference from Washington.

>> Then I really believe you should leave it up to the states. It should be a state situation.
>> Candidates from both parties support reform that emphasizes drug courts, methadone clinics, needle exchanges and treatment centers. But with traditional courts, guns, swat raids, and prisons. Experts agree that treating drug abuse as a medical condition is far cheaper and more effective than treating it as a crime.

Some candidates also point at that states such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Have legalized Marijuana use and seen hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.
>> Look into what’s going on in Colorado and elsewhere. But I am not unfavorably disposed to moving toward the legalization of Marijuana.

>> Several other states are considering following suit on election day, with support from many local candidates. One presidential candidate has even highlighted how basic economics can beat drug cartels. Legalizing or decriminalizing drug use allows competitors to cut into the monopoly profits of violent drug cartels, who rely on black markets to reap their profits.

On the other hand, intensifying the drug war, only drives up the price of drugs and consolidates the power of drug cartels. Some republican candidates, however, still believe in an enforcement first drug policy. They want to intensify the war on drugs to try to ever protect public health. They argue that the consequences of the drug war are the acceptable price that we pay to keep drug use to a minimum.

So what do you think? How should drug policy be reformed? Should drug use be legalized?