Whether you realize it or not, we’re entering a new chapter in the
War on Drugs. This legal debacle, spanning many decades, has done little
to slow the drug trade as much as it has done to overcrowd our prisons.
America is finally adopting a new strategy in a war that many considered
unwinnable — adapting to the problem.
California recently passed proposition 47, a law that affects a great number
of crimes such as possession of hard drugs. This new legislation actually
downgrades the legal penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor. This adaptation
isn’t just happening in the big states, though — change is
sweeping across the board.
Similarly, Vermont voted to offer treatment as an alternative to other
legal consequences of heroin possession. Public figures like Rahm Emanuel
has motioned to change laws in Illinois so anyone cited for 1 gram or less of
anycontrolled substance will no longer receive a felony charge. Finally, blue
states like Oregon, Alaska and DC have voted to legalize the possession
Florida may very well be impacted by these changes in an upcoming election.
Although the vote to legalize medical marijuana failed, voters are voicing
their support in record numbers. For major states like Florida and California
to rethink their drug laws, it’s safe to say there’s a national
The War on Drugs has been criticized from the opposition for lacking an
endgame — the notion that this battle could be won or lost oversimplifies
the complicated relationship between society and drug usage. Ratifying
drug laws to provide users treatment while also decriminalizing otherwise
petty offenses is a more efficient strategy than simply locking offenders
It’s vital to have better solutions to the drug problem in America
as it allows us to relax our focus and look elsewhere to improve our legal system.