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The beginning of the end?

November 9, 2015

Ireland, Mexico, Canada Defect from the War on Drugs

On November 3, Ohio voters rejected a flawed plan to legalize marijuana, even though most Ohioans are in favor of legalization. The measure would have amended the state constitution to legalize the sale of cannabis, but only through a state-sanctioned drug cartel of ten licensed dealers.

But there are other encouraging signs that the War on Drugs is losing steam.

On November 4, Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sworn into office. Trudeau and the Liberal Party promise to legalize marijuana in Canada, which would make it only the second country to formally legalize the sale and consumption of cannabis. (Uruguay became the first, in 2013 — contrary to popular belief, pot is not technically legal in the Netherlands, but it is tolerated).

On November 3, the Irish government announced decriminalization of not just marijuana but also heroin and cocaine. The chief of Ireland’s National Drugs Strategy told the papers there was a “strong consensus that drugs across the board should be decriminalised.” […]

Decriminalization is a far cry from legalization — it’s still a crime to make, sell, or “profit from” drugs — but users and addicts would no longer be locked up for their personal consumption. The results from Portugal’s decriminalization of all drugs in 2001 have been extremely extraordinary: deaths, addiction, and HIV infections from drugs have all dropped precipitously.

Perhaps the most heartening news comes from Mexico, where the drug war has raged for decades. On November 5, the criminal chamber of the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on marijuana was unconstitutional and found that individuals have a right to grow, possess, and use marijuana.

DEA delenda est!

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