Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, admits he was wrong in his support for the “War on Drugs” and that it’s now time to call the war off because it’s doing far more harm than good.
“I see no progress in stopping the widespread use of drugs,” Barr concedes. “I'll even argue that America's drug problem is larger today than it was when Richard Nixon first coined the phrase, ‘War on Drugs,’ in 1972.”
Barr, a former federal prosecutor and congressman from Georgia, was once one of the federal drug war’s most vocal proponents. In the past, he advocated complete federal prohibition of medical marijuana and, in 1998, successfully blocked implementation of Initiative 59 – the legalization of marijuana for medical treatment.
Barr later reversed his position on medical marijuana and now supports ending marijuana prohibition.
“America's drug problem is only compounded by the vast amounts of money directed at this ongoing battle,” Barr says, noting that in 2005, more than $12 billion dollars was spent on federal drug enforcement efforts while another $30 billion was spent to imprison non-violent drug offenders.
Barr points to the huge incarceration tab in America, along with just a 30% interception rate of hard drugs, as reasons why the ‘War on Drugs’ has not succeeded.
“While it is clear the ‘War on Drugs’ has been a failure, it is not enough to simply acknowledge that reality,” Barr admits.
While short on specifics, Barr touts a program similar to the one adopted by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in the wake of last year’s tragic case in his home state of Georgia involving Chris Benoit. He believes vigorous drug testing might be an answer and recommends that it be used throughout private industry.
“We need to look for solutions that deal with the drug problem without costly and intrusive government agencies and, instead, allow for private industry and organizations to put forward solutions that address the real problems.”
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