Having spent my life in a large urban community, I have seen the tragic consequences of drug abuse first hand. I have also learned that what politicians call the "drug problem" is actually an addiction problem. One thing addicts learn in treatment is that insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results. History has shown that our federal drug policy is insane.
In 1919, "progressives" saw alcohol consumption as a great evil, and they wanted to ban it on a national scale. Recognizing that the federal government lacked the authority to do this, they proposed and passed the 18th amendment, which took away the right of individuals to consume the beverages of their choice.
Under Prohibition, alcohol consumption actually increased. Worse yet, American cities became war zones with newly rich gangsters fighting over turf in the lucrative booze trade. After just 15 years, Americans had finally had enough, and the 21st amendment was passed in 1933 to repeal Prohibition.
But did we learn from this failed experiment?
Years later, the federal government declared a War on Drugs. This time, however, it didn't pass a constitutional amendment to give it the authority: It just created it out of thin air.
If the federal government needed a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol in 1919, why does it not need one to continue the prohibition of marijuana and other drugs today?
Regardless, once again, our inner cities have been turned into war zones. The scarcity created by drug prohibition leads to higher prices and greater profits for drug dealers. This gives them an incentive to expand their markets. If politicians grasped basic economics, they wouldn't be surprised to learn that drug prohibition leads to more drug use, not less.
As a result of the Drug War, the "Land of the Free" now has a larger portion of its citizens in prison than any other country on Earth. Many of these people are incarcerated for the non-crime of altering their body chemistry in a manner that doesn't meet with the government's approval. Others are in prison for violent crimes they committed as a result of the black market created by drug prohibition. Either way, families are destroyed and the taxpayer foots the bill.
I boldly assert that politicians who have voted to continue drug prohibition are criminals themselves! They are in direct violation of their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution. The Constitution only grants the federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce (trade between states), not intrastate commerce (trade within a state).
While individual states are empowered to regulate or prohibit drugs by the 10th amendment, and the federal government is authorized to regulate the importation and interstate trade of drugs, these are powers that would be best left unexercised. The prohibition of drugs, just like the prohibition of alcohol, has been a failed experiment, and it should be abandoned immediately.