A 1930s California story shows why the war on drugs is a failure

Policies based on punishment and stigma will only make our drug problems spiral
Los Angeles Times (US)
Friday, June 16, 2017

For one bright and flickering moment last year, it looked like the global war on drugs was about to die. California – the sixth largest economy in the world – voted to fully legalize cannabis, while a smorgasbord of countries including Uruguay, Canada and Jamaica were also moving toward more sensible policies. But the drug war is suddenly back with even sharper claws. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions is reviving the worst of the old policies that led to mass incarceration. To understand the likely consequences of this grim renaissance, we could wheel out the familiar arguments that have been around for decades now – but, buried in the forgotten history of California, there is a story that explains the situation better than any abstract case.