Originally Posted by Drek
Actually, I specifically spelled out a solution to the issue that is currently working.
Something like weed you just legalize, as its no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco and therefore not worth the government's time beyond regulation of distribution and preventing illegal trafficking and underage purchases.
Everything else you decriminalize (not legalize) at small amounts tied strictly to personal use. Trafficking and large quantity possession is still a felony, but small amounts obviously for personal use are handled administratively. Jail does not fix addiction, rehab does. You said this yourself when talking about colleagues who've cleaned up through rehab. This is where we need to funnel users if the goal is to get them clean and not to feed the penal system with fresh convicts.
Rehab works. Not all the time, but a hell of a lot more often than incarceration. It's also cheaper than incarceration for state and federal governments. So why do we let misconceptions anyone who looks into this can clearly see continue to direct our drug policy?
I have never understood why people are so afraid of taxing weed and drugs. By a wide margin the largest 2 problems associated with drug use are crimes committed to support drug use and organized crime associated with production, transportation and retail. By putting long time addicts on a government program where they will be channeled into rehab or put under observation in return for government sponsored facilities for taking drugs and government dispensaries will save society a ton of money. You knock out the petty crime such as turning tricks, shop lifting, purse snatching, home invasions, muggings aimed at supporting the habit and you reduce your health care costs significantly as you don't get people ODing as often or suffering other health issues from taking tainted drugs and you can provide clean materials to reduce the spread of HIV, HEP-B and HEP-C etc.
By removing a large part of the market you also weaken organized crime and by taking away the weakest segment of drug users you make it much more difficult for gangs to control the market which in turn makes them easier to target.
As for weed, just make it like tobacco, put rules on who can sell it, tax it and put an age limit in place for when you can buy it. Like alcohol and prescription medicine you make it illegal to drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence.