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Crime File: Legalization of Drugs

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Following an overview of the nature and effects of some drug legalization in Holland, this video examines arguments for and against drug legalization as presented by panelists Ethan Nadelmann, assistant professor at Princeton University, and Herbert Kleber, deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
In Holland, soft drugs such as marijuana and hashish are legal; and in the case of hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine, only drug traffickers are arrested and prosecuted. Three Dutch spokespersons present their views on the benefits and dangers of this policy. Nadelmann argues that a public health approach to drug abuse promises to be more effective than the current criminalization strategy. He argues that the huge criminal justice costs involved in the current U.S. drug policy have not significantly reduced drug abuse. He does not believe that legalization will significantly increase drug use. Kleber argues, on the other hand, that the current policy of criminalization in concert with prevention and treatment is beginning to bring a decline in drug abuse. He believes that legalization would work against prevention and treatment efforts, as the rate of addiction would increase, along with crime associated with the effects of drugs on behavior.

Date Published: January 1, 1990