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Exposing the War on Cocaine - The Futility and Destructiveness of Prohibition

NCJ Number
Wisconsin Law Review Volume: 1983 Issue: 6 Dated: (1983) Pages: 1305-1426
S Witsotsky
Date Published
121 pages
This article argues that there are inherent limitations and dangers in the 'war on drugs' policy of the Reagan administration due to the character of the cocaine black market created. An alternative policy is suggested.
Geography and culture facilitate the production and delivery of cocaine to the United States and place it beyond effective governmental control. Law enforcement pressure inevitably creates lucrative entrepreneurial opportunities in the black market, and the $30 billion black market in cocaine produces highly destructive economic, social, and political consequences. The Federal drug enforcement system ignores the laws of supply and demand as well as the limits of the criminal sanction, sacrificing individual rights to the insatiable demands of the drug enforcement machinery. A more rational cocaine policy would permit its possession and sale under reasonable restrictions on time, place, and manner. The public use of drugs would be discouraged or prohibited, and specific injurious acts under the influence of cocaine would be punished. The use or sale of the drug per se would not be punished. Consumption would be rationed through taxation. 614 footnotes.