"For every complex problem," H.L. Mencken wrote, "there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong."Very true, but I'm not sure what will work and what will not work. The libertarian in me says that prohibition is not working, the cop in me says that drug use impacts society far beyond what appears to be a victimless crime, the citizen in me says that we've got too many laws of all kinds. It's a complex problem and Mencken is right, the answer that is clear and simple is also wrong.
That is especially true of drug abuse and addiction. Indeed, the problem is so complex that it has produced not just one clear, simple, wrong solution but two: the "drug war" (prohibition plus massive, undifferentiated enforcement) and proposals for wholesale drug legalization.
This is a national conversation that we should have. More particularly, this a national conversation that the states should have. Let the states work their drug laws to their advantage and let's see as a nation what works. We've got fifty laboratories and one of them is bound to get it right. Let's get the Feds out of the drug business except for the most egregious cases of smuggling and let the states decide how best to handle the problem.
Then, let's see who has the best ideas.