Time to end the war on drugs

From Richard Branson

In 2001 Portugal became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

Jail time was replaced with offer of therapy. (The argument was that the fear of prison drives
addicts underground and that incarceration is much more expensive than treatment).

Five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the problem far better than virtually every other Western country does.


  1. It’s amazing how not only did prohibition cause more problems than it solved, but when it was over not only did the economy boom but there was a lot of money saved in man power and incarceration expenses. I think softer drugs like Marijuana should be legalized for recreational purposes, but for harder drugs like cocaine and heroin and others there still should be treatment offered before jail time for drug use that did not involve other criminal activities. I mean somebody that’s caught for stealing or killing and blames it on his drug addiction should still go to jail, but also be offered treatment while in jail. Somebody simply caught with illegal drugs should be offered treatment and the drugs destroyed with no jail time. The experts all agree that drug addiction is a medical condition, but you can’t also overlook the criminal aspect of it if such is committed.

    • Also, there’s a whole lot of people who profit by drugs being illegal. The prison-industrial complex, politicians gittin’ tough on crime, and hedge funds and investment banks that launder the money

  2. It amazes me that the same people who treat Supply and Demand like a religion, conveniently believe it doesn’t apply when they dislike the product. This is simple economics: prohibition can’t work.

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