Drug Law

It's Official-The War on Marijuana Has Failed

| by Marijuana Policy Project

The new National Survey on Drug Use and Health is out, and it puts the final nail in the coffin of the war on marijuana conducted by George W. Bush’s drug czar, John Walters.

Walters’ fanaticism about marijuana is epitomized by a November 2002 letter sent to the nation’s prosecutors by his deputy, Scott Burns, claiming that “no drug matches the threat posed by marijuana.” Walters carpet-bombed the nation with anti-marijuana propaganda – TV, radio and print ads, reports, press conferences, news releases, etc. – and quickly began to follow up with exaggerated claims of success.

That game is now over. Compare the just-released 2008 data to the 2002 survey, the first to reflect Walters’ policies:

In 2002, 94.9 million Americans admitted having used marijuana at some point in their lives. In 2008, that figure had grown to 102.4 million. In percentage terms, that’s an increase from 40.4 percent in 2002 to 40.6 percent in 2008 – unchanged, statistically speaking. For current (past 30 days) use, the pattern is similar: 14.6 million or 6.2 percent in 2002, 15.2 million or 6.1 percent in 2008. The slight declines of a couple years ago have now been entirely erased and were likely no more than statistical noise.

The drug war industrial complex will never admit it, but the most intensive anti-marijuana campaign since the days of “Reefer Madness” produced exactly nothing.