Why Nick Clegg is right about the need to re-think drug policy

On December 14 Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was quoted in “The Sun” for saying that reforms of the drug regulation was needed and tha...

Sasha Renate Bermann,


On December 14 Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was quoted in “The Sun” for saying that reforms of the drug regulation was needed and that his party, the Liberal Democrats, would support it. Mr Clegg, amongst other statements said “We are  losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale. In politics, as in life, you can’t keep on doing something that doesn’t work.  You can’t keep repeating the same mistakes.”

Well Mr Clegg you are not losing the war on drugs. You have already lost the war on drugs.

The drugs illegally produced around the world, for example opium and cocaine, are in fact produced and distributed on such a massive scale to the end user exactly because it is illegal – not despite of it. Take illicit opium for example, that is predominantly being produced illegally in Afghanistan. In fact 93% of the worlds illicit opium comes from Afghanistan. Opium farmers in Afghanistan chooses to produce this particular crop for the same reason as the coca (cocain in its plant form) farmers in Latin America or any other farmer in the world chooses to produce their particular crops: The location is set for it and out of the crops possible to produce this one creates greater revenues.

That is essentially the key: The farmers can on their land produce coca or opium and chooses it over potatoes, tomatoes or other crops because it is the only crops in the world worth more than their weight in gold. The only reason why these particular crops are worth more than their weight in gold is that they are illegal. In other words it is exactly the prohibition laws that makes it feasible for drug farmers to produce the crops that will be smugled into Europe incl. Britain and consumed as drugs. If these crops were legal, their market value would not have reached such extreme levels and thus the farmers might perceive tomato production as equally profitable – thus lowering the drug supply and availability. This is not happening due to drug laws. This will not happen for as long as the drug laws are maintained because they create the possibility of making absurd amount of money, which makes the production and distribution of drugs worthwhile even with all the control  in the world. Thats why we can still observe so much violence, so much crime and suffering due to drug related activity in the world despite of “War on Drugs” for about a century now. It is the very prohibition that keeps it going in the way that it is now and therefore absurd to think that prohibition could under any circumstances be a solution.

Therefore it is much needed that polictians welcome reforms on drug prohibition and as Mr Clegg acknowledge that the War on Drugs will never lead to victory.

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