Portugal & Pot
Portugal has decriminalized all drugs, and with some remarkable results:
Mr Greenwald claims that the data show that “decriminalisation has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal”, which “in numerous categories are now among the lowest in the European Union”. This came after some rises in the 1990s, before decriminalisation. The figures reveal little evidence of drug tourism: 95% of those cited for drug misdemeanours since 2001 have been Portuguese. The level of drug trafficking, measured by numbers convicted, has also declined. And the incidence of other drug-related problems, including sexually transmitted diseases and deaths from drug overdoses, has “decreased dramatically”.
Instead of locking up millions of there citizens, offenders are given a ticket to appear before a drug commission, which places emphasis on treating those with drug addiction rather than locking them up. In the best of times this would be an idea worth following up on, but with most states in a severe budget bind, I can only imagine how much money could be saved by treating rather than imprisoning offenders. Most of the worst things about drug use come from them being illegal (drug wars, cartels, unsafe usage). Make legal and you can tax it, monitor users for health ramifications, and price the low lifes out in favor of legitimate businesses.