Drug Policy and the City

Today's war on drugs isn't all that different from Prohibition, writes Stephen Smith, at least in terms of the urban-suburban divide that underlies policy. As cities' reputations clean up, maybe drug policy will evolve accordingly, too.
October 13, 2011, 5am PDT | Judy Chang
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"As with alcohol in the 1920s, when Prohibition was foisted on cities by small towns, today's anti-drug policies are most popular among white suburban and rural conservatives. Urban voters, who bear the brunt of the damage of America's misguided drug policies, are more liberal and likely to favor reforms like marijuana legalization and needle exchanges, but just like their predecessors who opposed Prohibition, they are forced to acquiesce to the federal war on drugs. We can even see the same pattern in ultra-liberal Netherlands, where the national government wants to restrict the sale of cannabis to foreigners, against the wishes of Amsterdam (although Rotterdam has not been so tolerant)."

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Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 in Forbes
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