If things had gone slightly differently for David Cameron instead of being on the verge of becoming PM, he could be yet another former public school boy who ended up squandering his privileges and doing jail time for possession of cannabis and cocaine. The current President of America could just be another black ex-con from a broken home.
If there is one message that comes through from The Wire, it is that the war on drugs can not be won and that it corrupts all of society – not just those in the drug gangs – the police and politicians as well. It is far from fictional, apart from the corrupting effect the police waste time which could be better spent fighting crimes of violence and against property. It costs a couple of billion a year to seize half a billion worth of drugs. The jails are full of young people who could, if they had not been criminalised, gone on to become leaders like Obama and Cameron. If drugs were decriminalised we would waste less money and lives than we do now.
The criminal justice system would be freed up to deal with pressing problems greater than students smoking pot and ravers taking ecstasy. Addicts would be treated within the healthcare system, not the criminal justice system. Addicts deserve pity, not incarceration. Decriminalising drug use and treating it as a health problem would in a stroke undermine the gangsters and drug trafficker just as ending prohibition undermined the mafia. The biggest beneficiaries of drug prohibition are the crime bosses.