By Bill Piper, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Bill Piper is the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.
(CNN) — It’s as predictable as the sun rising and setting. Even though police made more than 850,000 marijuana arrests last year, a recent government report shows youth marijuana use increased by about 9 percent.
Supporters of the failed war on drugs will no doubt argue this increase means policymakers should spend more taxpayer money next year arresting and incarcerating a greater number of Americans. In other words, their solution to failure is to do more of the same. Fortunately, the “reform nothing” club is getting mighty lonely these days — 76 percent of Americans recognize the drug war has failed; millions are demanding change.
In the almost 40 years since President Nixon declared a war on drugs, tens of millions of Americans have been arrested and hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent. Yet drugs are just as available now as they were then.