Legalization debate at the Baker Institute Russ Belville and Kevin Sabet

Russ Belville, Outreach Coordinator, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., Former Senior Adviser, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (2009-2011); Assistant Professor, Division of Addiction Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine

For nearly a century, U.S. drug policy has been characterized by the punitive prohibition of illicit drugs, with “zero tolerance” for drug users, producers and traffickers. This bipartisan policy has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and produced an incarceration rate that is by far the highest in the world. And yet, the number of American citizens with substance abuse problems has remained remarkably stable over the last 30 years, and illicit drugs remain easy to obtain for those who want them.

Public support for the war on drugs has dramatically decreased, but there is less agreement over what polices should replace drug prohibition. On Friday, March 9, following a keynote address by noted travel writer, public television producer and public radio host Rick Steves on the previous evening (Thursday, March 8), the Baker Institute will host a conference titled “The War on Drugs Has Failed. Is Legalization the Answer?” Able and respected defenders of current policy, leading advocates for reform and academic researchers will discuss and examine key issues such as alternatives to prohibition, effects of the war on drugs on minority communities and international efforts to reduce the harms of drug abuse.


Legalization debate at the Baker Institute Russ Belville and Kevin Sabet

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