Economics of Drug Policy and the Drug War
- Federal Drug Control Spending by Function FY2013 through FY2017
- Estimated Federal Drug Control Spending By Function for Fiscal Years 2003-2017
Page last updated June 6, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.
81. Drug Control Models
"In the most common English usage decriminalisation is the elimination of a conduct or activity from the sphere of criminal law, while depenalisation is simply the relaxation of the penal sanction provided for by law. The term decriminalisation is most commonly used in reference to offences related to drug consumption and usually manifested by the imposition of sanctions of a different kind (administrative) or the abolition of all sanctions; other (non-criminal) laws can then regulate the conduct or activity that has been decriminalised. Depenalisation can refer to consumption-related offences (which may be dealt with through referral schemes or alternative sanctions for drug users) but also to small-scale trading, generally indicating elimination or reduction of custodial penalties, although the conduct or activity remains a criminal offence. Confusingly, in Spanish, depenalisation often refers to what in English is most often called decriminalisation. Legalisation is the removal from the sphere of criminal law of all drug-related offences: use, possession, cultivation, production, trading, and so on. Regulation refers to a strictly controlled legal market, in which administrative rather than criminal law regulates production, distribution and price (by taxation); and limits availability and access, using models developed for pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol and tobacco."
Jelsma, Martin, "The Development of International Drug Control: Lessons Learned and Strategic Challenges for the Future," Global Commission on Drug Policies (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: January 2011), p. 9.
82. Drug Supply Models
Transform Drug Policy Foundation, "After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation," (Bristol, United Kingdom: September 2009) pp. 20, 23, 24-27.
83. Effect of Prohibition on Drug Use
"Prohibition has two effects: on one hand it raises supplier costs, disrupts market functioning and prevents open promotion of the product; on the other, it sacrifices the authorities’ ability to tax transactions and regulate operation of the market, product characteristics and promotional activity of suppliers. The cannabis prevalence rates presented in Figure 1 show clearly that prohibition has failed to prevent widespread use of the drug and leaves open the possibility that it might be easier to control the harmful use of cannabis by regulation of a legal market than to control illicit consumption under prohibition. The contrast between the general welcome for tobacco regulation (including bans on smoking in public places) and the deep suspicion of prohibition policy on cannabis is striking and suggests that a middle course of legalised but limited consumption may find a public consensus."
"Pudney, Stephen, "Drugs Policy – What Should We Do About Cannabis?" Centre for Economic Policy Research (London, United Kingdom: April 2009), p. 23.
84. Cost/Benefit of Adult Offender Drug Treatment
"The legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Institute) to evaluate the costs and benefits of certain juvenile and adult criminal justice policies, violence prevention programs, and other efforts to decrease particular 'at-risk' behaviors of youth."
Aos, Steve; Phipps, Polly; Barnoski, Robert; Lieb, Roxanne, "The Comparative Costs and Benefits of Programs to Reduce Crime," Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Olympia, WA: May 2001), pp. 1, 23-26.