War on Drugs

Ron Paul opposes the War on Drugs.

On November 20, 2008 Ron Paul said in a New York Times / Freakonomics interview:

“[…] the federal war on drugs has proven costly and ineffective, while creating terrible violent crime. But if you question policy, you are accused of being pro-drug. That is preposterous. As a physician, father, and grandfather, I abhor drugs. I just know that there is a better way — through local laws, communities, churches, and families — to combat the very serious problem of drug abuse than a massive federal-government bureaucracy.”

Note: This summary of Ron Paul’s position has been determined to be incomplete! Contact us to join RonPaul.com as a voluntary editor. Help us set the record straight and keep this page up-to-date.

  • Cathy

    In referring to our war on drugs, the other side of this is our intervention in other countries to stop the flow of drugs into the United States. We provide millions of dollars of weapons and military training to combat a drug problem that exists here in the United States. As long as people consume, these drugs will find a way to get here. I do not believe cocaine or heroin should be legal, but studies have shown it would be far more effective to have drug rehabilitation programs or prevention programs to stop the drug flow. Yet 30 years later we have the same failed policies.

  • Pingback: Ron Paul in '12. 3rd times a charm? - Page 3 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum()

  • Rajib

    Drugs may or may not be evil, but the Government unquestionably is, judging by the immoral, unlawful, invasive, militaristic actions it has taken in enacting and enforcing “Prohibition II”. The “Drug War” is a total failure, and has morphed into a War on Constitutional Rights. To reestablish our Constitutional rights, the tyrannical drug policies must be dismantled. While progress has been made, (e.g., many states have already passed laws allowing the medical use of marijuana, and other states have decriminalized marijuana altogether), much more remains to be done.

  • Charles

    I disagree with Libertarians on virtually all economic issues, but this is one area that I’m in total agreement with Ron Paul. No drugs should be illegal. There are obviously different kinds of drugs that do different levels of harm to their users, but does anyone really believe that if cocaine and meth are made legal that everyone would all of a sudden start snorting these drugs? The social stigma is the best to keep the use of these very harmful drugs at a minimum. If kids and teens can openly see the harm that is caused by doing cocaine, meth, and heroin, they will be much less likely to use these drugs, even if they are legal. This has been shown in Switzerland, where heroin and cocaine have been made legal. If a person wants to use very harmful drugs, it’s their choice. As long as they don’t do anything to harm anyone else, they should not be prevented from doing it.


  • Jim

    I would disagree that legalizing marijuana would make it more available to minors. When I was 16 I would have weed delivered to which ever location I was at (even school, especially school) any time of the day. Now I’m 32 and after 2am I can’t even get alcohol, much less have it delivered. Of course I could steal it, but I’m not that hard core.

    Granted, I also still drank alcohol (as a minor), but I actually had to jump through hoops to get it. Whereas with weed, a simple phone call (or maybe a few) and I would have some bud delivered right to my doorstep.

    If anything, illegalized marijuana may introduce minors to harder more dangerous drugs since drug dealers often deal in more than just one drug. One week your buying some bud, the next your whoring yourself for some crack. Getting weed at a gas station may introduce you to Garden & Tomato Basil Potato Chips, or ReHab Monster, but certainly not crack, heroine, acid or some methamphetamines cooked up in some abandoned trailer home bathtub.

    I know decriminalization isn’t exactly the same as all out legalization, but decriminalizing weed wouldn’t make things any more difficult for minors than it already is. It’s not like anybody anywhere has to go through any trouble to get marijuana. People just hate cops now for no other reason than cops are on the look out for weed smokers. Who knows, if weed was legal maybe otherwise law abiding citizens would actually think of a police officer as a friend as opposed to thinking of them as the enemy.

    • Bob

      Prohibition all over again. If it was legal there would not be the huge proffits to be made.
      In 1977 it was estimated. That the gross proffits from weed were greater than all three auto companies at the time In the United States.

    • Well said ! I am sick of living in fear of law enforcement. I have some cop friends, and they are just regular guys with the exception that they have to uphold the law. Cops are not wrong, the law is. Always some bad apples, but on the whole they would rather be chasing bad guys rather than benign pot smokers… Hopefully we can at long last straighten this mess out once and for all…I have been waiting patiently for 40 years…

  • stowelly

    “VICES are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another. Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property. In vices, the very essence of crime—that is, the design to injure the person or property of another—is wanting. It is a maxim of the law that there can be no crime without a criminal intent; that is, without the intent to invade the person or property of another. But no one ever practises a vice with any such criminal intent. He practises his vice for his own happiness solely, and not from any malice toward others.” Lysander Spooner

    I think that sums it up pretty well. The crimes committed by “junkies” to get their fix aren’t because of the drug but because of bad policy forcing the drug to be illegal and thus raising the price and making it harder to get. There is a reason why Amsterdam has some of the happiest homeless people:). Also treating “users” as criminals does nothing to help them become free of their addiction. Addiction is a mental illness which is well documented through science and reason. It is reactions in the brain that make you addicted to a drug much like reactions in the brain make you depressed, psychosis, etc. Our education of drugs (or at least mine) was horrid. It was based on propaganda and fear mongering, rather than just facts and science. In fact many people who use cocaine and heroin (drugs taught in school that if you take it once you become addicted) are very able to do it responsibly and never become completely dependent.

    Last food for thought. What cause’s people to use drugs? It is well documented and studied that people under negative stresses (ie abused as a child, rough economy, etc) are more susceptible to using and becoming addicted. So the million dollar question is how as a society can we limit these negative stresses and create more of a positive nurturing society? The answer to that, is the best weapon against drug abuse (not forcing people to not take them or erradicating them from the face of the earth).

  • Addressing Dr Paul’s position on drugs…… Unlike some commentors, I think reliance or addiction to substance is unhealthy and, in some instances, possibly evil. I have a long history of first hand knowledge. However it is not my business, nor fundamentally in my interest, to monitor those using drugs….any drugs. Minors are a separate issue. Other posts have covered the economic reasons for legalization quite adequately. Regulations similar to alcohol consumption would work for driving under the influence, etc.
    My admiration for Dr Paul’s honesty and intelligence is unrivaled. I have agreed with and supported his ideas for over 25 years, particularly ending the Fed and instituting the money policies mandated by our founders for our own protection and independence. I continue to pray for his protection.

    • Scott Bisbee

      On the 8th day GOD planted cannabas, and man was happy

  • Bob

    This is a farce. A drug cannot declare war on any thing. A drug cannot do anyting till some one takes it. The problem with this and all such politicaly correct statments is it lets the politician off the hook of acountability. When it comes to an out right commitment.
    The only war that can be declared is on some one, who then? The one who takes an illegal substance, The distributor, or the manufacture or producer, the farmer.
    The politician wants to leve that in the courts hand. like always. No commitment no blame.

  • fart sandwich

    Legalize all drugs. As Americans, we need to be responsible for our choices and actions. Heroin is sold at the doctor’s office in pill form, creating addicts as well as amphetamine, etc. It’s only o.k. If a Dr. Prescribes it? Either way, there are people that willingly take them, despite warning labels. I can say the same for smoking. People don’t take responsibility for their own choices. If you know something’s addictive and destructive- don’t do it.

  • meg

    “The U.S. federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $500 per second. ”

    Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy

    216,508 People Arrested for Cannabis Law Offenses this Year
    in the U.S

    “The average prisoner costs the taxpayers $33,615 a year to imprison.”

    Talk about cutting budgets and spending.. End the war on drugs


  • I heard Rick Stevens once saying: “I support the decriminalization of marijuana among responsible adult users in the USA. (“Decriminalization” does not mean unfettered use — it simply means NOT mandating that use is a criminally punishable offense.)

    I do NOT support the legalization of hard drugs”

    • Me either, but thats the defense anti-drug officials seek refuge in. “If you legalize marijuana, whats next?” But that is not at all a feasible arguement, and shouldnt be treated as one. Billions of dollars a year slip from the grasp of crooks in both, fed Gov, and Black markets if marijuana is legalized. They profit grotesquely by this supposed “War on Drugs” and are not willing to give up that type of revenue, so they combat legalization to the max. Schools take massive budget cuts, and prisons add up each $50,000/yr head. If they (Gov.) decided they were really ready to legalize or “decriminalize” marijuana, they’d make a new enemies with the penal and pharmaceutical industry, thus taking another stab at the pockets of the crooks. I really hope that we can override this system of corruption, atleast for marijuanas’ sake.
      This is a great web-site by the way, if the truth is really what we hope to obtain http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/why-is-marijuana-illegal/ might have to copy and paste, idk – iamL.A.M.E

  • Reading this article, one memorable quote by Stephen King came into my mind:
    “I think that marijuana should not only be legal, I think it should be a cottage industry”

  • The war on drugs has failed and is a waste of our tax money. The drug laws need to change.


    Ron Paul co-sponsored a bill in 2008 to decriminalize anything under 1 ounce of marijuana.

  • green_hero

    i luv weed sooooooooooooooooooooo much

  • GuitarHarry

    Even if Paul wins the presidency, he can’t “legalize” marijuana. Congress makes the laws, remember? Just because he has the right idea will not change anything. See what happened in California when they tried to legalize weed? People chickened out. The fact of the matter is the drug-lords are not the only ones making big cash because of the “war on drugs.” All those police who do nothing but chase dealers (DEA) would be out of a job, wouldn’t they? Bureaucracies tend to become self-sustaining, regardless of whether they are needed or not. Ron Paul will not be able to make Congress legalize drugs. The electorate must vote for Reps and Senators who state clearly they will do it.

    • freedomfighter

      first of all, DEA agents would NOT be out of a job, simply because they still have to go after drugs like: cocaine, heroine, LSD, crystal meth, methamphetamines, crack, and PCP and many,many more.

      second of all, Ron paul doesnt want to legalize marijuana, and you would know this if you actually read the article

      thank you have a nice day

    • zach

      the president of the united states can re-schedule marijuana by executive order, but of course, congress could vote it back into its illegality…but that requires the people to numerously agree with congress and also vote to keep it illegal. that wont happen though because the people generally support legalization

  • R.A.Stanford

    i am a life long Demrocrate by i see my self changing to join Ron Paul Revolutionm

  • Some drug-lords are millionaires. I wonder how much of their profits are used to pay for the compaigns of politicians who will continue to keep drugs illegal? I mean, if drugs were legal they would be dirt cheap, and all them drug-lords would become dirt poor. Sounds like a good plan to me.

    • anon. s.

      At the start of the “war on drugs” they were a few hundred times more expensive than they are now. (adjusting for inflation of corse)


      Given the chance for businessmen to sell these drugs in a legal manner on the free market, the costs of production and distribution would ultimately drop and therefore the end price would also drop.

      So your point is quite valid. The drugs likely would become dirt cheap. They would also be more pure; containing fewer harmful contaminants.

  • TherealShea

    The legalization of drugs in America would be a huge blow to the drug dealers and drug lords. It would be a huge windfall for the American people. The cost of the drug war per year has reached upwards of 20 billion per year. The cost of putting those convicted of drug charges only reaches 9 billion per year(both staements are form a Harvard Study on the cost of the drug war). The study did not say how many lives were lost to drugs or the drug war, but I would put it at priceless. Now if drugs were made legal, there would be a huge influx of drug abuse at first. Much like after prohibition ended for acohol. But after a period of time less and less people drank alcohol. Or were addicted to it. During prohibition there were more alcoholics then before prohition. Kids do drugs now out of the need to feel accepted. And we always do what our parents tell us not to do. Take away the coolness of it and treat it as a disease and not a criminal act and we as a nation will be back on the road to recovery.
    In the middle of the 1930s all member states in the United States had some regulation of cannabis.[7][8]. In 1936 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) noticed an increase of reports of people smoking marijuana, which further increased in 1937. The Bureau drafted a legislative plan for Congress, seeking a new law and the head of the FBN, Harry J. Anslinger, ran a smear campaign against marijuana.[9] During this particular time frame, the media was swarmed with propaganda regarding the effects of marijuana. Harry J. Anslinger, a dominant leader in the prohibition against drugs, devised advertisements and commercials to inform the public of the believed side effects of marijuana. Citizens who were high on marijuana were crazy, insane, suicidal, had murderous intentions, etc. according to the propaganda [10]. Disregarding the scientific research on the subject and the falsified claims, the Marijuana Tax Act passed in 1937 quickly and with little debate and no opposition in Congress. The American Medical Association (AMA) supported a federal law, but recommended that marijuana to be added to the Harrison Narcotic Act[11]. The restrictions for Cannabis was part of a broad international trend supported by the president.[12]
    Goes to show you what propaganda and ignoring the facts will make people do.

  • Freedomfighter

    to MARYJANE: im sorry for not elaborating more, i was a teen just a few years ago and i got an ample amount of green. when i said that legalization would mean minors getting their hands on it, i meant that it would be MORE available to them. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    • bsm419

      no drug dealer checks ID… buying tobacco and alcohol required ID, if 7-11 sells weed alongside copenhagen and budweiser the purchaser will need to be of the appropriate age. given the fact some kids pay or otherwise coerce adults into providing them with age restricted items it is suffice to say these kids will get their hands on whatever they want, regardless of legality. so how would legal, regulated marijuana be more available then currently unregulated, illegally transacted marijuana?