Over the course of decades, the United States has adopted a number of policy actions aimed at addressing the epidemic of drug use and associated criminal activity. Ending the nation’s war on drugs would involve a range of policy actions. Typically, those policy actions are outlined as such:
- Pass the Drug Policy Reform Act – At the federal, state, and local levels, the US should eliminate arrest and prosecution for small quantities (personal-use amounts) of controlled substances.
- Eliminate the Inequitable and Harsh Sentencing Constructs – Courts should move to eliminate mandatory minimum drug offenses, specifically conspiracy charges. This policy has significantly contributed to mass incarceration and created unintended victims.
- De-incarceration and Record Expungement – For those currently incarcerated, on parole or probation, individuals should be afforded the opportunity to have their criminal records expunged reflecting the nation’s new policy and eliminating the stigma of their records.
- Eliminate Collateral Consequences of Drug Convictions – There is a range of ancillary sanctions individuals may face as a result of a drug conviction. To ensure that citizens can productively engage in society, this policy advocates for eliminating the denial of public benefits and educational loans.
- Legalization of Cannabis: Several states have moved to decriminalize or legalize cannabis. However, it remains on the federal government’s list of controlled substances, thus limiting the ability of states and localities to fully institute reforms.