'War on Drugs' a Massive Failure, Panel Says

The Global Commission on Drug Policy has declared the international War on Drugs to be a "massive failure," and has called for more progressive policies regarding drugs across national borders.

The 19-member panel cited “devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world" due to the criminalization of drug use. The panel, which included former UN chief Kofi Annan and international man of mystery Richard Branson, also looked at improvements in drug use statistics in countries with liberal drug policies:

There are some shocking figures in the study. One chart in the report shows that between 1998 and 2008 opiate consumption in the United States climbed by 34.5 percent. Cocaine use rose 27 percent during that time. The report even claims that medically prescribing heroin was found to reduce petty crime in the Netherlands, while having “positive effects on the health of people struggling with addiction.”
Not surprisingly, governments gave no indication that the recommendations would be taken under advisement. Quoth people who drug legalization could put out of a job:
"Making drugs more available — as this report suggests — will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe," said Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Some analysts argue relaxing drug policy will cause criminal elements to spill over to other areas, such as trafficking or prostitution. Do you think it's time to decriminalize drugs? Should we tax them to help the flailing economy?