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article imageThe War on Drugs in the U.S. and neighboring countries

By Walter McDaniel     Jun 30, 2014 in World
The "War on Drugs" is not just a personal story for people in the United States. It is also altered and contributed to by those in neighboring countries. We are going to explore why and how that happens right now.
The first sector we will explore is the internal situation within the United States. Many Americans and even those on major media such as CNN all agree that the war has failed. Even those in the government are slowly starting to agree as one NY Times author posts. At the same time the police are using aggressive tactics and advanced tech to prosecute alleged offenders harshly.
The ACLU also mentioned a report that the United States police forces are extremely aggressive in their use of force. You can read their report here. Reports of people dying while in police custody have also risen in recent years.
The report also accuses them of discriminating on the basis of race as well. Part of the reason for this is that the hard drugs found in many minority areas have harsher penalties than those found elsewhere.
While there is quite a bit of outcry against "arming the police like a military", as a Defense One author puts it, that does not seem to be stopping the trend.
Alongside this many dealers target kids for their drug-dealing activities. It has led to an underclass of teens who grow into drug-addicted adults and was a major reason the drug war was started here. The situation is still being debated as you read this.
Canada contributes to the war as well, but not because they are fighting it in the same way. Many of those jailed for nonviolent drug offenses are in there after importing weed and other drugs from Canada. "B.C. Bud" and other strains are legal to grow in many areas and allow people to make huge amounts of money in a short time. There are also quite a few illegal growers still around since the 90s.
Canadian officials often see eye-to-eye on many issues with U.S. politicians. This however does not seem to be one of those areas. Those that hold power in Canada want to start a "Billion-Dollar Marijuana Free Market" as NPR writer Bill Chappell puts it. This ideology has placed pressure on lawmakers in other countries to relax their laws.
Latin America also contributes so much illegal material that the flow is practically impossible to stop. Several countries have worked with the U.S. to fight the trade of drugs as well. Drug groups continue to hold power and tax the resources of those fighting them. These organizations only have to smuggle a moderate amount of drugs from one country to the other in order to make millions.
This ideology may be changing as well as a report by the Latin American Herald Tribune states. Lawmakers are growing tired of a ceaseless struggle to enforce drug restrictions. They may move to regulation over time which seems to be a common point of view.
There are also many other drug exchanges with foreign powers as well. It is so much more efficient to just transport "hard" and "soft" drugs from nearby countries that other areas only make up a tiny amount of the drug trade.
The entire continent seems to be moving away from an attitude of prohibition to regulation. Without the support of neighboring countries the U.S. is now moving towards it as well, albeit very slowly. It is an enduring lesson that in order for real change to start the way people think about a "War" has to evolve with the world.
More about America, Canada, United States, South america, drug law
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