Blog Post

You Could Make the Case for Ending the War on Drugs in 60 Seconds

Tommy McDonald

If you had only 60 seconds to make a compelling case for ending the war on drugs, could you do it? While it sounds easy at first, sometimes the good old elevator pitch can be more difficult than it seems.

Big Think reached out to DPA’s executive director, Ethan Nadelmann, to make the case. The last 15-20 seconds of his pitch makes it clear and obvious – a no-brainer. Ethan writes:

“We’re spending as a society between 50 and 100 billion dollars a year at the federal, state and local level trying to enforce these laws unsuccessfully.  Meanwhile we’re giving criminal records and prison records to a remarkably high percentage of young people of color in this country.  And toward what end?  We’re no closer to having a drug-free society.  We’re no closer to solving this problem than we were 20 or 30 years ago.  So, is it a failure?  Yeah.”

In 60 seconds, Ethan lays out a short, yet rock-solid case (after all, who better to demonstrate how to deliver a winning argument on this issue than Ethan Nadelmann?). From the financial costs to the human costs, Ethan’s short piece delivers a great, comprehensive blueprint for a winning argument for ending this failed war on drugs.

We’re pretty sure Ethan won’t mind if you borrow liberally from this when you make the case to others about why this failed war on drugs needs to end now.

As a bonus, check out the video Big Think posted with Ethan (it’s more than 60 seconds) where he talks about the marijuana legalization victories in Colorado and Washington and the dilemma they pose for the White House and the Justice department.