Over the past four decades, federal and state governments have poured over $1 trillion into drug war spending and relied on taxpayers to foot the bill. Unfortunately, these tax dollars have gone to waste. In 1980, the United States had 50,000 people behind bars for drug law violations – now we have more than half a million. The U.S. is now the world’s largest jailer, drugs remain widely available and treatment resources are scarce. Not only have billions of tax dollars been wasted, but drug war spending has also resulted in the defunding of other important services. Money funneled into drug enforcement has meant less funding for more serious crime and has left essential education, health, social service and public safety programs struggling to operate on meager funding. The Drug Policy Alliance is working to shift funding away from the same old failed policies and toward effective drug treatment and education programs. We are leading the movement to end prohibition’s drain on our economy and to protect your tax dollars from wasteful drug war spending.
Learn more about our priorities for fiscal responsibility.
Legislators appreciate hearing from their constituents, and they are elected to represent our views. Always give your legislator your name, address, and telephone number so that they know you are one of their constituents. Be sure to include this information whether you visit in person, call, or write.
When you contact your legislators, a short sentence or two about why you personally support or oppose a certain proposal is fine.
Most importantly, always be courteous and clear when communicating with your legislators. Remember, legislators are people, too!
State and federal governments in the United States face massive looming fiscal deficits. One policy change that can reduce deficits is ending the drug war. Legalization means reduced expenditure on enforcement and an increase in tax revenue from legalized sales.
Addressing the Collateral Consequences of Incarceration
Advocates Commend Strategy to Reduce Victimization and Expensive Incarceration for Low-Level Offenses
SACRAMENTO – In his proposed 2011-12 state budget released today, Governor Jerry Brown is urging structural changes to the state's corrections system that advocates say will reduce both crime and waste. The proposals include authorizing counties to handle people convicted of "nonviolent, non-serious, non-sex offenses, and without any previous convictions for such offenses," according to budget documents.
Congress is working on a new federal budget. Tell them to cut the funding that helps keep the drug war alive at the local level.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. and the world, and was a well-established medicine until it was federally criminalized in 1937. A majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legally regulated.
Number of people arrested for marijuana law violations in 2012.