Wasted Tax Dollars

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.

Marijuana Legalization in California

May 27, 2010
Jeffrey A. Miron

Should California, or the country, legalize marijuana? Miron says "Yes," and for a multitude of reasons.

Cut Drug War Waste in California Prisons

Tell Governor Brown to cut drug war waste in prisons by reducing the penalty for possession of a small amount of drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Federal Activist Toolkit

We can make a powerful impact by urging our members of Congress to end failed drug war policies. They care what their constituents have to say.
 

Tips for Talking to Congress

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!

The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition

September 27, 2010
Jeffrey A. Miron and Katherine Waldock

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.

Gov. Brown Backs Long-Sought Criminal Justice Realignment to Protect Public Safety and California Tax Dollars

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.

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli at 213-291-4190 or Tommy McDonald at 510-229-5215

Cut Funding for the Drug War

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.

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