" ... Our nearly century-long experiment in banning marijuana has failed as abysmally as Prohibition did, and California may now be pioneering a saner approach. Sure, there are risks if California legalizes pot. But our present drug policy has three catastrophic consequences." [Read the entire op/ed piece at this link]
I think this idea -- the decriminalization of recreational drugs -- is one that has bubbled up from the general population, and now that it has reached the talking class, perhaps politicians will begin to pay attention.
Lately, as I've written about marijuana I've thought deeply about people whom I know whose lives have been damaged or destroyed by drugs. Even Kristof writes about a friend who "squandered his life" because of drugs. I especially grieve for the parents of people who are trapped by drugs.
But I cannot see how legalizing drugs will exacerbate the problem. Is not drug abuse simply one method of an underlying problem manifesting itself?
I keep relating "recreational" drug use to "recreational" alcohol use, especially when some people use the word "party" as a verb, the meaning of which is to consume enough alcohol to reach intoxication.
Of course, for me, the idea of "partying" is irrelevant. I am more focused on the idea that marijuana can be another agent -- and perhaps a less harmful one -- to make life more tolerable for people dealing with pain.
As to other drugs, and their decriminalization, I have always believed in the logic expressed by Kristof in the three points he raises.