February 9, 2009 12:34PM

100 Years of Failed Drug Prohibition

Dale Gieringer observes that the federal government’s war on (an arbitrary list of) drugs began one hundred years ago this week. Excerpt:

This week marks the centennial of a fateful landmark in U.S. history, the nation’s first drug prohibition law. On February 9, 1909, Congress passed the Opium Exclusion Act, barring the importation of opium for smoking as of April 1. Thus began a hundred‐​year crusade that has unleashed unprecedented crime, violence and corruption around the world —a war with no victory in sight.

Read the whole thing.

This month Cato released our latest Handbook for Policymakers. In this volume, David Boaz and I urge Congress to bring this sad chapter of drug prohibition to an end (pdf) or at least get the federal government out of it. Later this month, Cato’s Ted Galen Carpenter and Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, among others, will be discussing the how well drug prohibition is working in Mexico. For more information about that event, go here. For more Cato scholarship on the drug war in general go here.