Beyond Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century

Date and Time
October 5, 1999 9 AM - 4:30 PM EDT
Hayek Auditorium

More than 10 years ago, federal officials boldly claimed that they would create a “drug‐​free America by 1995.” To reach that objective, Congress spent billions of dollars to disrupt the drug trade. Despite thousands of arrests and seizures, America is not drug free. Illegal drugs are as readily available today as ever before.

Drug prohibition has proven to be a costly failure. Like alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition has created more problems than it has solved. The drug war has destroyed the lives of inner‐​city residents, corrupted law enforcement, and distorted our foreign policy. Yet drug prohibition is still seen as a viable strategy by most police officers, prosecutors, and political leaders. Paradoxically, alternative drug policies—such as legalization—fall outside the parameters of serious debate in our nation’s capital.

To further a more mature debate about drug policy, the Cato Institute hosted Beyond Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century. Legal scholars, former law enforcement officials, and political and social leaders gathered to discuss the harmful consequences of drug prohibition and to assess alternative policies.

Gary Johnson
Daniel Lungren
Julie Stewart
Michael Levine
Joseph McNamara
Ethan Nadelman
Steven Duke
Daniel Polsby

9:00 — 10:30 a.m. Opening Remarks: Edward H. Crane, President, Cato Institute

Panel I — The Constitution and the Drug War

Steven Duke, Professor of Law, Yale University, and author of America’s Longest War
Full text of “The Drug War and the Constitution

Roger Pilon, Vice President for Legal Affairs, Cato Institute

David Kopel, Director of Research, Independence Institute

10:45 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. Panel II — The Failure of Drug Prohibition: Law Enforcement Perspectives

David Klinger, Professor of Criminology, University of Missouri, and former police officer of Los Angeles
Full text of “Call Off the Hounds

Michael Levine, author of Deep Cover and former DEA agent
Full text of “Fight Back: A Solution Between Prohibition and Legalization

Joseph McNamara, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and former police chief of San Jose
Full text of “The War the Police Didn’t Declare and Can’t Win

12:45 — 2:45 p.m. Luncheon Address

Gary Johnson, Governor of New Mexico
Text of Gov. Gary Johnson’s Luncheon Address

Debate — Resolved: America Should Legalize Drugs

Daniel Polsby, Professor of Law, George Mason University

Daniel Lungren, Former Attorney General of California

3:00 — 4:30 p.m. Panel III — The Political and Social Effects of the Drug War

Julie Stewart, President, Families Against Mandatory Minimums

Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute
Full text of “Collateral Damage: The Wide‐​Ranging Consequences of America’s Drug War

Ethan Nadelmann, Director of The Lindesmith Center

Closing Remarks:

Timothy Lynch, Director, Cato Project on Criminal Justice