Chicagoans agree: Global drug war a failure

June 2, 2011

Download Story
(Getty/Uriel Sinai)

A panel of high-profile world leaders says the global war on drugs has failed. The Global Commission on Drug Policy recommends legalizing some drugs and creating more treatment options for users, rather than cracking down on them.

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece were among the panel members.

WBEZ went to the Daley Center in downtown Chicago - where public opinion was unanimous.

"So it kinda seems like, the result of the war on drugs has just been to put a lot of people in jail," said Madelynn Dickerson. "And it hasn't helped the livelihoods of those who have been put in jail."

"You know, why bust a guy in his own home whose got a joint, as opposed to somebody who's smuggling in tons of marijuana or whatever in the country," said Kerry Howell.

"Most if not all drugs should be legalized," said Bill Garms. "And I think that will put an end to a lot of trouble."

"If it wasn't so illegal, it wouldn't have to be done in the dark alongside all sorts of other criminal activities," said Alice Kirkland.

"They'll be no reason for people to rob other people or to kill other drug dealers because you could buy it at Walgreens," said Deovonte Means.

Chicago residents may agree, but the White House does not. In a statement, the Office of National Drug Control Policy says the plan would lead to more dangerous communities.