The investment I'd like to propose to you is a simple one and an obvious one,
though, to the best of my knowledge, no one else in the world has thought of it. Here it is: Legalize drugs temporarily --for three years, let's say. You frame a law that has a self-destruct clause written into it. In other words, you don't end the war on drugs, you just declare a three-year truce and see what happens.
This strategy would, I believe, offer the best of both sides of the argument. In three years, the international drug trade would have dried up and blown away. The kingpins of the trade would still be there --they're billionaires, after all. But all the hundreds of thousands of low-level links would have been forced to seek other forms of occupation. Similarly, in three years, the growers around the world who currently supply our appetite for drugs would have been forced into other activities.
So: we have three years to study the effects of legalizing drugs. Does the problem get worse, get better, or stay the same? If the problem seems to be getting better, all we have to do is extend the truce for three more years. If the problem gets worse, we don't have to do anything: at the end of the three years, the truce lapses automatically.
And note this: the investment made in this plan wouldn't represent a total loss even if we ultimately decided to let the truce lapse. This is because we'd be able to resume the war on drugs on a more favorable footing than we have right now. If we decided to let the truce lapse, then of course drug manufacture in this country would cease . . . but it would take some considerable time to restart it elsewhere in the world. The international drug trade would have to be reinvented almost from scratch --and this time we'd be ready for it.