Majority of Americans Support Drug Decriminalization
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More than half, 60%, of Americans believe the War on Drugs should end, and support the decriminalization of illegal substances.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Drug Policy Allegiance (DPA) released the poll ahead of the 50-year anniversary of President Nixon declaring that drugs were “public enemy number 1.” This rhetoric and decision impacted the lives of thousands, resulting in mass incarcerations and the proliferation of violence all over the world, disproportionately affecting Black, Latino and Indigenous people.
According to the poll, 65% of the people surveyed agreed that the U.S. should stop the War on Drugs, with 66% of participants believing in decriminalization of drugs altogether.
Poll results show how much views have evolved since the 70s. Nearly two thirds of the country believe there should be new healthcare enforcement instead of new law enforcement. The majority of respondents think drugs should be a problem solved by healthcare providers and not officers. And 83% of respondents believed the War on Drugs has failed.
The message of the poll and statement was for the Biden Administration to take actions against the War on Drugs, using these results as evidence of what the American people want and believe in.
“On this 50th anniversary of the drug war, President Biden must make good on his campaign promises and take steps to begin dismantling the system of over-policing and mass incarceration that is endemic to the war on drugs,” said Udi Ofer, director of the ACLU’s Justice Division.
"Today, drug possession continues to be the number one arrest in the United States, with more than 1.35 million arrests per year. Every 25 seconds, a person is arrested for possessing drugs for personal use, with Black people disproportionately targeted by this over-policing.”
Where to go from here
In the coming weeks, the ACLU and the DPA will be launching a media campaign asking President Biden to begin dismantling the war on drugs by reducing the sentences of people in federal prison due to drugs.
In the past, Biden has said that no one should go to prison for low-level drug cases. His administration has stated that rescheduling cannabis would be a good first step in order to release inmates charged with marijuana convictions.