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After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century Hardcover – November 14, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute; First Edition edition (November 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882577930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882577934
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,755,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Politicians (especially of the conservative stripe) have long sought to frame the drug war debate as between those who condemn drug use (Drug Czars like William Bennett) and those who advocate drug use (counterculture gurus like the late Timothy Leary). This book reframes the debate and makes the sensible point that drug use may be unhealthy and unwise, but it does not follow that a person who uses drugs should be branded a "criminal" and sent to Leaveworth.

This book is better than some of the posted reviews would suggest. Constitutional experts explain in layman's terms how the drug war undermines the Bill of Rights, federalism, and civil liberties. Governor Gary Johnson, Republican of New Mexico, has the guts to not only admit to his own past drug use, but to speak candidly about how the drug war makes everything worse, not better. Almost all other politicians engage in endless blather about how "we need to protect kids" (as if anyone opposed to the war wants harm to come to the children). Best of all, police officers step forward to attest that their experience confirms that the drug war should be ended.

If you are looking for a scientific book on how marijuana and cocaine affect the brain, yes, you need to look elsewhere. But if you want a readable critique of current policy, this is a good primer.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By The Independent Review on February 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
"After Prohibition" is based on a Cato Institute conference of the same title and contains twelve essays by Cato employees, academics, drug-policy experts, and government officials, as well as a foreword by Milton Friedman. The central figure of the conference and the book is the Republican governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, who has been a vocal critic of current drug policy...
...The book presents a critique of drug policy that is accessible to a wide audience. The essays are informative and emotive, peppered with references to the popular press and to law reviews. They tell a variety of horror stories about the drug war. I found the section on the Constitution-containing articles by Roger Pilon, Steven Duke, and David Kopel-to be the strongest. Readers with a sense of justice and reverence for the Constitution will be disgusted by the convincing evidence of the existence of a Nazi-like police state in America, complete with tactics borrowed from Senator McCarthy and FBI Director Hoover...
..."After Prohibition" is a disappointing book on at least two accounts. First, because it contains nothing new in terms of research and science, it will probably not inform drug-policy specialists, and even the nonspecialist will not be enlightened to a significant degree. The book reports that the war on drugs has failed, that the Constitution is dead, and that a military-style police state is taking over the country, and it trots out convincing evidence in support of those claims...
...Second, the book's title is misleading. Very little of the book deals with what happens after prohibition. The various authors bring up the issue of what happens to the quantity of drugs consumed, but only in a superficial way, and they reach no conclusions.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cees van Barneveldt on July 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
"After Prohibition" contains several papers given at a conference on "Beyond Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century", held at the Cato Institute in 1999. Most of the papers purport the libertarian viewpoint that the War on Drugs should be stopped. The papers follows a threefold argumentation against drug prohibition: the War on Drugs raises multiple constitutional and civil rights issues, the War on Drugs is a failure and can not be won, the War on Drugs has negative political and social effects.
I found the papers on the "Constitution and the Drug War" convincing and very readable, especially David Kopel's article on the militarization of law enforcement and Steven Duke's arguments against asset forfeiture laws (who said law is dry matter?). The papers on "Political and Social Effects of the Drug War" are the weakest; there is a plea against mandatory minimums for drug offenses and an article about collateral damage of the drug war, that mostly rehashes arguments against the drug war in previous chapters. I would like to have read more about the impact of the War on Drugs on life in inner city neighborhoods (gangs) and racial relationships (racial profiling) and on the impact of mass incarceration on the society.
This book is also long on criticism and short on remedy. It is more a political pamphlet than a well-balanced scientific policy analysis. It is one thing to say that the War on Drugs should end, it is something enterily different to devise an alternative drug policy that works for the society and does not have huge negative side effects. This book does not really address how alternative drug policies should look like and what the impact of these policies might be on the society.
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After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century
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