War on Drugs a Bust: Global Panel
Former world leaders back marijuana legalization, addict aid
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2011 1:19 AM CDT
Updated Jun 2, 2011 7:39 AM CDT
A Burmese police officer provides security during the burning of seized narcotic drugs in Lashio, northern Shan State.   (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win, File)

(Newser) – The American-led war on drugs is a failure and governments should move toward the legalization of some drugs, especially marijuana, concludes a report from a panel of politicians and former world leaders. The Global Commission on Drug Policy panel—which includes former UN chief Kofi Annan, the former presidents of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, and Reagan-era Secretary of State George Schultz among its 19 members—blamed anti-drug efforts for widespread violence and corruption in Latin America, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The panel argued that instead of punishing drug users who do no harm to others, governments should look into ways of undermining the power of drug cartels and offering help to addicts. A White House spokesman rejected the panel's recommendations, insisting that current drug policy is not the product of a "drug war" mentality. "Making drugs more available—as this report suggests—will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe," the spokesman said.