skip to main content

COVID-19 Information and Guidance

The War on Drugs has Failed. Is Legalization the Answer?

For nearly a century, U.S. drug policy has been characterized by the punitive prohibition of illicit drugs, with "zero tolerance" for drug users, producers and traffickers. The Baker Institute conference titled "The War on Drugs Has Failed. Is Legalization the Answer?" began on March 8 with a keynote address by noted travel writer, public television producer and public radio host Rick Steves (view the video above). Steves spoke on "Travel as a Political Act, with a European Take on America's War on Marijuana."

The conference continued the following day, on March 9, with able and respected defenders of current policy, leading advocates for reform and academic researchers discussing and examining key issues regarding the future of the war on drugs. Speakers included Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, and Pat Lykos, Harris County (Houston) district attorney.