skip to main content

COVID-19 Information and Guidance

Baker Institute Viewpoints: Civil Liberties

Baker Institute Viewpoints is a regular series on the Baker Institute Blog that presents an array of views on a single issue.

Legal scholars, activists, academics and law enforcement have all questioned the impact of the drug war on civil liberties. Many argue that like the prohibition of alcohol, the drug war has diminished civil liberties, particularly in the areas of search and seizure and the right to privacy. These issues could not be more timely given the changing landscape of drug policy in America. Pew and Gallup polls have indicated, for the first time, that a majority of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal. This change in public opinion is no doubt related to medical marijuana laws in 18 states and the District of Columbia and the legalization of marijuana for recreational uses by popular referendums in Colorado and Washington. In this Viewpoints series, we ask: Will legalizing marijuana improve civil liberties?

Read the posts in this series:

"Will legalizing marijuana improve civil liberties?" —
Geoffrey S. Corn, professor at South Texas College of Law specializing in criminal, military, national security and public international law

"How the war on drugs has infringed on U.S. civil liberties" —
Gilbert G. Garcia, an attorney specializing in marijuana cases

"Restoring civil liberties through sensible marijuana policies" —
Rehman Bhalesha, student at South Texas College of Law

"Civil liberties erode when drug use widens" —
Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida