In this, the best-argued and most plainly stated critique of its kind I've ever read, a Libertarian-Conservative judge lays out, point by point with impeccable logic and in an amenable, sometimes folksy tone, a devastating assessment of the bogus precepts and execution that underlie our utterly failed and long-lost War on Drugs.
I think the issues contained within are of the utmost importance and that many of the problems caused by prohibition account for the majority of the problems that are typically associated with drugs and their use. The first is that I feel Judge Gray could have gone more into depth about the harms of prohibition associated with the defunding of scientific and medical efforts toward understanding these substances. Even substances like cocaine and herion have legitimate medical use, while empathogens (which I don't believe were even mentioned) and psychedelics have a ton of potential for psychological benefit. I recognize the usefulness of having some people against prohibition that have never tried any illicit substances and think that they are far and away something that should be avoided, but I think Judge Gray may have gone a bit over the top with this. I think it is important to address the dangers of use, but I feel as if it was weighted just slightly too heavily in this book and may uphold any reader bias against "drugs" having any legitimate, positive uses. Since there is no organic substitue for these substances, I do not think it would be reasonable to expect those who use them to discontinue in favor of a completely different class of substances, just so they can go "organic." I think that the statement against "synthetic" drugs as a whole was not one that was well thought out or researched, which is surprising considering the high level of integrity of the rest of the book. My third main criticism is the failure to address any First Amendment issues raised by the current policy of prohibition, particularly for substances such as peyote (mescaline), San Pedro cactus (mescaline), psychedelic mushrooms (psilocybin), ayahuasca (DMT), ibogaine, and various methods of using 5-MeO-DMT such as the Sonoran Desert Toad. Under Gray's system, it seems like the only things available would be marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, which only represent a small subset of prohibited substances that people would like to use for various reasons.
No matter what you think about the "War on Drugs", I urge you to read this book. He focuses on narcotics regulation, similar to what we use to govern alcohol and tobacco, education about the effects of drugs, addiction treatment, decriminalization and others.
Gray's novel is merely a reiteration of a redundant, and downright juvenile argument, which is missing a vital link - the actual premise for a viable reconsideration of the current state of the drug war.
Gray is passionate in his appeal to common sense that it is time to end the war on drugs and start using a smarter policy. In the end, if you can read this book in its entirety.
Judge Gray illustrates just how the current "War on Drugs" has failed society and offers opinions on what other countries have done that have been successful and how we can employ these measures in the U.S. This book was very interesting in exploring both of these subjects.
60% of our prison population is incarcerated as a result of drug crimes.
I never considered decriminalizing drugs to be a good idea, I just accepted the War on Drugs policies without question.