In the U.S. we spend about $60 billion annually on our drug war, about $213 per capita. That’s $213 each year for each and every person. If you’re a family of four, about $1,000 of your money goes to the drug war each year*.
The Netherlands spends a bit over $400 million, or about $24.00 per person. You did read that correctly – we spend about 10 times as much per person as The Netherlands.
In the U.S. we put the burden on Law Enforcement to stop people from using drugs (thus, our much higher cost), The Netherlands puts that burden on parents.
It’d be one thing if The Netherlands achieved the same results as we do. But they don’t. They blow us out of the water. Twice as many teens in the U.S. smoke pot as teens in The Netherlands. And the same goes for other drugs and all age groups.
Which system produces the better results?
As well, there are a number of by-products, or consequences, of these two approaches. One is that while the U.S. system teaches people to avoid law enforcement, the Dutch system relies on and teaches personal responsibility.
Which system likely benefits society the most?
Smoking pot is stupid. Continually spending money on our continually failed wars on prohibition is?
* Now, lest you think that you don’t pay much in taxes so therefore don’t bear much of this burden, think again. Everything you purchase has a higher price because of the taxes that the retailer, manufacturer, and distributors pay and because of the higher wages that they pay to overcome their employees tax burden. Trust me, you pay your $213 every year. And we haven’t even addressed the estimated $32 billion in tax revenue we’re missing.