Introduction: The Great Drug Policy Debate: What Means This Thing Called Decriminalization?

The contemporary debate over decriminalization mimics in almost every respect a debate that took place in the 1960s and early 1970s. In both the earlier challenges to the status quo and the current attack on the criminalization of drug use, critics have stressed the counterproductive consequences of the prohibitionist ethos. Although it is unlikely that America will move toward decriminalization in the near future, the current debate provides an opportunity to examine the underlying premises of the massive expenditure of resources on repressive measures.

Author(s): Ronald Bayer

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Volume 69, Issue 3 (pages 341–363)
Published in 1991