Congressman Ron Paul, the outspoken libertarian and Republican presidential candidate from Texas, called the War on Drugs a “total failure” at Tuesday’s CNN debate.
“I think that’s another war we ought to cancel,” said Paul, a fierce critic of America’s military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Because it’s to nobody’s benefit. And that’s where the violence is coming from.”
Paul then said the government has a responsibility to ensure border security, not just the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also said the best way to combat illegal immigration is to abolish government benefits that potential immigrants might find attractive.
“I just wanted you to clarify: When you said cancel the War on Drugs, does that mean legalize all these drugs?” moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Paul.
“I think the federal War on Drugs is a total failure,” Paul replied. “You can at least let sick people have marijuana because it’s helpful.”
According to Paul, Americans would be better served by regulating illegal drugs like alcohol, rather than outright prohibition.
“Alcohol’s a deadly drug,” he said. “The really deadly drugs are the prescription drugs. They kill a lot more people than the illegal drugs. The drug war is out of control. I fear the drug war because it undermines our civil liberties, it magnifies our problems on the borders, and we’ve spent like over the last 40 years a trillion dollars on this war.”
“And believe me, the kids can still get the drugs,” he continued. “It just hasn’t worked.”