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The Economist Brands US War on Drugs 'A Medieval Witch Hunt'

Author: Jonty Adderley (
Saturday, April 12, 2003
The United Nations continuing emphasis on prohibition style zero tolerance, drugs is being maintained by an unlikely coalition between America, France and the world's Islamic countries, the Economist revealed this week in their latest report on the war on drugs.

"The main reason (for not embracing harm reduction policies) is the powerful anti-change lobby, led by the United States, whose attitudes and actions sometimes take on the ferocity of a medieval witch hunt," said the magazine.

"America is not alone, though," the Economist reported.

"Islamic countries share its hostility even to the legalisation of cannabis, as do Russia, China and Japan. The governments of Italy, Ireland and France are also tough-minded. Jacques Chirac, in particular, is an old anti-drug warrior."

The highly respected business magazine previously branded President Bush's emphasis on prohibition a 'disaster', in an article two years ago.

"The Economist has long argued that drugs should be decriminalised," they admitted.

"But a policy of increased repression will surely result in thousands of people being thrown in prison for sins that are little worse than those alleged of the youthful George Bush: being young and irresponsible."

Two years on, their fears have been realized, as official US statistics revealed that the number of people locked up in American jails is now over 2 million for the first time. (Illegal Drugs: Just Say Maybe) (Bureau of Justice Statistics) (extra information on US prisons)