I’m afraid to say I don’t find either of these very persuasive.
Sullum assumes that alcohol prohibition has been a great success. I’m not advocate of prohibition, but clearly, we suffer from a lot of alcohol-related problems. Stimson argues that Reagan’s drug policy has been a success? He’s being gamey with the 50% number. I’m not sure where he gets it, but it’s very misleading. Does he think skyrocketing incarceration rates for drug crimes is a sign of success?
Too bad we keep getting this Crossfire style of debate by the ideological extremes. I’m more and more convinced that there is no problem-free (or, even low-problem) drug policy. Every drug policy brings problems with it. The questions are which problems we’re willing to live with and how we can best minimize those problems.