"In the end, the only solution is legalization, with regulations to control the market."
Dr. Gustavo de Greiff, the former Attorney General of Colombia, said this of the Drug War: "If the repressive strategy had tendered results we would now have: A. Fewer land areas cultivated with plants from which the three large prohibited drugs are extracted: cocaine, heroin and marijuana; B. Less availability of these drugs in consumer markets; C. Higher prices of each of these three drugs, and; D. Fewer consumers, habitual or hardcore as well as occasional users. Unfortunately, there has been no improvement in any of these categories."
In Columbia, Dr. de Greiff watched the Drug War being fought on the interdiction level and he watched it fail. He has seen the drug cartels become more and more powerful as they can count on steady income and obscene profits from their illicit trade. He has observed that despite the extraordinary financial and human resources committed to the Drug War, the high levels of drug-related crime and violence in his and others countries show no sign of abating. "In the end, the only solution is legalization, with regulations to control the market," Dr. de Greiff asserted during a panel on the Latin American drug issue.
Dr. de Greiff has gone worldwide pleading the case for drug policy reform. Like others at LEAP, his commitment to ending prohibition overrides concerns for the inevitable slander to which his reputation is subjected by virtue of his views. In an interview in 2002, Dr. de Greiff commented, "I speak with many politicians. And many tell me that I am right, that [legalization] is the only solution, but they don't dare say so publicly because they will then be accused of connections with narco-trafficking, like what happened to me." Government officials of the United States made this assertion despite the fact that as Colombia's Attorney General he raised the conviction rate of indicted drug lords from 25% when he took office to 75% at the end of his tenure.
Gustavo de Greiff is one of our most valued members and speakers. His courage and resolve are inspiring and his participation in LEAP highlights the truly international character of the Drug War and the necessity of an international call to end prohibition now.