The war on drugs has unequivocally failed to meet a single one of its stated goals. We have bravely fought the war on drugs for more than 40 years – arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning at ever-increasing levels. We have spent well over a trillion dollars and made more than 39 million arrests of nonviolent drug users.

Ask yourself this simple question: Has it worked? As most of us can answer from experience: No. The war on drugs has never worked. Today, drugs are cheaper, more potent, and easier to get than they were in 1970 when the war on drugs began. On federal surveys, teenagers consistently report that it’s easier to buy marijuana than alcohol, which is legal and age-regulated. And beyond its failure, the war on drugs has had unintended but devastatingly violent consequences. As with alcohol prohibition, drugs are under the control of bloodthirsty cartels fighting over untaxed profits and killing police and innocent civilians in their crossfire.

We are committed to keeping our country safe. As long as extreme black market profits are at stake, gangs will continue to endanger and kill not just rivals but police, civilians, and anyone else who gets in their way. Just as we put alcohol traffickers out of business and ended their violence by ending alcohol prohibition, we can do the same with today’s prohibited drugs. Putting the drug gangs and cartels out of business, while spending less time endlessly chasing drug users, will free up our time and resources to protect our country from other threats. The alarming rise of violence in Mexico and Central America must be stopped, and as those of us who have worked the border know, ending drug prohibition is the only way to do it. We need to stop empowering criminals and protect our citizens instead.