From the Independent Institute:
Officials in the international war on drugs had their work cut out for them last week as they convened in Vienna to collaborate on strategies for victory--or whatever outcome that could reasonably be called successful. Over the past decade, according to a recent study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, opium and cannabis production have doubled while cocaine production has increased slightly. In addition, the former presidents of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia recently issued a report condemning the drug war as a counterproductive failure. In Mexico alone, the drug war has resulted in the killing of ten thousand people on either side--and often on the sidelines--of the battle between the state and the drug cartels; it has also brought corruption to the office of attorney general.
These and related persistent problems should prompt policymakers to consider the merits of drug decriminalization, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa.
"Today we regard the Opium Wars of the 19th century--by which the British retaliated against China for clamping down on opium imports--as crazy," Vargas Llosa writes in his latest column. "One and a half centuries from now, people will read in total amazement that so much blood and treasure was wasted in the failed pursuit of a private vice that a relatively small percentage of the world population was not ready to give up."
Another interesting article from 2002.