23 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2015
Date Written: 2015
The War on Drugs seems to be ending, leading to a crucial question: What comes next? Legalization of narcotics (marijuana aside) is unlikely, and the pursuit of broad incarceration to create deterrence or incapacitation has been largely disavowed. However, drug use continues to be a profound social problem that must be confronted. This article argues for the aggressive use of asset forfeiture to capture cash flow to core sources in order to systemically disrupt narcotics networks. Importantly, such a project would steer police efforts away from capturing people, drugs, or the profits retained by drug dealers and instead target the lifeblood of the narcotics business, which is proceeds flowing back to mass producers, importers, and major wholesalers of drugs. This tactic would address the continuing narcotics problem without mass incarceration or the problems associated with seizing small amounts of profit through forfeitures. Fortunately, the necessary tools are already embedded in existing federal statutes; all that is left to do is to use them wisely in a new and more effective way.
Keywords: war on drugs, legalization of narcotics, narcotics, asset forfeiture, mass incarceration, criminal law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Osler, Mark William, Law & Tactics for a Market-Reality Narcotics Policy (2015). Harvard Journal on Legislation, 2015, Forthcoming; U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2573973