Supporters of drug legalization on Wednesday faced their opponents in a thoughtful debate hosted by Intelligence Squared.
Nick Gillespie, the editor in chief of the libertarian Reason magazine and Professor Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor, argued in favor of legalizing marijuana and other recreational drugs. Asa Hutchinson, former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Theodore Dalrymple, a writer and retired prison doctor, argued against the motion. The debate was moderated by John Donvan.
The issue has gained national attention in recent weeks thanks to Colorado and Washington state, which will both be implementing laws to allow for the limited recreational use of marijuana.
Butler described himself as a "soldier in the war on drugs" and argued it was counterproductive to lock-up young non-violent drug offenders. Not only is the practice costly, Butler argued, but it also practically ensures the young convict will be trapped in a criminal lifestyle.
Hutchinson agreed that the United States needed to reduce incarceration rates for drug offenders. However, he insisted the country should not give up the war on drugs altogether, saying that illegal drug use had been cut in half over the last 30 years.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube on Thursday, below: