“Decriminalize and Regulate” as Alternative to War on Drugs

Christiane Amanpour
Around the World

A new documentary, "Breaking the Taboo," looks at the Global Commission on Drug Policy, an organization pushing for a radical change in the war on drugs.

"What we're proposing is to decriminalize and in some circumstances, as in the case of marijuana, to legalize," said Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil and chair of the commission.

In the case of drugs such as heroin and cocaine, Cardoso advocates that they be regulated in the "hands of appropriate people," instead of on the streets or on the black market. He also urges that addicts get treatment instead of prison terms.

"One thing is clear," said Cardoso. "If you put a person in jail, this person will learn much more, not just about drugs, but about crime."

The filmmaker who made "Breaking the Taboo," Sam Branson, says that "taking away the taboo" on narcotics will yield better results in solving the insidious problem of the drug trade. Branson's father, Richard, is a commission member.

"The world is going to need innovation to get through all sorts of differences, and the drugs issue is one," said Branson. "I have no doubt that in about 20 years' time we're going to be looking back and saying, 'What were we doing?' like we're looking back on alcohol prohibition now."

Here is more from Christiane's conversation with Sam Branson and Fernando Henrique Cardoso.