DECRIMINALIZATION - DEBATE SHOULD FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE
That experience, in Portugal, now exists and has been published (see extensive summary at http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v09/n435/a10.html which links to Apr 18 article in Vancouver Sun). In a nutshell: the fears that decriminalizaiton would lead to increased use of illicit drugs did not materialize; to the contrary, use went down. As for concomitant criminality and medical problems associated with drug use, they too decreased markedly. The Sun article concludes: "Now that the evidence in favour of decriminalization is in, politicians should no longer be permitted to corral support for criminalization by stirring up public fear of a bogeyman that doesn't exist."