The Ottawa Citizen has an excellent story, the first in a series on the international drug war. Highly, highly recommended. Just a small sample:
For taking this route, Holland has been fiercely attacked. In a series
of statements in 1998, Barry McCaffrey, the White House "drug
czar," savaged Dutch policy. Dutch teenagers used marijuana at
three times the rate of American teens, Mr. McCaffrey claimed.
"The murder rate in Holland is double that in the United States. The
per capita crime rates are much higher than the United States ...
that's drugs." The Dutch approach, he said, was "an unmitigated
None of what he said was true.
While figures vary from study to study, most research shows that far
fewer Dutch teenagers use marijuana than do American teens. The
American murder rate is actually four-and-a-half times higher than
the Dutch rate. And while the "unmitigated disaster" claim is vague,
it seems unsupportable given that the rate of heroin abuse --
considered a key drug indicator -- is nearly three times higher in
the U.S. than in Holland. The Dutch government officially protested
Mr. McCaffrey's remarks.
U.S. approved of the latest Canadian drug laws and police tactics
but claimed these "efforts have been undermined in numerous
cases by court decisions." The State Department, for instance,
specifically criticized the Supreme Court of Canada for having
"questioned the legality of 'sting'-type operations, undercover 'buys'
and other techniques now commonly used around the world in drug
investigations ... "