Prominent Republicans Offer the Right Response to the War on Drugs

Press Release August 19, 2004
Media Contact

Tony Newman at (212) 613-8026

Prominent Republicans are featured in a full-page ad under the headline “the Right response to the War on Drugs”. The ad will run in the New York Sun each day of the Republican National Convention, August 30th — September 2nd.

“Most Republicans simply don’t know that many of their most prominent leaders think the drug war is a disaster,” said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This ad seemed a good way to let them know, and to plant the seeds for a more vigorous Republican drug policy debate in years to come.”

The publishers of the New York Sun plan a special distribution to make the paper available to every RNC delegate in town as well as thousands of others attending the convention.

Statements from Milton Friedman, William Buckley Jr., Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Grover Norquist, Gary Johnson and George Shultz are featured in the Drug Policy Alliance ad. Text from the ad includes:

“Eighty-five million Americans have experimented with illegal drugs. Since the object of criminal law is to detect and punish the wrongdoer, should we reason that 85 million of us should have spent time in jail?” – William F. Buckley Jr., Syndicated Column, 8/10/96

“…I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10 years or so you saw the conservative coalition come out for an end to drug prohibition.” – Grover Norquist, Poz website, 6/01

“Can any policy, however high-minded, be moral if it leads to widespread corruption, imprisons so many, has so racist an effect, destroys our inner cities, wreaks havoc on misguided and vulnerable individuals and brings death and destruction to foreign countries?” – Milton Friedman, New York Times 1/11/98

“…if your doctor prescribes marijuana, then I think that people should smoke it if they need it for medical care.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger, MSNBC Hardball, 8/28/03

“…We need at least to consider and examine forms of controlled legalization of drugs.” – George P. Shultz, Wall Street Journal, 10/27/89

“Take it from a businessman: The War on Drugs is just money down the drain.”
– Gary E. Johnson, Intervention Magazine interview, 2004

The Drug Policy Alliance welcomes the delegates to New York City, and hopes this ad will inspire dialogue and action within the Republican party.

View the Drug Policy Alliance Ad

For more information on what these distinguished Republicans have to say about the failed war on drugs, as well as the recent cover story in National Review by our Executive Director, Ethan Nadelmann, visit

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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