We had a choice between the American and the Portuguese way of handling drugs.Canada has just made cannibis legal for recreational use. The question is why.
Portugal legalized recreational drugs. Since they could come from anywhere and there was no legal risk, prices were depressed and there was no money in it. And since no one had to establish connections to organized crime to get what they wanted, organized crime withered on the vine.
The American way was to be stupid. They didn't learn from Prohibition. If you reduce the supply, the price goes up and you attract interest from criminals and have to contend with still more drugs on the market, not less. America also has commercial prisons that are not government-run and they all demand strict enforcement and long sentences to make them profitable. We in Canada do not have that. Every election, there is another crop of political hopefuls who think the war on drugs is a certain way to get more votes, so the US never opts for what is effective but we in Canada did.
As Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. And there is no imperative for the government to get rid of drugs; if someone wants to risk death from a heroin overdose, the government does not exist to force an intervention. And the moral question of what a country should do should also consider the effectiveness of the measures they are proposing. If they are ineffective as in the American example then there is no moral reason to continue. The reason this does continue is that politicians of certain stripes can count on support from a Puritannical part of the populace that is either too stupid to look at the results or too ready to say, "We have to do something!"
If you look at the combination of federal and state / provincial laws in the US and Canada, Canada is a much freer country.