NewScientist has an editorial up on the tunnel vision approach of politicians when it comes to illicit drugs. A snippet:
IMAGINE you are seated at a table with two bowls in front of you. One contains peanuts, the other tablets of the illegal recreational drug MDMA (ecstasy). A stranger joins you, and you have to decide whether to give them a peanut or a pill. Which is safest?
You should give them ecstasy, of course. A much larger percentage of people suffer a fatal acute reaction to peanuts than to MDMA.
This, of course, is only a thought experiment; nobody would consider doing it for real. But it puts the risks associated with ecstasy in context with others we take for granted. Yes, ecstasy is dangerous and people who take it are putting their lives on the line. But the danger needs to be put in perspective.
Politicians find it safer to take a monolithic view of drugs. Politicians are more than willing to fling a sensible approach to an issue right out the window if it keeps their ass out of the fire. It will take a statesman, not a politician, to have the courage required to dare take a sensible approach.