Observations on the War on Drugs

Last year, we hired Matt Stoller and Aaron Swartz, whom we met through Holden Karnofsky, as independent contractors to conduct a research project on drug policy reform, a cause we find compelling and have supported in the past.

The initial goal of the project was to evaluate the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), which is among the most prominent organizations working on this cause, and to which we made a $150,000 grant for general operating support in June 2012. However, in discussions with Matt and Aaron, we decided that a good first step would be a general landscaping of the drug policy field, trying to understand the key debates and ecosystem of organizations working on this cause. Over the course of several months, Matt and Aaron conducted a review of key media analysis and academic literature, as well as 14 interviews with politicians, activists, academics and journalists.

Their observations are summarized in the following report. The views expressed in this report do not necessarily represent the views of Good Ventures. That said, we found the report to be helpful and thought provoking, and we’re grateful to Matt and Aaron for their work on it. (Note: A public version of the report is available below. It has been modified slightly from the original version, at the request of particular sources who were consulted for it.)

Read the report >>