According to the Economist, it's legalization.
“Least bad” does not mean good. Legalisation, though clearly better for producer countries, would bring (different) risks to consumer countries. As we outline below, many vulnerable drug-takers would suffer. But in our view, more would gain.There's nothing close to a perfect solution, or even a good solution, to the scourge of drugs. But I suspect that if we made the principal illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines) available through a variety of regulated mechanisms, we would see an improvement over the status quo.
A similar perspective from The Independent:
So, why did we lose the drugs war? The answer is simple economics. Demand will find a supply. That the political parties on both sides of the Atlantic who preached prohibition were the same ones that advocated market liberalism is no small irony. While Nixon, Thatcher and Reagan pointed to the Reds in the East and said you can never be free without free-markets, the freest market of all was the one they created with the war on drugs. There is no regulation of actual consumption, no regulation of production, no enforced quality standards, no labour rights and no money-back guarantee.
Instead we have an international drug mafia more powerful and wealthy than any organised criminals in the history of human society. They are the beneficiaries of the alchemy of prohibition which turns virtually worthless crops into a commodity worth its weight in gold. And, unsurprisingly when the product is so valuable, they will stop at nothing, literally nothing, to get it to market and realise the profit. If you were not stung by the banking crisis and are still looking for a justification for market regulation, this is it. The results are all around us.
We lose around 2,600 people to drug poisoning every year. More than half of all property crime is drug-related. And while one in eight members of the prison population arrives there on drug-related charges, tens of thousands more are users – able to service their habits in our prisons. A sick joke and a criminal waste of life this may be, but – relatively speaking – we are the lucky ones.
To see the real horror show, look at the drug gangs who closed Sao Paolo, in Brazil in 2006, the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan after the poppy crop was threatened by coalition troops; or even the West African narco-state of Guinea Bissau which lost both a President and the head of the army to assassins last week.
This is a devastating toll, given that drugs policy is, basically, a matter of public health not national defence. Our politicians do not see it that way.