The Business Council for Prosperity and Safety is the alliance of business leaders telling policy makers we want to increase profits for our investors, and to have safe neighborhoods for our families. The Business Council is working to replace drug prohibition with a logical system to manage the drug problem to reduce crime, to reduce the harm from drugs, and to reduce unnecessary taxes.

The Business Council for Safety and Prosperity is a product of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.

Economics and Drug Prohibition News

February 2015: Check out our new Businessperson's Guide to the War on Drugs and the financial model we used to estimate the comprehensive societal costs of the War on Drugs.

Read "11 Ways the War on Drugs is Hurting Your Business" by Eric E. Sterling. If you are interested in hard copies or for more information, contact us at .

"Shafer Commission Report on Marijuana and Drugs, Issued 40 Years Ago Today, Was Ahead of its Time" By Eric E. Sterling, The Huffington Post 3/21/2013

Eric E. Sterling commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the 1973 Shafer Commission Final Report recommending a fundamental rethinking of anti-drug policy. One year earlier, the first interim report recommended the reclassification and decriminalization of marijuana. Sterling recognizes the final report was ahead of its time and highlights its prophetic findings warning about the War on Drugs. The Shafer report endorsed a health and safety approach to managing the consequences of drug abuse and warned the nation that rash policy decisions made on the basis of emotion would worsen the societal effects of drug abuse. Sterling discusses the collateral consequences to families, communities and businesses that the commission could not foresee.

While the War on Drugs has evolved since the report was issued, Sterling believes that this report should inform policymakers, business leaders and public policy advocates and to inspire a reorientation in our approach to dealing with drugs in America. We should honor the spirit of the commission with a more open and honest discussion surrounding drug policy.

The War on Drugs Hurts Businesses and Investors  By Eric E. Sterling, Forbes.com 3/01/2012

In this piece published on Forbes.com, Eric E. Sterling discusses how the war on drugs is harmful to businesses and investors, and discusses the pervasive effects the war on drugs has both domestically and internationally. These effects include corruption, lack of credit for consumers and thus lack of purchasing power for American-manufactured goods, and discusses how this can be harmful for industries such as the American auto industry. Contact the Business Council for Prosperity and Safety if you are interested in printed hard copies of this piece.

Have We Lost the War on Drugs? By Gary S. Becker and Kevin M. Murphy, The Wall Street Journal 1/4/2013

Economics professors Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy analyze the objectives of the forty-year War on Drugs and measure its successes and failures. Becker and Murphy highlight the Drug War's dismal record of accomplishment and the ways that current policy, in fact, does more harm than good. They explain how the one success of the Drug War, higher retail drug prices, can reduce demand for drugs. However, they point out that higher retail drug prices incentivize large-scale and highly organized drug cartels to operate in communities where they can generate large profits off a decidedly demanded and marked-up product. After forty years of failed and counterproductive policy, Becker and Murphy conclude that decriminalization efforts and market based solutions must be adopted to see measurable successes; something that our current policy has failed to produce.

To Win the Drug War: Follow the States By Sir Richard Branson, The Huff Post 9/4/2012

Sir Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group, discusses some of the ways that the War on Drugs affects the American economy and how state legislatures are currently leading the way toward sensible reform. Branson highlights skyrocketing U.S. incarceration rates, state and federal tax revenue expenditure, and a growing bipartisan chorus advocating for workable changes to prohibtion policy.

32 Reasons Why We Need to End the War on Drugs By Matthew Boesler and Ashley Lutz, Business Insider 7/12/2012 

A business perspective of some of the ways that the "war on drugs" hurts businesses and our economy.

Let's Be Blunt: It's Time to End the Drug War By Professor Art Carden 4/19/2012

Professor Carden discusses how the war on drugs has been a costly failure, and talks about negative unintended economic consequences that prohibition has caused. An example is the cost of drugs rising, thus further fueling the criminal and violent criminal illicit market that is a direct result of drug prohibition.

Paying a Price, Long After the Crime By Alfred Blumstein and Kiminori Nakamura, The New York Times 1/9/2012

Professors Blumstein and Nakamura write about the permanent consequences and lasting economic repercussions of criminal drug convictions. Americans who have been convicted for drug law violations are unable to secure employment even decades after they have served their time. Blumstein and Nakamura discuss the state "forever rules" that often legally disqualify former convicts from obtaining employment licenses, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred or how well the individual complied with punitive measures. While the professors favor exceptions for special high security positions, they outline how broad disqualification from employment and career advancement opportunities undermines the principle of redemption and discourages rehabilitation efforts.

Strapped States Find New Virtues in 'Vice' By Cari Tuna and Justin Scheck, The Wall Street Journal 5/11/10

Voters and politicians in Ohio used to slap down attempts to expand gambling in their state. But last week, many cheered as demolition crews razed an old auto-parts plant in Columbus to make way for a new casino. Facing high unemployment and the aftermath of a $3.2 billion state-budget shortfall, Ohioans voted to allow casinos in November.

Right-Sizing Prisons

In this January 2010 release by The Pew Center on the States, prominent and successful business leaders from around the country make a compelling case for corrections reform, often suggesting we introduce and expand rehabilitative programs, including drug treatment. Through Pew's Public Safety Performance Project, the announcement is part of an effort to promote fiscally sound, data-driven policies that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control costs.

America's 'Near Poor' Are Increasingly at Economic Risk, Experts Say By Erik Eckholm The New York Times - 5/8/2006

The Abbotts date their tailspin to a collapse in demand for the aviation-related electronic parts that Stephen sold in better times, when he earned about $40,000 a year. He lost his job in late 2001, unemployment benefits ran out over the next year and he and his wife, Laurie, along with their teenage son, were evicted from their apartment. More...

Our Dead-End Approach to Homicide By Eric E. Sterling The Washington Post - 1/19/06

Our regional crime problem is depressing investment, property values and retail sales, and increasing insurance premiums and tax burdens. The Post has reported on this phenomenon, but an analysis of the problem that will mobilize our civic leadership has remained elusive.


The Business Council for Safety and Prosperity is a product of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.