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Criminal Procedure

2018

Loyola University Chicago, School of Law

Hamsterdam

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Would Hamsterdam Work - Drug Depenalization In The Wire And In Real Life, John Bronsteen Jan 2018

Would Hamsterdam Work - Drug Depenalization In The Wire And In Real Life, John Bronsteen

Faculty Publications & Other Works

The television show The Wire depicts a plan called “Hamsterdam” in which police let people sell drugs in isolated places, and only those places, without fear of arrest. Based on limited but decent empirical evidence, we can make educated guesses about what would happen if that were tried in real life. Indeed, Swiss police tried something remarkably similar in the 1980s. More generally, the results of various forms of drug legalization, depenalization, and decriminalization in Europe--such as in Portugal, which has transferred the state's method of dealing with drug use (including heroin and cocaine) from the criminal justice system ...