Portugal decriminalized drugs with pretty good success, but in the US we still debate whether this would be a good idea.
…McLellan does not favor a Portuguese approach for the United States. “It’s not an ideology with me,” he said. “If you make any attractive commodity available at lower cost, you will have more users. Anything like legalizing drugs is preposterous—no less ridiculous than trying to lock up every offender.” As evidence, he points to the epidemic of prescription-drug abuse. “These drugs were created, controlled, and distributed in the most careful way,” he said. “It doesn’t prevent abuse.”
New Yorker abstract.