I am not sure if there is any right answer to the question if marijuana and other drugs should be legalized. There are definitely pros and cons to both keeping marijuana and other drugs criminalized and making them legal. And I suppose in hard decisions the best way to look at a discussion such as this one is to look at the pros and cons. So while I will share my opinion on this bet let’s look at the facts; the pros and cons if you will.
Keeping Marijuana and Other Drugs Criminalized
Supporters of prohibition claim that drug laws have a successful track record suppressing illicit drug use since they were introduced 100 years ago. The licit drug alcohol has current (last 12 months) user rates as high as 80-90% in populations over 14 years of age, and tobacco has historically had current use rates up to 60% of adult populations, yet the percentages currently using illicit drugs in OECD countries are generally below 1% of the population excepting cannabis where most are between 3% and 10%, with six countries between 11% and 17%. Legalization of marijuana would not cut down on all crime; alcohol still causes family disputes, rape, robbery, reckless driving, and murder.
Legalizing Marijuana and Other Drugs
Legalizing Marijuana means we can treat the problem of drug abuse as a medical problem not a criminal one. It is estimated that the United States government spends $10 billion dollars a year in its attempts to keep Marijuana off the street, while the State of California has revenue of 14 billion annually for the production of its legalized medicinal Marijuana. If Marijuana is legalized The U.S. can tax the revenues and will have additional fund that can be used for awareness of the drugs affects and treatment. During the prohibition of alcohol during the 1920’s the Mafia could produce alcohol and had a considerable control over others who wanted it. The role that the Mafia played in the 1920’s has transformed into the corner drug dealers and drug cartel of the 1990’s. Legalization will result in a decrease in deaths and violence due to the unregulated black market trade or Marijuana. 1 out of 6 people in jail are in for non-violent drug offenses6. Prisons are overcrowded and it is very costly to keep people in prison. Legalizing Marijuana would make room for more violent offenders
Opinion: Should Marijuana and other drugs be legalized?
So here is my story, morning glory (Oasis reference): From an addict’s standpoint I feel like I am in a place where I can easily see both sides. I know the terrible side effects of drug use and drinking and I know the dark under belly of the drug culture that consists of gangs, guns, and violence.
I also am capable of realizing that many of these things are caused by the criminalization of drugs and marijuana. I also have been on the receiving end of a 2 year probation sentence for a simple possession of marijuana charge which actually hindered me more than helped me. Probation didn’t keep me clean. What I needed was rehabilitation not a drug charge sitting on my record.
So the legalization of drugs would pull non-violent drug offenders out of the criminal system and hopefully put them in the rehabilitation system at some point. But then again that is hope I am talking about is not necessarily realistic. The legalization of drugs in my opinion would also put an end to spending billions on the War on Drugs. A legalization of drugs would allow the government to have a bit more control on the sale and use of drugs and marijuana.
But there is a problem. How can you check the quality of drugs that are made so different in each batch? How could the government promise a certain amount of cocaine per bag or a certain amount of THC per gram of bud if they legalize it?
Also the legalization of drugs and marijuana would I think lead to more use. I mean look at alcohol. While we all like to go on and on about how legalizing drugs won’t lead to use in teens and more people; our experience with alcohol says otherwise. And alcohol is actually worse than marijuana and it is becoming more common knowledge that marijuana is better than alcohol, and guess what? That has led to heavy increase in marijuana use. Most people have tried marijuana at least once much like many people have tried alcohol at least once.
Then there is the whole argument about freedom. If you don’t know what I am talking about there is the whole argument that we should be free to put whatever we want in OUR bodies. I feel like this would be all well and good if people would put the stuff in their body and then not ending up hurting other people. Examples: Drunk drivers, rape, domestic violence, prostitution, fights, and abuse. While the drug gangs may disappear and the big drug bosses may become smaller; the little bits of violence that happen even in the homes of heavy drinkers and the dangers of drinking show us that it doesn’t matter if its legal, safety is still an issue.
There has to be a middle ground somewhere. The War on Drugs is out of hand and putting drug addicts in jail is counterproductive; the criminalization of drugs is creating a society of criminals out non-violent drug addicts. But the legalization of all drugs including marijuana isn’t the safest option either. There is no way to measure quality, people will still hurt each other, and more people would probably end up using the stuff based on our experience with alcohol. So what do you do? Even making drugs and marijuana prescription based is not fool proof. I mean prescription drugs available right now are leading in the numbers for cause of death in comparison to all the other drugs.
All I know is that the War on Drugs needs to stop; we need to create a different system for what happens when addicts get caught with drugs where they get rehab instead of jail time. And we all need to be aware of the dangers of legal substances by looking at what is already legal, alcohol. The solution is not an easy one. What do you think? What is the answer to the problem?
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