Being an advocate for personal sovereignty, I fully support one’s decision to alter his or her own consciousness. Societies that have more lax drug laws end up having fewer drug abusers, addicts and underage users. It’s reasonable to assume that though the initial response to drug legalization may result in a brief, increase in use, ultimately are drug-abuser statistics will be as low as Portugal’s or Amsterdam’s.
One commonly suggested alternative to legalization is decriminalization. Though a step forward in the right direction, it ultimately falls short.
For one, under decriminalization, individuals found with drugs in their possession will not immediately go to jail until they’re found in possession of a certain amount. Typically, in regards to Cannabis, this amount is around an ounce or so, in places like Oregon (before it was legalized for recreational purposes). Receiving a fine instead of jail time can still be bad. Even with normal traffic tickets, people find themselves unable to pay them, and after they accrue, these people are sent to jail. A similar thing would happen with drugs
Even worse is that no stores can sell decriminalized drugs. Users still have to go through dealers and criminals in order to procure their substances. As we all know, criminals are dangerous and are more concerned with profits than they are with someone’s safety. Drug purity is of no concern, and certain products can even be cut or altered.
Another downside is no tax revenue. Coloradoans made so much money, that after giving insane amounts to their educational system, they started giving money away! A nation in a recession should welcome the potential tax revenue. Another upside is not spending the insane amount of money on the War on Drugs. New drug-based businesses also provide new jobs.
Granted, drafting policies for different classes of drugs is necessary, but we must reevaluate our opinions on drugs first.
We need honest and educated discussion, and we need money for studies. Under legalization, we will have fewer kids able to obtain drugs and lower levels of abuse. A person’s health and safety will become a priority and we can address addiction as the health issue it truly is and not the crime that it is made to be. Decriminalization only substitutes problems for the ones we’re afflicted by now. Legalization is the only intelligent way to proceed.