For this week's Forum, respond to the following: The forum question for our consideration this week focuses on the legalization and decriminalization of drugs, including marijuana, in our society. We first looked at the arguments for and against this topic in Chapter 1 and there is a nice Point/Counterpoint in your assigned textbook readings this week as well. Based on those readings, the readings from this week, and your reflections on your own beliefs, what is your perspective on the question of legalization of drugs, including marijuana?
Reply to the following response with 200 words minimum. (please make response as if having a conversation, respond directly to some of the statements in below post. This is not providing an analysis of the original post. Respectfully address it and even ask clarifying or additional questions.)
Marijuana was first banned from usage by Massachusetts in 1911. Since then, many regulations have been written and reviewed about the substance. In 1973, the state of Oregon was the first state to approve marijuana decriminalization legislation. The first legal medical cannabis patient became so in the United States two years later. In 1991, medical patients were authorized access to marijuana in San Francisco, the first city ever (NORML, n.d.). The fight was hard but eventually marijuana became a legal substance in some of the states. Studies have shown drug abuse and crime have not increased since its legalization. In fact, with the permitted use of marijuana, the use of cocaine and heroin among the teenager population has lowered. In addition, less days of illness and fewer fights have been occurring at schools which are in the cannabis legal areas. However, some negative was uncovered such as the rise of psychedelic drugs, amphetamines, and barbiturates and a growth of petty crimes, traffic fatalities, and hospitalizations (Passy, 2017).
A similar set of events occurred with alcohol. In the 1920’s, Congress took steps to forbid alcohol. In 1933, it was decided to stop the ban because alcohol usage was still taking place while prison populations and violent misdemeanors had risen (Boaz, 1999).
The costs to prohibit substances has been historically high and are still elevated. During President Reagan’s administration, approximately $22 billion was spent on drug enforcement while $45 billion was dished out during President Bush’s term. Furthermore, drug arrests are over 1.5 million a year. In 1996, 59.6% of all federal prisoners were drug lawbreakers. Previously, in 1990, the percentage was 52.6. On top of that, the arrests have not ceased the use and abuse of drugs, the drug trade, or drug related crime (Boaz, 1999).
So, what am I getting to? Drug legalization can lower government costs. A large negative to the move would be that health and social aspects may be diminished. Your thoughts?
Boaz, D. (16 Jun 1999). “Drug legalization, criminalization, and harm reduction”. Retrieved 20 Nov 2017 from www.cato.org.
NORML. (n.d.). “Marijuana law reform timeline”. Retrieved 20 Nov 2017 from norml.org.
Passy, J. (14 Sep 2017). “Marijuana legalization hasn’t led to more drug abuse: study”. Retrieved 20 Nov 2017 from nypost.com.
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