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Legalize It! Essay, Research Paper
Many feel today we are loosing the war on drugs. When a battle goes to
the point where there is no winner there needs to be a re-evaluation of how to
solve the problem. In the case of the war against drugs, years of fighting have
caused increased crime, overcrowding of prisons and the wasted use of money and
resources with no results. It is now time to look at alternative methods to
solving the nation’s drug problem. I will be looking at one of these methods
that deals with the legalization of marijuana. In the following pages you can
look at why I think there is a problem in the United States which deals with the
use of drugs, our solutions to the problem and our responses to the attacks
against the legalization of marijuana.
Although, legalization will increase use of the drug. However, many
supporters of continuing the illegalization of drugs believe that by legalizing
drugs they will become more accessible and use will therefore increase. They
base this argument on past experiment dealing with alcohol prohibition. After
the end of prohibition with the 21st amendment, alcohol consumption doubled
while prohibition decreased use by 50 percent(Light). They also cite that use
of marijuana peaked in 1979 when there was a decriminalization of drug use by
eleven states. When researching to find if a particular solution will prove to
be of use, it is important to look at historical examples and learn from them.
In Liverpool, England, after a recent legalization of drugs in a regulatory
program that focuses on the medical benefits of drugs, most drug pushers have
left town because there is no longer a market for them(Priver 28). This shows
that legalization actually decreases use because of the increased emphasis on
rehabilitation and the decrease of drug pushers. Such a dramatic decrease in
drug dealers has not only resulted in crime reduction in England but there was
also a decrease of drug use.
It is true, legalization will not eliminate the major cause of violent
crime; however, most argumentation which says that drug legalization will not
decrease crime deals with the idea that most violent crime occurs as a result of
alcohol use(Light). Since this is true, and legalization would not effect crime
that is alcohol related but it will decrease violent crime that is linked to
drug dealing and use. The drugs themselves may not cause violent crime but
people involved in the distributing of illicit drugs make the deadliest crime.
By legalizing drugs the dealer would be eliminated and therefore crime would be
reduced. By keeping the addict separate from the criminal then violent, jealous,
possessive crime(Friedman 16).
Granted, the overall cost of drug use would not decrease; however,
supporters of the continued war on drug and the further illegalization of these
drugs say that legalization would cost more both socially and economically.
They say that legalization would result in increased use and eventually will
mean an increase in cancer deaths with greater marijuana smoking(Light).
Another result they say will happen is the deteriorization of family values as a
result of increased drug using mothers and children. Actually, the legalization
of drugs will put money which is used for law enforcement into the construction
of better rehabilitation and education programs. Education is an essential part
in this proposal because through this method the problem is solved not mearly
covered up with jail bars. Economically, for every dollar spent on drug
treatment there is a $7 return due to decreased criminal activity(Cotton 992).
Through the regulation and supervision of the distribution of marijuana, there
would be no increases in the number of drug addicted newborns nor will it induce
the deterioration of society. The overall cost of drug use would decrease and
would bring a new revenue for our nation.
After looking at and knowing the pro and cons of marijuana legalization,
I have decided that it is a valid and necessary solution to our countries drug
problem. By implementing such a program the American population can use it’s
money and resources to combat the problem through rehabilitation and education
instead of stalling the problem through the legal system. Legalization will
decrease violent crime associated with drug dealers, it will decrease the number
of users and will lower the wasteful cost which is connected with the current
system. Such legalization will not destroy our youth in any way and will only
be accessible to adults in the country. If we continue with our current system
we will never solve the problem. Drug dealers and addicts will continue to
crown our prisons and plague our streets with violent crime with no hope for
help nor a better future.
Cotton, Paul. “Drug policy.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. 5
Light, Kim E. “Myths about Drug Legalization.” 5 March 1995.
Friedman, Milton. “Prohibition and Drugs.” Newsweek. 1972.
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