IV. CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Each year the Hungarian police reports approximately six thousand drug-related
criminal cases. These cases include a wide spectrum of offenses, ranging from cross-border drug
smuggling to possession and consumption of a single marijuana cigarette. Those people who are
lucky enough to be arrested with only a small quantity of illegal drugs have the chance to avoid
incarceration once every two years and instead participate in a rehab program. However, those
caught with a larger amount, or for the second time within a two-year period, face prison sentence
of up to two years regardless of whether it is marijuana or cocaine.iv
Putting drug consumers through a tedious legal procedure and eventually sentencing them
to serve time in prison is an extremely harmful practice for our society’s structural integrity. Being
a convicted felon is a stigma one has to bear for life, making it significantly more difficult to
find jobs and legally earn wages. Consequently these people will be more likely to succumb to
theft, robbery and other violent crimes later on in their livesv. The Hungarian criminal justice
system disproportionately penalizes most acts related to illegal drugs, disregarding both what’s the
most desirable for the individuals and for the society as a whole.
The purpose of the criminal justice should be restoring the state of affairs prior to the
offence instead of ostracizing individuals. The current practice of delivering retributive justice
obviously fails to do so. A fair system can only be achieved through either decriminalization
or legalization of most currently illegal substances, since only then will we punish and tax drug
related acts proportionally to their societal costs.
The criminalization of illegal drugs places an immense burden on the state healthcare,
law enforcement and criminal justice systems. Criminalization ignores the fact that the
consumption of drugs is primarily a health-concern, the burden of which lies upon the healthcare
system. When Hungarian politicians started a goose chase after drug consumers and allocated
additional funds to the police and the judiciary to deal with the problem, they indirectly deprived
the healthcare system of the very same resources, the only state institution that is able to
appropriately treat addictions and reintegrate people into our society.
Decriminalization or legalization of certain substances on the other hand would alleviate
most of this burden from the shoulders of law enforcement and...