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Drug Decriminalization Essay

1522 words - 7 pages

The War on Drugs has been around for more than a hundred years. Enormous amounts of money are spent every year in this war. In past years the discussion about drug prohibition seems to have shifted towards more sensible policies such as drug decriminalization rather than a strict repression. In 2012, Colorado and Washington have decided to legalize cannabis 1 and according to 2014 poll 67% of Americans favors treatment over jail sentences.2 Drug decriminalization seems to be a good step forward as it eradicates many problems for the non-violent users of drugs. On the other hand the black market and issues connected to it as violence, corruption and poor control over the purity and ...view middle of the document...

As a consequence the "funding for military drug interdiction missions nearly quadrupled between 1989 and 1993"8 In the 1990s the American public has witnessed lengthening of sentences and increased number of people put in prison for drug related crimes. Nevertheless, it "failed to reduce the prevalence of drug use, the problem of drug abuse, the incidence of drug offenses and drug-related crime and the related public costs."9 The War on Drugs has been used by politicians as an appealing policy in their campaigns.

3. Why war on drug cannot be won and is a war on people

The Drug War is a war that cannot be won, brings about more problems than resolves and costs great amounts of money. According to 2012 national survey conducted by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 23,9 % of people aged 12 and older have used an illicit drug in past month.10

It is interesting that a nation whose last three presidents publicly admitted smoking marihuana in their youth wage war against 23,9% of their own people.

"If Colombian cocaine production were stopped tomorrow, Nadelmann said, "the U.S drug problem would change only peripherally." 11
Moreover, in last few year new ways of distributing drugs have appeared and the drug enforcement forces seem to be helpless against them.

For example the Silk-road marketplace is a drug selling website operating on Tor-network which enables internet anonymity and makes it hard for the authorities to trace the connection. The FBI was able to shut down this website in October 201312. However, since the shutdown more than 15 of these marketplaces13 were created and the Silk-road is operating again. Additional example are so called "research chemicals" shops – web-based shops selling new drugs with little or no history of use human use as research chemicals, fertilizers or bath salts.14 The new types of drugs are invented immediately after prohibiting the old ones.

It is not probable that fighting against drugs would change the demand for them. "After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition."15

The 2013 budged "$25.6 billion in federal spending on the drug war. Of that, $15 billion would go to law enforcement, interdiction and international efforts. "16 In 2012 there were more than 1,5 million drug abuse related arrests in the USA.17

Additionally the war on drugs makes numerous non-problem users to come in to contact with criminal environment to get their drugs.

4. how is decriminalization better?

Decriminalizing drugs removes criminal sanctions from possession of drugs for personal use, while administrative sanctions such as fines or therapy sessions are still permitted.18

It does not address the...

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