Should we legalize marijuana or keep it banned?
I do not support the use of drugs in any way, however I do not think they should be illegal either. Here are five reasons drugs should be legalized:
It would cause the crime rate to drop:
When something is illegal, the prices for that certain good is ten times more expensive because it is dangerous to sell those goods. When drug addicts can not finance their addictions anymore they resort to crime to get money, so that they can afford those drugs. In a 2 1/2-year study of Detroit crime, Lester P. Silverman, former associate director of the National Academy of Sciences' Assembly of Behavior and Social Sciences, found that a 10 percent increase in the price of heroin alone "produced an increase of 3.1 percent total property crimes in poor nonwhite neighborhoods." Armed robbery jumped 6.4 percent and simple assault by 5.6 percent throughout the city. If drugs were to be decriminalized, the price of drugs would go down because it would be safer to sell them...with the price drop, it would be more affordable and less people would have to resort to criminal activity to afford it.
It would practically eliminate the prison overcrowding problem:
According to the Justice Policy Institute: "The United States leads the world in the number of people incarcerated in federal and state correctional facilities. There are currently more than 5 million people in American prisons or jails. Approximately one-quarter of those people held in U.S. prisons or jails have been convicted of a drug offense. The United States incarcerates more people for drug offenses than any other country. With an estimated 6.8 million Americans struggling with drug abuse or dependence, the growth of the prison population continues to be driven largely by incarceration for drug offenses." It's no wonder we have a prison overcrowding problem, we have more nonviolent offenders then we do violent offenders! If we decriminalize drugs, we could completely eliminate our prison overcrowding problem.
It would save tax money:
Billions of our tax dollars go into fighting the drug war. If we decriminalize drugs, that's all the more money we would save which would help reduce the deficit. It would also save more money to go towards prosecuting violent offenders. It's a waste of police resources to have SWAT teams busting down doors to arrest people for smoking a plant.
It would cripple organized crime:
The gangs of the country stand to lose billions in drug profits from legalization. The underworld became big business in the United States when alcohol was prohibited. Few others would risk setting up the illegal distribution networks, bribing officials or killing a policeman or competitor once in a while. When alcohol was re-legalized, manufacturers resumed production. The risk of getting caught and the high profits disappeared from the alcohol trade. Without the risk of alcohol smuggling, many organized gangs disappeared off the radar and crime went down exponentially. We can stand to learn a thing or two from the prohibition. It isn't so different from our current "War On Drugs".
It would shrink the size of government:
The War On Drugs is giving an incredible amount of power to police and federal agents. In an effort to keep drug crime down, police often pull random people over to check them for drugs. Entire federal agencies were even created specifically to keep drug use down. If we were to decriminalize drugs, several federal agencies would disappear and many powers given to police and federal agents would disappear. Also, it would get the government out of one more thing! It's not the government's business what you put in your body, and it only gives them more power over you if they are able to control that. I do not endorse the use of drugs, and I know the harmful effects, but I believe people should have a choice. The use of drugs really only harms the person smoking the drug. If we allow the government to use force and coercion to determine what we can put in our body, we are essentially allowing the government to claim our bodies. Also, if we allow the government to control what we put in our body...where is the line drawn? Soda is pretty unhealthy. The chemical aspartame has been proven to be one of the most dangerous chemicals put in any food or drink. Maybe we should ban sodas. Fast food is pretty unhealthy. Perhaps we should ban that too. Cigarettes are as well. Alcohol too. Where is the line drawn? Allowing the government to make health decisions for us is a very slippery slope. We could start a trend of the government making all personal decisions for us, which is already starting to happen. If we aren't free to make bad decisions, are we really free?
Thoughts? Opinions? Questions? Concerns?