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This is a very controversial topic. Decriminalization of drugs would bring more money to the government in the form of taxes, that is for sure. It would also mean less people in prison because of drugs. I wonder what other issues would arise from the legalization of drugs though. would more people become addicted to drugs? How could the healthcare system handle this and how much would they have to change?
We could empty our prisons of nearly half their population, and stop sending non-violent offenders into violent penitentiaries for no good reason. Imprisonment is a short term, expensive solution to drug use, and we have completely overreacted, in my opinion, to the consumers of drugs versus the suppliers. We would also save billions in costs, and generate billions more in revenues by taxing legal drugs.
The decriminalization of drugs might help society in that it would perhaps cut down on drug use by those who use them because they're told they can't. It would eliminate some patrons of prisons, making more room for those who are convicted of more serious offenses.
Here's something I've just wondered would any of the gang violence that is sometimes attributed to drug deals and terriroty violations decrease? If more people could purchase drugs legally, would rival gangs have to fight for drug territory or customers, or would there be enough to go around?
Up until 1906, before the Federal government created the Food & Drug administration, any individual could purchase any drug. Heroin could be purchased over the counter from your local pharmacist. Ever wonder what the original formula for Coca-Cola was?
Restricting or banning any substance does not eliminate its use; it merely moves the transaction underground onto a black market, and makes its use criminal. Witness the grand social experiment to eliminate drunkenness in the 1920's by banning alcohol. Prohibition was an utter failure, created additional problems, and solved none. So do current drug laws.
Removing all drug laws and allowing adults to access what they choose to access would be a strong step in benefiting the society by allowing individuals to exercise their freedom. And if usage problems occur, as they already do now, they can be treated solely on a medical basis, and not on a criminal one.
For those who worry about those who choose to use, educate! Do not punish!
Let's also add that decriminalizing minor drugs will help to reduce the number of people convicted of drug possession in today's overcrowded prisons, which in turn will reduce the financial burden on the taxpayer who pays for their stay.
People who assume that society would benefit from the decriminalization of drugs typically make the following arguments:
- Decriminalization would increase tax revenues, some of which could be used to pay for treatment.
- It would reduce the amount of money spent on enforcement and would allow police resources to be better used.
- It would stop the flow of drug money to illegal drug cartels. This would reduce the amount of crime and violence done by these cartels as they fight for turf. Instead, the drugs would be sold by reputable companies.
- It would make it less likely that users would be harmed by drugs that were "cut" with toxic substances.
- Hopefully, it would lessen the allure of drugs for those who are drawn to them by the very fact of their being illegal (and therefore glamorous).
- It would reduce the number of people, especially poor minorities, who end up with criminal records because of drugs.
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