A Case for Legalization Essay

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A Case for the Legalization of Drugs Introduction In the movie “Traffic” we watch a young women slide from marijuana use, to cocaine, and then finally to a heroin addiction. This is the nightmare Americans are taught that will happen if drugs are readily made available. This myth is perpetuating the hard-core prohibition attitude in the US. The problem with this story is that drugs are already readily available and our “war on drugs” is actually exasperating the amount and strength of the available drug supply (Moore, Gaghan, Soderbergh, 2000). Throughout history there has never been a society without drugs. From our ancestors use of psychotropic drugs like marijuana and mushrooms, to wine and ales in the Greek and Roman Empires, and to our modern use of alcoholic spirits, to expect a “Drug Free America” is unrealistic. There has always been drug usage and probably always will be. It seems to fulfill a fundamental need in the human experience (Miron, 2000). This paper‘s aim is to compare our “War on Drugs” to Prohibition in the 1920’s. It will then examine how other countries, particularly the Netherlands, handles its drug policy and its results. It will then make a case for legalization of drugs as the lesser of two evils when evaluating the economic and human cost to the war on drugs. Prohibition In 1920 the United States embarked on a “noble experiment” by prohibiting the production, distribution and selling of alcohol. This was touted to reduce crime, lessen corruption, reduce costs, and improve health in America. What happened was unexpected; it failed on all accounts and was repealed in 1933 (Thornton, 1991). The how and why it failed has major implications for our present “war on drugs” (Miron, 2001; Thornton, 1991). Most effects of prohibition can be measured to its effects on supply and demand. Prohibitions raise the direct costs of doing business.

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