Drug Legalization Debate

History and Debate of Drug Legalization

Drug liberalization is a term that refers to the elimination of laws that prohibit drug use. There are several types of drug liberalization, but the most common are drug decriminalization and drug re-legalization. Drug re-legalization is a process that calls for an end to the government-enforced prohibition of certain substances. This ranges from full legalization, which would completely remove all control, to partial legalization, which means that drugs would be available but only under controlled circumstances.

Types of Legalization

Controlled legalization could include mandated labels with dosage instructions as well as restrictions on advertising. Age limitations, restrictions on the amount purchased at one time and requirements on the form supplied could also be imposed. Some proponents of partial liberalization also call for bans on sale to intoxicated individuals and possible licensing requirements. Some drugs are already available under this partially legalized system. Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and antibiotics are supplied under regulations such as these.

Full legalization would involve absolutely no government regulation. This type of policy is usually proposed by libertarians who believe that the government has no right to dictate what people put into their bodies. Some also oppose drug regulation because they believe that regulation only adds to the problem by adding to the appeal of using certain drugs.

Drug decriminalization is a type of drug liberalization that involves reduced control and penalties for drug use than those that are called for in the current laws. The use of fines rather than prison sentences is supported by this type of policy. Those who are caught using illegal drugs are fined, but do not receive any permanent criminal record. Drug decriminalization has taken place in several jurisdictions for cannabis. California, New York and several other states have decriminalized this drug and now only impose fines on people who are found with less than a certain amount.

Economics often come into play when discussing the legalization of drugs. Those who support drug liberalization argue that criminalization supports an increase in crimes such as theft and homicide. In many developing nations, drug sales can provide a way of escaping poverty. Those who are against drug liberalization argue that drug legalization would increase the prevalence of use and decrease the productivity of the average worker.

Historically, the use of psychoactive drugs has been illegal in the United States except for in certain cases of religious observance or medical practice. The War on Drugs is a modern movement to kick drugs out of America and has gained support over the years. Current opponents of the War on Drugs mainly push for a softening of laws that regulate cannabis, prescription drugs and psychedelics. Hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine are typically left alone.

Drug Legalization Debates

In analyzing the arguments for and against drug liberalization in the United States, many individuals examine the regulations of other nations. In Canada, the cultivation of cannabis is illegal except for certain instances of medical usage. However, there is a huge campaign to make the substance legal nationwide. Brazil has followed a policy of decriminalization over the last several decades. Drug use is punishable only with a fine, while drug traffickers can be punished with prison time.

Humans have been using psychedelic drugs since the beginning of time, but laws to regulate these substances are a rather new concept. Drug liberalization seems to be the new trend, but to what degree will the government relax drug laws before it is too much?

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