At this point, the question of making illegal drugs legal feels like it’s as old as time. Sparking political arguments, Internet debates and a whole host of controversy, this conversation is one we need to have.
And ultimately, people on both sides of the debate must be thinking the same thing; why don’t we just legalize all drugs? Does anyone have a valid, definitive reason as to why it would be a bad thing? Most detractors claim it would cause an entire generation to follow the wrong road in life, but that argument is inherently flawed.
With the right control – age limits, usage terms – illegal drugs can have as minimal an effect on a person’s life as alcohol does. When has anyone ever blamed a few bottles of beer for a drastic shift in their life? Is there any reason to expect the legalization of drugs would do the same?
Frankly, there isn’t, and there are actually several unique benefits that would arise from the legalization of drugs. We’ve already seen the effects in states like Alaska, which permitted the recreational use of marijuana.
And, as we previously mentioned, this legalization came with the right control limits. Firstly, there’s an age restriction – marijuana can only be used by those aged 21 and older. Additionally, the drug can only be carried in one ounce measures and cannot be used in public.
And, so far, there have been no negative stories surrounding this development. These restrictions ensure that the drug is used safely, and with the right degree of control. Alaska joins Colorado and Washington who have implemented similar measures. And, all three states have reaped the benefits.
The case for legalization
From an economical standpoint, the case is extremely clear. In countries across the world, the legalization of certain drugs would have a hugely positive effect on economy.
In the UK, for instance, the legalization of cannabis could generate up to 1 billion pounds in tax revenue. In other countries and other states, the same story is true. Making these drugs legal would actually create more money, which could be spent on other things.
The court costs and policing costs related to illegal drugs would also vanish, too. In many cases, this is hundreds of millions of dollars every single year. By making these drugs legal, the need for court cases and all associated costs will vanish.
The drugs could be sold through the proper channels, which would generate jobs and create a profitable industry. The financial benefits of drug legalization are vast, and have been more than well-documented. There’s simply no denying them.
The benefits of drug legalization also extend beyond the financial, too. Certain marijuana products can be used to treat and halt illnesses like glaucoma. Additionally, the drug can be used to relieve stress and worry, helping out people who are suffering hard times.
Medical marijuana is legal in a good chunk of US states, but there’s still a long way to go. If used correctly, and in the hands of a trained doctor, certain legal drugs could prevent illnesses and possibly save lives. Isn’t that a good enough reason to take the plunge?
The dangers of the current system
The current system, wherein some drugs are taboo, causes more harm than good. Our goal is to make these drugs illegal to halt excessive use, yet the fact that there’s no usage law negates that effect. If there was a legal cap, like the 1 ounce in Alaska, people would stick to it. But, since it’s illegal, people are tempted to go for more, and more, and more…
And, the fact that sellers and buyers must act out of the way of the law means that they’re impossible to regulate. If nothing else, this promotes excessive, dangerous use, extremely high prices and little control.
The current system, designed to stop people from using drugs, actually drives them into the hands of organized criminals.
It’s counter-productive. If we truly wanted to halt illegal drug use, making it legal ensures we can control it within the boundaries of the law.
And the fact that the drugs are in criminal control leads to many of the problems that the current system tries to stop. The only reason why illegal drugs make all the bad headlines is for precisely that reason – they’re illegal.
In the Alaskan example, a legislation was passed which saw all the aforementioned rules come into effect.
This doesn’t just happen overnight, however. It takes time, petitions, outcry, public demand. There has to be enough of a reason to get people behind such an act in the first place.
But fortunately, every time a state like Alaska puts forward such a legislation, other states can see the benefits. This causes a ripple effect which can be felt throughout the entire legal system.
And this ripple effect should cause countries around the world, and other states, to assess their current system. Alaska’s new rules is a tantalizing proposition, a glimmer of what things could truly be like for consumers and the authorities.
For the authorities, the proposition is simple. It’s no secret that policing and crime fighting resources are slim, and we need more.
Part of the reason for this deficit is that our current officers are spread incredibly thin. There are hundreds of crimes, thousands of cases and simply not enough time.
This in mind, is chasing down a man because he is carrying marijuana a good use of these limited resources? I’d argue that it’s not. Then, that person has to be put through the court system, which takes even more time and even more money.
A legalization of drugs can reduce the stress that’s been piling on top of the authorities as of late. If the law is doing the work for them, it means police officers can spend more time on the crimes that truly matter.
Of course, there’s no surefire way to predict the outcome of any legislation. Fortunately, we don’t have to predict. We can see from Alaska, Colorado and Washington that changes can work, and work well. It’s time we moved out of the past and into the future.