Paper on Drug Legalization

This essay has a total of 2749 words and 9 pages.

Drug Legalization

REFORM DRUG LAWS This paper will prove that America’s drug laws are ineffective and cause
more harm than good. The notion that a state of freedom exists in America is completely
voided by narcotic laws. Narcotic laws cause a black market, which raises the prices of
drugs to astronomical levels. These high prices cause drug addicts to turn to crime in
order to support their habit. There exists substantial evidence that marijuana is less
harmful than legal product like alcohol or nicotine. The war on drugs is comparable to the
Vietnam War in its harm on the current generation of minorities. The government avoids
ending anti-narcotic legislation because of the vast amount of capital which is spent on
the war on drugs in terms of law enforcement and prison systems. Also there are many
legislators whose campaign corner stones are often getting tough on drugs, to make an
about face would mean political suicide. Yes, drugs are illegal. This very fact is what
discourages many Americans from using drugs. However the illegality of the substances in
question do not stop all people from using. Despite the severe punishment users of illicit
drugs face if caught, illicit drug use is widespread in the United States. “According to
the National Institute on Drug Abuse's 1992 National Household Survey, more than one in
three Americans (36.2%) have used illegal drugs at least once in their lifetime, nearly 28
million Americans (11.1%) used them in the previous year, and almost 14 million Americans
(5.5%) used them during the past month” (Skolnick 3). This is clear evidence that the war
is not working. Drug addicts will continue using drugs regardless of the penalties
associated with procession, simply because they are addicted to these dangerous substances
and that takes precedence over fear or respect of the law. “The White House Office of Drug
Control Policy estimate that 20 percent of the nations cocaine users consume 66 percent of
the nations cocaine” (Eldredge 9). For these addicts, attainment of drugs takes precedence
over possible jail time. The attainment of these drugs is a problem for these addicts.
Considering that the entirety of drug trade is done on an illegal black market, prices are
astronomical. “A typical heroin addict is spending 200 dollars a day on drugs” (Horrowitz
2). Many of these addicts are at a point where they are so addicted, that they can no
longer function in a workplace environment. In order to obtain narcotics the user will
often turn to crime. “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” (Miller
3). The street crime, which most political candidates pledge to clean up, is a direct
result of the measures which the United States has taken in order to make it a so called
better place. The War on Drugs costs the United States billions of dollars. “Fifteen
billion dollars are fed into the federal drug control budget annually” (Norml). This money
would be better spent on schools, roads, and other things that the people of America could
use. Instead it is spent on prisons, police forces, and other government institutions. The
reason why people become involved in the drug trade is no different than why people became
involved in the bootlegging trade during prohibition, money. There are phenomenal amounts
of cash which can be earned in the drug trade. “In 1984 a kilogram of cocaine sold for
$4,000 in Columbia. That same kilogram sold for $300,000 on the streets of the United
States” (Scott 82). That is a 75% increase in the price of the product. With a little
organization you can create an intertwined network of buyers, wholesalers, transporters,
and sellers. “This business which you created can run on very little overhead. You pay no
taxes, no benefits, no rent. You handle your own insurance and you take your own
collections”(Gray 13). The only problem that you face is someone in your organization
being caught by law enforcement. If this happens though, there are plenty of people who
can step up and take the persons job. Today the people involved in the business of drugs
have gotten smarter. “In Illinois it is a Class X felony to sell crack cocaine within one
thousand yards of a church, school, or park, that carries a six to sixty year sentence.
But the maximum you can give a juvenile is thirty days in the Audy Home” (Gray 4).
Therefore in Chicago a number of the people selling crack on the streets are under
eighteen. Most people would agree that one thing they don’t want to see children involved
in is drugs. However, the current laws on the books create a system where it is beneficial
for children to deal drugs, especially in urban areas with large minority populations.
“The drug war has driven people to harder drugs. As marijuana is a substance which is
bulky and harder to transport than say cocaine. Therefore the DEA has been more successful
in finding marijuana than say cocaine. This creates a shortage on the streets, following
the law of supply and demand, this drives the price of marijuana up. This will invariably
lead people to harder substances”(Bertram 134). “There are seventy million people in
America who have used marijuana, ten million continue to use regularly” (Buckley 1).
Marijuana is the third most popular drug in America. It comes in only slightly behind
nicotine and alcohol. “However, it accounted for 695,200 arrests in 1997” (Norml). So a
physically non addictive substance which does not cause its users to become violent is
illegal. While two substances that are addictive and can cause their users to become
violent are legal. This doesn’t make sense. As for the health problems associated with
marijuana. “The myth is that a single marijuana cigarette equals sixteen cigarettes in
terms of the amount of tar consumed. This has been shown to be false. A more widely
accepted estimate is that a marijuana cigarette has about four times the tar of
tobacco”(Norml). The dangers associated with consuming tar can be lessened with the use of
vaporizer smoking devices. It can be completely eradicated through orally consuming the
cannabis. Toxicity wise there has never been a reported death of a person by marijuana
alone. “This is compared to 400,000 tobacco related deaths, and 100,000 alcohol related
deaths, as of Jan 1997 “(Norml). “Though it is harmful to drive a car or operate heavy
machinery under the influence of marijuana, numerous studies have been shown to find that
it is not as harmful as driving under the influence of alcohol“(Norml). “Marijuana does
not kill brain cells. This widely believed notion was from one study involving three
monkeys. The study has never been duplicated again, and further studies with larger test
populace has debunked this myth” (Norml). “A 1991 study found that there were 6,001 deaths
due to illicit drugs” (Skolnick 1). However many of these deaths were a direct result of
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