We believe that the people have the right to put whatever they want in their bodies regardless of whether it is healthy or not, but doesn’t lead to bodily harm to another individual. For decades, the War on Drugs in the US has proven to be a failure that involves punishment and coercion, and has filled jails and prisons with millions of “otherwise law abiding civilians” now branded as criminals. The Drug Policy Alliance has found some interesting statistics that show why the War on Drugs is a failure.
- Law enforcement in the United States makes 1.5 million drug arrests every year, more arrests than all violent crimes combined.
- 80% of those arrested are for possession and involve no violent crime.
- On the average night, 133,000 people in the U.S. are in jail for drug possession.
- People convicted of drug possession can also lose federal financial aid, get evicted from public housing and lose the right to vote.
- While black people make up 13 percent of the population, they represent 35 percent of those held in state prisons for drug possession.
The Decriminalization Of All Drugs
To highlight the benefits of decriminalization when it comes to drug policy, we can learn a lot from Portugal and gain insights on hos we can implement a similar policy in the US. During the late 1990’s, Portugal faced unprecedented rates of addiction, prison overcrowding, and rapidly growing HIV epidemic. Since 2001 when Portugal first implemented decriminalization of all drugs, the country began to see surprisingly positive results.
- No major increases in drug use.
- Reduced problematic and adolescent drug abuse.
- Fewer people arrested and incarcerated for drugs.
- More people receiving drug treatment due to policies that expanded healthcare to treat drug abusers as patients and not criminals.
- Reduced incidence of HIV/AIDS.
- Reduced drug-induced deaths.
- Reduced social costs of drug misuse.
As huge proponents of adopting universal healthcare, drug decriminalization in the US and worldwide can be a viable alternative to the War on Drugs that has lead to many innocent deaths and incarceration.
Legalization Of Cannabis
Currently medical cannabis is legal in 29 states and recreationally legal in 8 states and in Washington, DC. It doesn’t make sense that there are legal drugs out in the market that has more negative side effects than cannabis itself, yet people end up incarcerated in prison for years because of it. Cannabis has already been proven to treat many illness that includes treating various cancers and is non-invasive. Like all states that have legalized marijuana in some shape or form, the whole nation can benefit from gaining another source of funds due to taxing the plant that can be put into important social programs such as universal healthcare and education! For example, in 2016, the cannabis industry in California generated $2,692,065,315 in total profits despite their dispensaries operating as nonprofit organizations until recreational marijuana status goes into effect during the beginning of 2018 and Colorado has generated $506 million in tax revenue from cumulative cannabis sales from 2014 to May 2017! People shouldn’t have to be put in prison for using a plant that has been used for thousands of years as treatments for medical conditions and we need to legalize industrial hemp as well because 2000 different products can be made from the hemp plant and has great potential for aiding in climate change and economical efforts.