Legalization of Drugs

Man, as a creature, is inherently bored. Since the dawn of time, it has been the
natural instinct of man to find alternative methods to enhance his being. The
many means by which man has turned to include sex, gambling, and the consumption
of substances beyond the requirements of nutrition. The consumption of
substances can be further broken down into legal and illegal substances. The
question then becomes, who are we to place labels on certain substances by
deeming them legal and prohibit others by creating penalties for their use?

The issue of prohibition is certainly not a new one to our nation. In 1919, the
18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcoholic
beverages. "Suddenly honest, responsible Americans who just wanted a drink, were
turned into criminals. Respectable bars became underground speak-easys, and
legitimate liquor manufacturers were replaced by criminal bootleggers." Gang
warfare, bribery, and criminal activity reached an all-time high. Standards on
illegal alcohol were much lower than those on the previously legal alcohol which
led to the blinding or death of many consumers. Finally in 1933, politicians
buckled and repealed the 18th Amendment. The Prohibition attempt of the early
20th century provides the perfect historical support for the decriminalization
of drugs.

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species
of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that
it attempts to control a man\'s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of
things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very
principles upon which our government was founded."

The rise in violent crime over the years has been a concern to most. A major
cause of this increase in crime is the illegal trafficking of drugs. As violent
crime continues to increase, we are unable to devote our financial resources and
time into preventing and prosecuting those who commit crimes such as murder,
rape, and assault. The reason we are unable to devote these resources where they
are needed is because we are foolishly spending them on a battle that we cannot
win-the "War on Drugs."

Prior to Ronald Reagan\'s "War on Drugs," America\'s crime rate had been declining.
Since the introduction of the new wave drug laws, violent crimes have increased
32% between 1976 and 1985. Eighty percent of all violent street crimes are now
drug related.

Most of the violent crime associated with drugs can be traced directly to the
drug dealers and not the users. "The \'war on drugs\' drives up prices, which
attracts more people to the drug trade. When potential profit increases, drug
dealers resort to greater extremes, including violence." For example, the street
price of heroin has risen 5,000 times that of hospital costs. These artificial
prices lead to turf wars in which one dealer attempts to protect his sales from
another. These turf wars cause dealers to kill each other, law enforcement
officials, and often innocent bystanders. The rising cost of the drugs causes
desperate addicts to commit robberies in order to keep up with the inflating

If the importation, sale and use of drugs were legal, the open competition would
eliminate the profitability of drug dealing. Without the economic incentive to
commit violent crimes, the violence of drug dealing would be dramatically
reduced. In addition to the elimination of the economic incentive, the health
risk factor would help to reduce the role of the drug dealer. A potential
customer would probably choose to buy a market-tested product from a pharmacy as
opposed to buying a product of unknown dosage and quality from a corner dealer.

Without the lure of potential profits, the drug dealing profession would lose
its luster. A major problem is that children in lower-class areas see selling
drugs as the only way to make money. Minimum wage salaries can not compare to
the huge profits associated with dealing. Failing to acquire job skills at an
early age, they run the risk of never finding a real job and living off welfare
their entire lives. In a lower-class area, the drug dealers are seen as the
center of the community. They become role models for the children, replacing
their parents. Eliminating the drug dealer will force these young children into
the reality that education is the way out of the ghetto-not selling drugs.

Prohibition laws cannot be effectively enforced. In a free society, if people
want a product, they will be able to find a way to get it, whether or not it is
legal. "No matter how many Americans are arrested for drug use, no matter how
many pushers are