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An introduction to the legalization of narcotics in the united states

Policies[ edit ] The 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances made it mandatory for the signatory countries to "adopt such measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences under its domestic law" art.

Criminalization also applies to the "cultivation of opium poppy, coca bush or cannabis plants for the purpose of the production of narcotic drugs". Decriminalization usually applies to offences related to drug consumption and may include either the imposition of sanctions of a different kind administrative or the abolition of all sanctions; other noncriminal laws then regulate the conduct or activity that has been decriminalized.

Depenalisation usually consists of personal consumption as well as small-scale trading and generally signifies the elimination or reduction of custodial penalties, while the conduct or activity still remains a criminal offence. The term legalization refers to the removal of all drug-related offences from criminal law: The two most common positions are drug legalization or re-legalizationand drug decriminalization.

Drug legalization[ edit ] Drug legalization calls for a return to the pre-20th century situation in which almost all drugs were legal. This would require ending government-enforced prohibition on the distribution or sale and personal use of specified or all currently banned drugs.

Drug liberalization

Proposed ideas range from full legalization which would completely remove all forms of government control, to various forms of regulated legalization, where drugs would be legally available, but under a system of government control which might mean for instance: The regulated legalization system would probably have a range of restrictions for different drugs, depending on their perceived risk, so while some drugs would be sold over the counter in pharmacies or other licensed establishments, drugs with greater risks of harm might only be available for sale on licensed premises where use could be monitored and emergency medical care made available.

Examples of drugs with different levels of regulated distribution in most countries include: Full legalization is often proposed by groups such as libertarians who object to drug laws on moral grounds, while regulated legalization is suggested by groups such as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition who object to the drug laws on the grounds that they fail to achieve their stated aims and instead greatly worsen the problems associated with use of prohibited drugs, but who acknowledge that there are harms associated with currently prohibited drugs which need to be minimized.

Not all proponents of drug re-legalization necessarily share a common ethical framework, and people may adopt this viewpoint for a variety of reasons. In particular, favoring drug legalization does not imply approval of drug use.

INTRODUCTION

Proponents of drug decriminalization generally support the use of fines or other punishments to replace prison terms, and often propose systems whereby illegal drug users who are caught would be fined, but would not receive a permanent criminal record as a result. A central feature of drug decriminalization is the concept of harm reduction.

Drug decriminalization is in some ways an intermediate between prohibition and legalization, and has been criticized as being "the worst of both worlds", in that drug sales would still be illegal, thus perpetuating the problems associated with leaving production and distribution of drugs to the criminal underworld, while also failing to discourage illegal drug use by removing the criminal penalties that might otherwise cause some people to choose not to use drugs.

However, there are many that argue that the decriminalization of possession of drugs would redirect focus of the law enforcement system of any country to put more effort into arresting dealers and big time criminals, instead of arresting minor criminals for mere possession, and thus be more effective. The drugs are still illegal, the police just handles the situation differently. This also decreases the amount of money the government spends fighting a war on drugs and money spent keeping drug users incarcerated.

Why the U.S. Made Marijuana Illegal

Portugal is the first country that has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs, to positive results. Economics[ edit ] There are numerous economic and social impacts of the criminalization of drugs.

Prohibition increases crime theft, violence, corruption and drug price and increases potency. Milton Friedman estimated that over 10,000 deaths a year in the US are caused by the criminalization of drugs, and if drugs were to be made legal innocent victims such as those shot down in drive by shootings, would cease or decrease. The economic inefficiency and ineffectiveness of such government intervention in preventing drug trade has been fiercely criticised by drug-liberty advocates.

The War on Drugs of the United States, that provoked legislation within several other Western governments, has also garnered criticism for these reasons.

Decriminalization of Narcotics: Canada

There is also evidence that in the long run, consumers are much more responsive to price changes than in the short run, [14]: Clark, an economist who has studied the effects of drug legalization, suggests that a specific taxor sin taxwould counteract the increase in consumption. They believe that much of the violence associated with drug trade is due to the illegal nature of drug trade, where there is no mediating authority to solve disputes peacefully and legally.

Levitt and Ilyana Kuziemko point to the over crowding of prisons as another negative side effect of the war on drugs.

  1. One potential effect that legalization may have is an increase in adolescent use to due increased availability, greater social acceptance, and possibly lower prices.
  2. He lobbied the British Parliament to stop the opium trade. Dutch youth do have a higher mean level of marijuana use than those of youth in other European countries, however, their levels of use are below that of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France which have all until recently not allowed legal cannabis.
  3. The use of cannabis marijuana for recreational purposes is currently illegal and prohibited. This also decreases the amount of money the government spends fighting a war on drugs and money spent keeping drug users incarcerated.

They believe that by sending such a large number of drug offenders to prison, the war on drugs has reduced the prison space available for other offenders. This increased incarceration rate not only costs tax payers more to maintain, it could possibly increase crime by crowding violent offenders out of prison cells and replacing them with drug offenders.

Prohibition of drugs

In the same time period an estimated 37 million nonviolent drug offenders have been incarcerated. In the 20th century, the United States government led a major renewed surge in drug prohibition called the " War on Drugs.

  • Medical marijuana diversion and associated problems in adolescent substance treatment;
  • By highlighting the benefits of eliminating criminal penalties for drug use and possession, we seek to provide policymakers, community leaders and advocates with evidence-based options for a new approach.

The British had gone to war with China in the 19th Century in what became known as the First and Second Opium Wars to protect their valuable trade in narcotics. Motivations claimed by supporters of drug prohibition laws across various societies and eras have included religious observanceallegations of violence by racial minoritiesand public health concerns. Those who are not proponents of anti-drug legislation characterize these motivations as religious intoleranceracismand public healthism.

Various proponents of drug liberalization wish to repeal these laws for reasons ranging from individual rights -based defenses of libertyto consequentialist arguments against the economic and social outcomes of drug prohibition. Starting in the 20th century, large organized movements to overturn existing drug laws formed around the world. The most vocal of these groups exist in liberal democraciesand typically attract liberal and libertarian supporters, although drug liberalization itself is a non-partisan issue and may be supported by adherents of any ideology.

The campaign against alcohol prohibition culminated in the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution repealing prohibition on 5 December 1933, as well as liberalization in Canadaand some but not all of the other countries that enforced prohibition.

  1. Drug decriminalization also ideally entails the removal of criminal penalties for low-level sales, given that the line between seller and user is often blurred this subject and the broader issue of people who sell drugs will be addressed in a subsequent DPA report.
  2. War on Drugs American drug law enforcement agents detain a man in 2005. Nepal only did so in 1976.
  3. In the 14th century, the Islamic scholar Az-Zarkashi spoke of "the permissibility of its use for medical purposes if it is established that it is beneficial. On April 20, 2016, federal Health Minister Philpott announced at a United Nations General Assembly special session on drugs that Canada would introduce legislation on the legalization of the recreational use of cannabis in the spring of 2017.
  4. Recommendations for a Research Agenda and Practitioners Marijuana policy continues to evolve, however, legal marijuana use appears likely to become more accepted given recent trends. Curr Drug Abuse Rev.

However, many laws controlling the use of alcohol continue to exist even in these countries. Current proponents of drug liberalization seek the repeal or softening of drug prohibition laws, most commonly cannabis but also including other controlled substances such as alcoholtobaccoopiatesstimulantspsychedelicsdissociativesprescription drugsand others.

These amounts were higher often many times than in any other European country, possibly making the Czech Republic the most liberal country in the European Union when it comes to drug liberalization, apart from Portugal.