Drug Legalization of Recreational Term Paper

Pages: 3 (950 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs


Upon considering the merits of the respective positions concerning the decriminalization of illicit narcotics, it appears that the views espoused by proponents of decriminalization are more consistent with the overall good of society on multiple levels.

First, it is simply irreconcilable, from a logical perspective, that cigarettes and other tobacco products are sold completely legally, while private use and the mere possession of marijuana and any other agent containing THC such as hashish are severely penalized in many states. Opponents of decriminalization believe that government owes a duty of paternalistic protection of its citizens, but critics point out that even the most well motivated paternalistic laws must reflect a consistency in their application and effect (Taylor, 1982). Meanwhile, cigarettes account for more deaths in this country than all drugs, alcoholism, violent crime and vehicular accidents, combined (Brecher, 1972).

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Second, alcohol abuse so closely parallels the effects of drug abuse that it is equally unjustifiable to permit alcohol sale and consumption to account for tremendous corporate revenue while criminalizing private use of narcotics altogether. Naturally, even under a liberal analysis, personal rights and freedoms end wherever they conflict with the well being and safety of others. Accordingly, proponents of repealing drug laws suggest that laws addressing the criminal operation of motor vehicles and dangerous equipment while under the influence of alcohol should be the extent of penal control of narcotics.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Drug Legalization Legalization of Recreational Assignment

Third, rather than resulting in increased criminality, legalization of private narcotics possession and use would actually decrease criminality associated with drug use, because current legislation creates criminals, by punishing otherwise lawful citizens whose only contact with the criminal justice system arises from their private, victimless crime. Furthermore, redirecting public monies currently funding the "War on Drugs" to appropriate legislation and taxation modeled after tobacco legislation would benefit society, both by generating taxes and more importantly, by dramatically lowering prices, which are currently grossly inflated by the very black market economics that it creates.

Finally, the improved quality of government-regulated narcotics would probably eliminate medical emergencies currently caused by adulterated, impure product, as well as eliminate the widespread transmission of HIV via shared needles. In this regard, modern narcotics prohibitions precisely parallel the horrible cost in lives lost to unscrupulous use of poisonous alcohols (and formaldehydes) instead of ethanol during Prohibition. Rather than learn from past mistakes, opponents of decriminalization are poised to repeat them.


Brecher, E.M. (1972) Licit and Illicit Drugs: The Consumers Union Report.

Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

Dershowitz, A. (2002) Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age

New York: Little Brown & Co.

Goldman, B., Klatz, R. (1992) Death in the Locker Room II:Drugs & Sports

Tucson: The Body Press

Gottlieb, A. (1976) The Pleasures of Cocaine.

Manhattan Beach, CA: Twentieth Century Alchemist

Let Judges Be Judges: Mandatory Sentencing Laws Deny Judicial Branch's

Discretion; Syracuse Post-Standard. Jul 10/03


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