Saturday, November 17, 2012

Should Drugs Be Legalized?

Should all drugs be legalized? The question is, Why should it not be? This past week Washington State and Colorado both legalized Marijuana for recreational use. This reignited a debate over whether all drugs should be legalized in America. The war on drugs is the longest war in The History of The United States. An endless exercise in futility that has lasted 40 years. It is also the most costly. This war has cost tax payers $1 trillion dollars to date and has cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives. In my opinion it is the most ineffective law enforcement initiative in the world. It has not stopped drug abuse, drug related crime or the steady flow of drugs from crossing U.S. borders. The only thing this war on drugs has done is fuel the prison industrial complex by increasing the prison population with non violent offenders. Most of whom are African-Americans adversely effected by laws designed to apply stiffer penalties to those accused of crack cocaine possession. A recent study shows that 72% of all drug users are white, but 81% of all inmates in Federal prison for non violent drug offenses are Black. These disproportionate figures indicate a miscarriage of justice in which African- Americans are casualties both literally and figuratively. The war on drugs has made The United States #1 in incarceration in the world. With 746 for every 100,000 US citizens in prison.
In 1919 the Volstead Act was passed. The Volstead Act stated that "beer, wine, or other intoxicating malt or liquors" meaning any beverage that was more than 0.5% alcohol by volume was prohibited. The Act also stated that owning any item designed to manufacture alcohol was illegal and it set specific fines and jail sentences for violating Prohibition. In 1920 The 18th amendment went into effect. This amendment marked the beginning of Prohibition. It outlawed the sale, transportation and manufacture of intoxicating liquors. This created an underground economy and a criminal subculture that is legendary. After prohibition, the homicide rate in the U.S. increased by 78%. Gangsters like Al Capone ruled violent criminal empires whose soul commodity was illegal alcohol. This with the stock market crash of 1929, followed by the Great Depression started changing the common consensus as to the validity, and practicality of the 18th Amendment. People needed jobs and the Government could make a profit from the taxation of alcohol. In 1933 the 21st amendment repealed the 18th amendment. It was the first amendment that was ever repealed. After the passing of the 21st amendment the crime rate plummeted, more Americans became gainfully employed, and those gangster who profited went out of business. Fast forward to today, to into account similar crime statistics, and replace a depression with a recession while applying the same principal. Is there a valid reason why legalizing drugs would not have the same effect as the 21st amendment? I'd say so. Of course there is the issue of Christian principals. Drugs lead to addiction, addiction leads to abuse, and abuse leads to destruction. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and anything that you do to dishonor your temple does not honor God who created it. So there is definitely a biblical reason why drug use is unacceptable. But when the laws that have been designed to protect us, have been used to build a now thriving prison industry under the guise of a "war", we must question the motives of those who pass these laws. The war on drugs has also created a recidivist culture in which a steady stream of non-violent offenders are funneled in and out of the prison system without being rehabilitated or given the tools to become productive. In conclusion, if America is not winning the war on drugs, then why are we fighting at all?


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