English 111 Research Draft 2
8 December 2013
Legalization of All Drugs
Marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, hallucinogens, prescription drugs, and synthetics are all illegal for various reasons. Although keeping these substances illegal and controlled through our government seems to be done for all the right reasons, there are reasons that state otherwise. For all the reasons for them these to be illegal there are several for them to be decriminalized and eventually legalized for public use through regulation and taxation. Legalizing these drugs can help our economy, slow crime, and help the health of addicts. It is not hard to see that our economy is on a downward spiral and the extra billions of dollars we spend each year on the War on Drug does not help. The War on Drugs started in President Nixon’s era and is a war with a shapeless, unclear enemy. Allison Schrager an economist with a focus on pension issues examined the legalization on all drugs and states, “For thousands of years, most drugs, including marijuana, morphine, and cocaine, were produced, sold, and consumed legally.” Until the early 20th century, all drugs were legal until American missionary and temperance groups led the concept of global prohibition of drugs. Challengers predicted that criminalizing drug use would never take away the demand for these substances. Along with that prediction, the cost of intervening would eventually create a disproportionate effect on our economy. In Al Capone’s day he made a quick buck off selling alcohol when the National Prohibition Act took hold of America between the years of 1920-1933. Even though alcohol was illegal, it was still in high demand so people found ways of distributing to the public and created a black market for alcohol. This exact scenario is seen in the prohibition of drugs, we spend on average of $40 billion each year to try to eradicate the use of these substances. On top of the $40 billion spent in explicit costs, the implicit costs such as increased violence, otherwise useful citizens in prison, and continuous poverty tack on additional expenses. Even though prohibition does decrease drug use, drugs are still highly addictive and not only are they dangerous to the user, but also to his or her community. According to Gary S. Becker and Kevin Murphy in their article “Have We Lost the War on Drugs?” “The more you enforce drug prohibition, the more violence you’ll see.” With more enforcement the price of drugs will go up since there will be less supply, but the demand will still exist so there will always be a potential for a spike in organized crime. Angela Bacca puts this thought into perspective by stating in the article “It’s Time to Legalize All Drugs” that “the goal of the War on Drugs is to make every American sober 100% of the time that is as impossible as getting the Bush Administration and all their cronies to admit those wars were their ATM.” Nonetheless, even if it is in our best interest to legalize the drug trade we cannot do it without the cooperation of other countries or without regulations and taxation. In America the underground market for illegal substances is a growing problem. The black market for buying, selling, and trading drugs is one of the biggest issues the Drug Enforcement Agency has to deal with. According to Merriam-Webster the “Black Market” Black Market is defined as the illicit buying and selling of goods in violation of a legal price (“Black Market”). Another good way to explain the black market is an underground economy that trades, buys, and sells things illegally. In the United States our online drug trade is called Silk Road and until recently it has been shrouded in secrecy. This online market place is known for supplying over 100,000 customers with various varieties of marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, and prescription pills. Joseph Goldstein writes in his article “Arrest in US Shuts Down a Black Market for Narcotics” on how much...
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