The legal prohibition on most psychoactive drugs has been in place in this country for the better part of a century. This policy of prohibition, however, has never been based on reason or careful consideration, but on the paranoia of a small segment of society and the indifferent willingness of the majority to accept this vocal minority’s claims without question. Outlawing any use of a particular drug is a violation of the basic freedom of individuals to act as they please in their private lives. However, even if one does not accept this belief, an objective analysis of the United States’ history of prohibition clearly shows that attempts to enforce this policy have done far more harm than good, and have utterly failed to control behavior in the intended manner.
These are the two lines of reasoning I will take to argue against drug prohibition in this paper. After giving a brief history of prohibition, I will show that it is wrong in principal and that there is no moral basis for this policy. I will then show that, regardless of moral considerations, prohibition has not and probably cannot work, and more specifically that the "war on drugs" has been a disaster which should be ended immediately. I will then conclude by discussing possible consequences of legalization.
A Brief History of Prohibition
Government has not always seen fit to outlaw psychoactive drugs in the Western world. In fact, there was no prohibition in this country until 1914. Cocaine and Marijuana were both used in the late 19th century both for medicinal and recreational purposes. During this time there was considerable pressure for a ban on alcohol, but narcotics were simply not viewed as a threat to society. N...
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...ave been taken as self-evident, but it should be clear by now that they are not. It is time that we stop wasting our economic and legal resources on this hopeless crusade to shape everyone into a few people’s idea of perfection and put these resources toward helping those who truly need it.
Ackerman, Elise. "The Latest Buzz on Hemp." U.S. News & World Report, March 15, 2008. 50.
ACLU. "ACLU Briefing Paper: Against Drug Prohibition." (Online)
Lazare, Daniel. "The Drug War is Killing Us." The Village Voice, January 23, 2008.
London, William. "Will Legalizing Drugs Benefit Public Health?--Yes." Priorities Volume 7 Number 2. 1995. (Online)
Ostrowski, James. "Thinking About Drug Legalization." Policy Analysis No. 121. May 25, 1989.
Rosenfield, Jim. "The War on Drugs is a Great Success." The Ostrich File. Volume 6, March 20, 1996. (Online).
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