Legalize These: Part One: Drugs

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Call me a hippy but I think for the United States to be called a ‘free country’ people should have choices on how to live their lives. I think fewer restrictions on personal liberties are desirable compared to more restrictions or laws. To me the biggest hypocrisy or farce in this country is the war on drugs. Public opinion and things are changing quickly by state and local voting for legalization of marijuana across the country.  On this entry I’ll make four broad reasons drugs in general should be legalized.

1. Too many people are in prison in this country.

I read online a few weeks ago a statistic claiming that 20 percent of people in prison in this country are in there from non-violent drug charges. If that statistic is half true, it is horrendous. To me prison should be the last resort and for actual criminals. To me criminals are murderers, pedophiles, and rapists as the most sever. After those criminals I think prison is for violent people that do physical harm to others, and thieves. All drug users do harm to themselves and the ones close to them, but I don’t feel they should be thrown in jail.

If the 20 percent statistic is true, illegality of drugs is the main reason prisons are overcrowded, and a burden to finance.  It’s ironic that as a self proclaimed free country we have more people in prison per capita then all the other first world countries.

In this country having a rap sheet hinders one’s career for his or her entire lifetime. Every application for work asks about a criminal past, and in a lot of cases the answer to that question is the basis for not hiring an applicant.  Getting heavily involved in drugs can have it’s own severe consequences as far as addiction and personal matters. If drugs were legal a fraction of the money saved from not imprisoning millions of people could be used for more effective rehab programs. One month in rehab hands down is less expensive than a prison term.

2. Mexico and other countries are war zones because the illegality of drugs in the United States.

In this country when you crack open a Bud Light and take a swig you are not metaphorically sipping blood from around the world. With using drugs from weed to cocaine you kind of are supporting nasty stuff worldwide. Mexico for decades has had problems, and millions of Mexicans risk their lives to cross the United States boarder illegally.  Traditionally the reason was mass poverty. But in the past 5 years there has been mass murder, executions, and especially near the boarders Mexico has become a dangerous place. There is a war between drug lords and their police force. Across the world Heroin sales financed Taliban operations when the United States was at war with Iraq and Afghanistan.

My guess if the United States made drugs legal it would be like a switch being turned off. Blood does not shed for alcohol and tobacco sales worldwide. Mexico, Columbia and lots of other countries would follow the United States lead, make it legal, and profit from it. All the sudden there would be prosperous international trade, and less bloodshed. The United States would need to be the first but the effects would be worldwide.

3. Personal Choice

Conformity is a big part of this country’s history. Everyone should have a white picket fence, a spouse, 2.5 children, and a dog. I’d like to think my generation has changed that somewhat. When I was a kid you had to be a bad ass to have a tattoo, now they are commonplace. Views on race, sexual preferences and more are leaning towards tolerance everyday. Things are improving. I think that now not everyone over 30 is expected to to have a spouse, house and kids.

In some documentary I watched years ago Louis Armstrong in the 1930’s called drinking the white man’s drug in defense of smoking marijuana. Beer and alcohol has more historical significance in Europe than other continents. Prohibition from 1920 to 1933 was a disaster because of the popularity of booze in American culture. Alcohol and tobacco are the reigning kings of drugs. The legality of those two are never really questioned, they are big business. Marijuana became illegal in 1937, and there has been billions put into keeping it illegal.

Not everyone has to be the same. Not everyone likes the feeling of being drunk.  For a variety of reasons people dabble into other drugs than alcohol. It’s a fact of life that a certain amount of people will become addicted to hard drugs. Drugs like Heroin and Bath Salts are hard to put a positive spin on the damage they can do on users. But for adults over the age of 21 they should be able to experiment and partake in drugs if they want to. Not everyone is satisfied with a beer.

4. Stop being hypocrites.

Let’s take my age, 36, and hypothesize something.  Let’s assume we were able to ask every 36 year old in this country if he or she did illicit drugs anytime in the past. Also lets assume everyone told the truth.  What percentage of people age 36 indulged at some point?  There is no way of actually knowing, but I think fifty percent is not an outlandish guess.   For anyone that did drugs in the past, why is it okay for other people to be serving time for the same activity? I think of murderers, rapists, and violent criminals with relief that they get locked up. Drugs are just part of the grown up world, and it sucks that some people lives are ruined by prison when the majority of users simply go back to work Monday morning.

Our generation I’d say people 45 and younger may be the ones that change these outdated laws.  I think it starts with tolerance and excepting differences in other people. That said, full legality of drugs may never happen, prisons are big business, and so is the international War on Drugs lead by the United States.

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