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America’s Taboo: The War on Drugs

by Cody Reymond, Reporter

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We’ve spent years cracking down on drugs and jailing citizens because of victimless crimes and plants.

Drugs, for the most part, are extremely harmful to the human body. However, some drugs have medical uses or are not very dangerous in small doses such as alcohol.

The United States government took its first stand against drugs in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotics act. This restricted the ability to manufacture and the sale of marijuana, heroin, morphine, and cocaine. Thousands of doctors and citizens were jailed for these “crimes” in the following years.
Multiple other acts and laws were passed cracking down on drugs throughout the years, each president adding his own.

Nixon took it to the next level. In 1971 he changed how our country views and treats drugs. He claimed that “America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse.  In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive”

Nixon’s “all-out offensive” was everything but effective.

We’ve thrown away over 1 trillion dollars in taxes to fund the war and statistics from the NIH (National Institute on Drug Abuse) show that these drugs cost us an additional  “$740 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care” and is growing yearly.

Our prison system has also been full of drug related crimes. A vast majority are non violent, victimless crimes. Private prisons have spent enormous sums of money lobbying to keep marijuana and other drugs illegal, which is how they fill up their prisons. With over a million people getting arrested for drug possession each year, one arrest will be made every 25 seconds.

In America we pride ourselves on having freedoms and liberties, but in most states you can’t smoke a plant while on your own private property.

Our government should legalize all drugs to oversee proper manufacturing and sale just like alcohol and tobacco.

Nevada is one the states that is greatly benefiting from legalizing and properly regulating marijuana. The Department of Taxation predicts that the state will generate $120 million in the first two years, and the first month generated $27 million for the state. This will benefit our education system, which dearly needs it, roads, public services, and everything that’s tax funded.

Nevada is not a lucky strike. Colorado, in particular, has found a pot of gold in the industry. They raked in over $200 million in 2016 as the revenue toppled 1.3 billion, and that number continues to grow each year.

Washington pulled in similar amounts with $168 million in 2016. There is an obvious trend that legalizing and regulating drugs is beneficial.

The next big step would be decriminalizing every single drug, and it has been done before.

Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2000. (was effective as of 2001). They saw the number of heroin users get slashed in half. HIV cases dropped from 1,016 to a minute 56 in 2012, and the death rate related to drugs is 5 times lower than the EU average according to EU figures.

Our politicians keep up the war and continue to recklessly throw money into it mainly due to lobbying. Alcohol companies and big pharma donate to anti-marijuana campaigns and movements at every chance they get.  In multiple states these sorts of companies are the biggest backers fighting against legalizing the drug.  

The reason why is clear. If marijuana is legalized alcohol consumption would decline, and profits along with it. For big pharmaceutical companies this would also mean bad news

We could tax the use and generate billions each year and use that to educate people on the dangers as well as pumping that money back into our economy. Usage drops under legalization because the rebellious factor is taken away. Our law enforcement could focus on true crimes rather than victimless ones.

In the land of the free, we should have the choice.

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