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War on Drugs is War on Democracy Essay

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The voters of California succeeded in passing a proposition to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana as prescribed by doctors. The passing of Proposition 215 seemed to symbolize a promising trend toward knowledge of the substance. However, after reading an article by Eric Schlosser in the April issue of Atlantic Monthly, I have been shocked with the reality of what is occurring elsewhere.

Many of us are aware of the idiocy of our legal system treating marijuana offenders worse than violent criminals. I doubt, however, that many Americans are truly conscious of how some peoples' lives have been shattered because of current practices in the so-called "drug war." Now, about 15 years since its beginning, the "war on drugs" has become a war on personal freedom and toes the line of authoritarianism. On the brink of the 21st century, this is not a good sign for preserving our future, nor that of democracy.

In 1989, a small business owner and Vietnam veteran, Douglas Lamar Gray, who had only petty crimes on his record was sentenced to life in prison without parole after buying one pound of weed for himself and friends. He made the purchase from a convicted felon working as an informant for a local Alabama task force. Gray's wife, left with a 2-year-old son and no source of income, unsuccessfully attempted suicide. The informant was paid $100.

Life sentences for non-violent marijuana offenses exist in 15 states . In Montana, the sentence can be imposed for growing a single plant or selling a single joint. But such martial law is not nearly as horrific as that on the federal level.

Stiff federal policies against drugs arose in 1982 under President Reagan. The largest leap forward came in 1986 with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act w...


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...king away privileges, which laws like the Anti-Drug Abuse Act do not. (FREEDOM is not a privilege; It is an inalienable right!)

I see no choice but for further solutions to embrace the decriminalization of marijuana. I shall not debate the ethics of casual use of the drug. I will merely state that it has never been linked as the sole cause of a single death and no long-term detrimental effects beyond depression have ever been proved. Furthermore, no proof has been found that law enforcement discourages use. (For evidence of the contrary one need only take the examples of the Netherlands and Sweden.) The facilitating of phenomenal business profits among dealers and state and federal organizations, pooled with deprivation of citizens' constitutional rights, is the evil which must be targeted and struck down. This is only made possible when marijuana is legalized.


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