Decriminalization Of Marijuana


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This nation's so-called war on drugs has been a miserable failure. It hasn't'
worked. The drug problem is getting worse. I think it is the number one problem facing
this country today. I think that we as people and our politicians really need to put all of
our options into perspective, and one of the things we need to talk about is
decriminilization.
     Common sense or logic would dictate that when you take this issue on, when you
talk about legalization or decriminalization, if you are going to talk about that, you are
going to have to talk about taking it in steps, and certainly the first step would be
marijuana. All of us can make a list out of friends that have used drugs. Are our friends
criminals for using drugs? Yes, they are today given the laws that we have. Should they
be criminals? Are they criminals? For the most part, no they are not. We are talking about
federal law, and I see this as a national issue which is an extremely tough issue with
politicians. There isn't a bigger taboo topic because if you're going to talk about
legalization, you're talking about making it readily available for kids, but I read in a poll
that 95 percent of kids in high school say illegal drugs are readily available. I know this is
a fact because I once was a high school student and had the unfortunate experience to see
this all around me. I don't know how it gets more readily available than that. I'm not
advocating breaking the law, but personally, I don't think you should go to jail for
smoking marijuana. I think 75 percent of the people in this country would say, no, you
shouldn't go to jail for smoking marijuana.
     700,000 Americans are in jail or prison on drug related charges. That is
something I have a problem with and think we as people and a democratic country is
something we need to deal with. I am very confused about this issue and I am deeply
concerned and feel this is something that needs to be dealt with and handled properly
according to the facts. I am talking about legalization and decriminalization, but I'm
definitely not condoning drug use. From what I know and what I see as an American
citizen on a day to day basis it seems like there is no political support and no one is trying
to do anything about it. We're spending more and we're locking more people up for drug
use in today's society which is a definite cause of the overcrowded prisons in our country.

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Personally, I have a fundamental problem with putting people in jail for drug use. I
believe it is more of a health issue than a criminal issue. Legalization is a viable
alternative to what we are doing now, marijuana or heroin becomes a controlled
substance like tobacco or alcohol. Legalization will involve a whole new set of laws
which could create a whole new set of problems. But I think those problems will be half
of what they are today. I hate to say it, but the majority of people who use drugs use them
responsibly. They choose when to do it. They do them at home. It's not a financial
burden. I was somebody who smoked marijuana. I made a bad choice. But I still feel it
shouldn't have landed me in jail. I was brought up learning that drugs make you crazy.
Then I did marijuana for the first time, and thought it wasn't so bad. It was kind of cool.
That's when you find out that anti-drug education efforts have been a lie and you loose
faith in the system.
     Other than current and former drug czars, it is hard to find someone to praise the
american drug policy. While pointing to the overall decline in illicit drug use in the U.S.
since 1980, those inclined to defend this policy must also acknowledge constant levels of
addiction and intensive usage, periodic rises in adolescent drug use, the readily available
and inexpensive illegal supplies of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, historically high
prison populations, continued drug related social problems ( most notably AIDS and
hepatitis), along with the tremendous economic, social, and emotional costs of an ever
escalating war on drugs. At one point, the focus of critics of drug policy was legalization-
primarily of marijuana- and was associated mainly with community researchers who
studied drug users in the field and were joined by a vocal group of drug enthusiasts.
Although some preleminary steps were taken in this direction at the state level and by
national commisions in the 1970's, this stance was largely polemic and quixotic, and has
continued to be so in the U.S. At the same time there has always been a category of
public health critics who decried the lack of focus on treatment of addiction.
     However, begining in the late 1980's, drug policy reformers started to find
legitimate national voices in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the United States. This
loosely organized group of policy critics began to focus on decriminalization of all drugs
or just "soft" drugs such as marijuana, as was tried in several states in the U.S. in the
1970's. Typically, decriminalization means not permitting legal sales of drugs, but
dealing with users by other criminal sanctions. Now that we are in the 21st century, this
position has taken a number of new directions in the U.S. Widespread support for
medical use of marijuana has been expressed in electoral iniatiatives. The term "harm
reduction" is now commonly used to describe policies to recognize and accept the
continued use of drugs by many people and to prevent harms from this use, particulary
the spread of AIDS. Needle exchange programs, as well as as reducing HIV infection,
keep addicts healthier in general and offer them positive connections in society.
     In conclusion, it is very hard to say what side I am on in the decriminalization of
drugs. There is so many positive positive points for either side, but I would have to say
that I am for the decriminalization because I think it would generate massive amounts of
money to get people with drug addictions the help they needed. I think we need to
address this issue as a health one and not a criminal issue. We need to put more money
and effort into educating our children on the harm drugs can portray on your health and
on your life. I think that role models and kids parents need to express better values on life
and drug use. I feel people that kids look up that use drugs is the major problem with kids
trying drugs then starting to abuse them. We as a country need to focus on getting this
problem solved because it obviously just hasn't been working. We shouldn't have to
depend on politicians to get this settled, but that looks like what were going to have to
do, but we as people can still make a difference and that's were the effort has to start.
     This nation's so-called war on drugs has been a miserable failure. It hasn't'
worked. The drug problem is getting worse. I think it is the number one problem facing
this country today. I think that we as people and our politicians really need to put all of
our options into perspective, and one of the things we need to talk about is
decriminilization.
     Common sense or logic would dictate that when you take this issue on, when you
talk about legalization or decriminalization, if you are going to talk about that, you are
going to have to talk about taking it in steps, and certainly the first step would be
marijuana. All of us can make a list out of friends that have used drugs. Are our friends
criminals for using drugs? Yes, they are today given the laws that we have. Should they
be criminals? Are they criminals? For the most part, no they are not. We are talking about
federal law, and I see this as a national issue which is an extremely tough issue with
politicians. There isn't a bigger taboo topic because if you're going to talk about
legalization, you're talking about making it readily available for kids, but I read in a poll
that 95 percent of kids in high school say illegal drugs are readily available. I know this is
a fact because I once was a high school student and had the unfortunate experience to see
this all around me. I don't know how it gets more readily available than that. I'm not
advocating breaking the law, but personally, I don't think you should go to jail for
smoking marijuana. I think 75 percent of the people in this country would say, no, you
shouldn't go to jail for smoking marijuana.
     700,000 Americans are in jail or prison on drug related charges. That is
something I have a problem with and think we as people and a democratic country is
something we need to deal with. I am very confused about this issue and I am deeply
concerned and feel this is something that needs to be dealt with and handled properly
according to the facts. I am talking about legalization and decriminalization, but I'm
definitely not condoning drug use. From what I know and what I see as an American
citizen on a day to day basis it seems like there is no political support and no one is trying
to do anything about it. We're spending more and we're locking more people up for drug
use in today's society which is a definite cause of the overcrowded prisons in our country.
Personally, I have a fundamental problem with putting people in jail for drug use. I
believe it is more of a health issue than a criminal issue. Legalization is a viable
alternative to what we are doing now, marijuana or heroin becomes a controlled
substance like tobacco or alcohol. Legalization will involve a whole new set of laws
which could create a whole new set of problems. But I think those problems will be half
of what they are today. I hate to say it, but the majority of people who use drugs use them
responsibly. They choose when to do it. They do them at home. It's not a financial
burden. I was somebody who smoked marijuana. I made a bad choice. But I still feel it
shouldn't have landed me in jail. I was brought up learning that drugs make you crazy.
Then I did marijuana for the first time, and thought it wasn't so bad. It was kind of cool.
That's when you find out that anti-drug education efforts have been a lie and you loose
faith in the system.
     Other than current and former drug czars, it is hard to find someone to praise the
american drug policy. While pointing to the overall decline in illicit drug use in the U.S.
since 1980, those inclined to defend this policy must also acknowledge constant levels of
addiction and intensive usage, periodic rises in adolescent drug use, the readily available
and inexpensive illegal supplies of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, historically high
prison populations, continued drug related social problems ( most notably AIDS and
hepatitis), along with the tremendous economic, social, and emotional costs of an ever
escalating war on drugs. At one point, the focus of critics of drug policy was legalization-
primarily of marijuana- and was associated mainly with community researchers who
studied drug users in the field and were joined by a vocal group of drug enthusiasts.
Although some preleminary steps were taken in this direction at the state level and by
national commisions in the 1970's, this stance was largely polemic and quixotic, and has
continued to be so in the U.S. At the same time there has always been a category of
public health critics who decried the lack of focus on treatment of addiction.
     However, begining in the late 1980's, drug policy reformers started to find
legitimate national voices in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the United States. This
loosely organized group of policy critics began to focus on decriminalization of all drugs
or just "soft" drugs such as marijuana, as was tried in several states in the U.S. in the
1970's. Typically, decriminalization means not permitting legal sales of drugs, but
dealing with users by other criminal sanctions. Now that we are in the 21st century, this
position has taken a number of new directions in the U.S. Widespread support for
medical use of marijuana has been expressed in electoral iniatiatives. The term "harm
reduction" is now commonly used to describe policies to recognize and accept the
continued use of drugs by many people and to prevent harms from this use, particulary
the spread of AIDS. Needle exchange programs, as well as as reducing HIV infection,
keep addicts healthier in general and offer them positive connections in society.
     In conclusion, it is very hard to say what side I am on in the decriminalization of
drugs. There is so many positive positive points for either side, but I would have to say
that I am for the decriminalization because I think it would generate massive amounts of
money to get people with drug addictions the help they needed. I think we need to
address this issue as a health one and not a criminal issue. We need to put more money
and effort into educating our children on the harm drugs can portray on your health and
on your life. I think that role models and kids parents need to express better values on life
and drug use. I feel people that kids look up that use drugs is the major problem with kids
trying drugs then starting to abuse them. We as a country need to focus on getting this
problem solved because it obviously just hasn't been working. We shouldn't have to
depend on politicians to get this settled, but that looks like what were going to have to
do, but we as people can still make a difference and that's were the effort has to start.


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