Legalization - An Outline Of The Issues, Arguments Pro And Con, Medical Marijuana, Industrial Hemp
war drug drugs national
Drug abuse existed long before the Nixon administration declared a "war on drugs" in the 1970s. More than thirty years later this "war" continues with no end in sight.
- Drug arrests increased from 580,900 in 1980 to 1.7 million in 2003; in 1984 they represented 6.1% of all arrests, while in 2003 they were 12.3% (Crime in the United States, 2003, Washington, DC: FBI).
- In 2003, 20% of state prisoners were held for drug offenses, up from 6.5% in 1980, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics.
- Annual expenditures to fight the war just at the federal level have exceeded $10 billion a year every year since 2000, and now exceed $12 billion, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Judicial dockets have become crowded and prisons are operating above capacity.
- Heroin in the 1970s came primarily from Asia; now it comes from Mexico and Colombia in the western hemisphere. Synthetic drugs have multiplied, and one of the most potent, methamphetamine, is produced in every state.
- The population using drugs has been growing in recent years in every age group rather than declining.
Not surprisingly, the war on drugs, and/or the national policy under which it has been fought by administrations of both major parties, have many critics. One major alternative to the "war" is legalization. The issue, however, is inherently complex and controversial, in part because, as will be shown, a preponderant majority
of the public opposes even the mildest form of legalization, the legalization of marijuana.
In the United States legalization of drugs almost invariably refers to the legalization of marijuana rather than, for instance, heroin and cocaine. Use of "hard drugs" like these is relatively limited, and most Americans consider them to be highly addictive and damaging to one's physical and mental health. Marijuana's
situation is different. According to the Substance A…
Most of those who favor legalization in some form (decriminalization, regulation, for medical use) use two arguments in combination. The first is that an approach to drugs based on prohibition and criminalization does not work, produces excessive rates of incarceration, and costs a lot of money that could be more productively
spent on treatment and prevention. The second is that drug use is an act…
Before the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which effectively prohibited the sale of marijuana, more than twenty pharmaceuticals were on the market with marijuana as an ingredient (Medical Marijuana Briefing Paper—2005, Washington, DC: Marijuana Policy Project, http://www.mpp.org/pdf/mmjbrief.pdf). In the 1970s
marijuana's medicinal properties were rediscovered by recreation…
Industrial hemp and marijuana both come from the Cannabis sativa plant, but while marijuana can contain THC levels of 3 to 15%, cannabis plants grown for industrial hemp contain less than 1% of THC. Industrial hemp can be used to make many products, including rope, textiles, plastics, paper products, and oil. U.S. law bans the
cultivation of hemp but permits the sale of hemp products. From only a …
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