The legalization of drugs/decriminalization of drugs, the pros and cons
Theories of Criminal Behavior (University of Oklahoma)
The legalization of drugs/decriminalization of drugs has been a hot topic for the past several years. Especially with the legalization of marijuana in a few states, Colorado and Washington State being the first, the debate against and for the legalization of drugs is more present than ever. I will present arguments for drug decriminalization/drug legalization and arguments in opposition to drug decriminalization/drug legalization and share my own personal opinion. First off, let’s define a few things; decriminalization is the act of no longer continuing to criminally penalize people for certain acts concerning drugs, whether that is dealing them or using them recreationally. Decriminalization typically alters the current terms of criminalization and puts fines in place for these acts rather than jail time.
Legalization is what decriminalization, only there’s more to it. Legalization removes criminal penalties as well as making these now legalized drugs taxable and controllable by local, state and the federal governments.
The strongest arguments for the decriminalization, and even more so for the legalization of drugs, are all based on the economic benefits of legalization. Legalization could help our government by taxation revenue, decrease in the amount of crowding in federal prisons and local jails, and possibly allow an opportunity for redemption for those people that ‘got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time’. Drug legalization would produce tax revenues of an estimated “46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco” (Ghosh). By legalizing drugs our government could slowly put some of the money from taxation towards things to better our country, rather than fighting this war on drugs that will continue on until we change something. Another benefit would be the decrease in the number o