Drugs legal in America. At first glance, it sounds alarming to some. But why is that the case when so many drugs are already legal in the U.S.? Prozac, Valium, Oxycontin, Viagra, and Cialis just to name a few. Those roll off of the tongue with ease. But the mention of Marijuana, Cocaine, Ecstasy and Heroin generate a much different reaction from most Americans. Forget why this is, people don’t usually examine the reason for their reaction. Maybe it was growing up with some education programs fighting drug use, like D.A.R.E. Or maybe it was someone’s parents or family that instilled in them that drug use is wrong. It’s tough to credit society these days with steering people away from drugs. Any good that society does is easily neutralized with one hour of Entertainment News and learning about who’s abusing what this week. We know drugs can be harmful. That’s not the issue at hand. The real question is, could they be less harmful on society?
The growing violence across the U.S.- Mexican border is spilling over into America more and more every day. And let’s face it, many Americans don’t start paying attention to something until it’s in our backyard. So while we have the attention of the American people, it’s the perfect time to pose this question: Should the United States of America legalize drug use?
If we did, it could help to stop the drug-related violence along our border and around the rest of our country. The Government could also regulate the production and sale of these drugs which would have a lot of positive effects on the country. First, the Government could produce the drugs and the FDA could inspect and regulate them. This would mean a much safer product and clear warnings for people who use them, like cigarettes and alcohol already have listed on their packaging. Second, the Government could tax these drugs at a high rate like they do on cigarettes and make a great deal of money for the country and its states. Third, legalizing drugs could give the U.S. a shot in the arm as a travel destination for tourists. Just like Amsterdam is a destination for people who want to smoke Marijuana legally. Lastly, the Government could use this money for a variety of useful purposes. They could use it to help balance state budgets (46 of our 50 United States could file bankruptcy this year due to the Recession). For those concerned about preventing drug use, the Government could use this new found money to fund drug rehab programs that are underfunded, or don’t exist yet.
Now legalizing drugs isn’t all a big positive. Some people may not currently use drugs because they are afraid of being arrested and thrown in jail. Those same people may not feel that fear if these drugs are legal and more pure, which could lead to them using. But then again, why is this prospect okay with some Americans for alcohol and tobacco, but not for drugs?
I say make alcohol and tobacco illegal just like other drugs are, or start making Marijuana legal. I still can’t sit here and say I’d be okay with Cocaine, Heroin, and Ecstasy being legal. Marijuana has some medical benefits, like relieving the pain of terminally ill people and is legal in some parts of the U.S. for that specific use. At worst, Marijuana kills some brain cells, makes people lazy and gives them the munchies. If people want to do that to themselves, that is their personal choice. I’m okay with it in exchange for the benefits I listed above, as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. But the harder drugs that I mentioned seem to make people more dangerous when they are on them. Therefore, I think the negatives far out way the positives for those. So in my United States, if you can buy cigarettes and alcohol legally, you should be able to do the same for Marijuana.
In the meantime we should at least stop crowding our jails with non-violent drug offenders. It doesn’t help in rehabbing the drug users and it’s just another bill for the American tax payers. Looks like New York Governor David Paterson and I are on the same page. Just today he agreed to ease drug laws in N.Y. These drug laws were once among the harshest in the nation and led a movement more than 30 years ago toward mandatory prison terms. Paterson says that judges will now be able to use techniques like treatment and counseling that have proven more effective than prison for low-level offenders. At the same time, penalties will be toughened for drug kingpins. New York has taken the lead here America, let’s follow.
Leslie Marshall and Mark Grimaldi
The Leslie Marshall Show