Decriminalizing Drugs


Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2006
I certainly don't think I am alone in thinking that the drug war that has been waged over the years is a very misguided crusade, and that billions of dollars have been wasted. I believe that there are many dangerous drugs out there that should be combatted such as heroin, cocaine, and meth. However, I also think that other drugs, particularly those that are naturally occurring (the plant and fungi drugs such as cannabis, psylocibin, and peyote) have yet to gain hard evidence that they are a danger worth applying rigorous law to. I think it's sick that alcohol and cigarettes are legal when they are responsible for thousands of correlated deaths each year. Decriminalizing drugs has certainly worked in other countries, and I believe that age restrictions could be a deterring force. What do you all think? I certainly believe this is an important topic to be discussed.
It is, and now you've posted the question, I recall that it has been a point raised at some point in time or another, but not explicitly. I for one would like to run with the suggestion that the notion of a war on drugs entails a double-standard.

As a side note, these days ice has become more popular than heroin and cocaine (and apparently, medically speaking, it is also more dangerous).
I do think that these ideas should be considered. I (while I don't smoke it) don't think that marijuana is causeing many problems in society (especially compared to things like alcohol) and see no reason why we should lock up peopl for ite. We should move more money to treatment for serious drug problems and our law enforcement dollars on other things.
Lock people up for usage of Marijuana? You'd have to lock up half of America. Ganja is likely one of the least harmful substances out there that exists. It is in all likelihood 10 times better to consume than legal alcohol.
Yes, that is true. and yet our local jails and even prisons are full of people who have been locked up for it. wouldn't our money be spent actually fighting crime?
Thank you all for getting this discussion rolling (no pun intended). I certainly think that penalties for marijuana and other drug use are extremely draconian, and that they're not effective deterrents. Jail time for using an illegal substance? How does that help someone who perpetrated an act that is hardly criminal in the first place. The only argument is that they're doing harm to themselves, and as we have said there is yet to be any real hard evidence that a lot of these drugs do any lasting damage at all. Is it so hard to believe that some people actually do extensive research into drugs and make informed decisions about putting something into THEIR bodies? I think its sick that someone possessing a bit of marijuana can get a jail sentence comparable to a rapist. Sick.
Okay, so we've been talking about drug use in itself, which is all well and good (I noticed that in surveys in my college, more than 3/4 of the students had tried drugs and a quarter were at least occassional recreational users...meaning that just about everybody with the exception of most of the medical residents had done it :p) The college policy went along the lines of "we don't mind if you do it but don't get caught with it." Medically, some of the non-endogenous psychoactives analogues (i.e. most of your popular drugs ranging from caffeine to heroin) do affect one's neuronal connectivity such that it causes long term loss of plasticity (i.e. it does knock a few edges out of people's intelligence) esp. if taken in excess and regularly, but exact mechanisms are unknown, and this really is hardly grounds for making them illegal. If recreational drugs are to be kept illegal, then cigarettes and maybe even alcohol should also be banned as their burden on health is far greater.

However, let's turn instead to a slightly different issue of drug trafficking. Part of the reason, I thought, that drugs were made illegal was due to the broader social influence that they held. However, as it may have been stated, I suspect that the bans and the war are in fact making this worse, since a black-market is not entirely controllable. One example of where this is contentious was the introduction of "safe shooting galleries" in Sydney, where drug addicts and users could shoot up in a regulated environment without fear of prosecution.
I think a lot of drug laws were put into place for social/cultural reasons. And I don't think that has changed much over time. What kinds of people are we consistently putting away for any kind of drug-related incident? Minorities.
Drug and other product-related crime comes about because when there's a demand for something, there will be a supply. Selling drugs becomes a lucrative venture because there are always plenty of people who want them. Decriminalizing drugs is the first step towards reducing drug-related crime significantly. Eventually I'd like to see this country at least legalize marijuana. Can you imagine the stuff being sold at a farmer's market, or vast fields of it bringing in a tax revenue of billions? Even being able to grow industrial hemp would take in a huge amount of cash in the economy since it's such a versatile fiber. But of course we can't grow it in the US simply because it's associated with MJ. I think LIFTING laws on this and other drugs would be a damn good social reason.
Look at the effects of alcohol and tobacco on our nation as a whole. I can't, for the life of me, understand why these 2 things are legal, yet marijuana isn't.

Now for the stronger, more dangerous stuff, I'd say the war on drugs needs to continue.
Yes, for the stronger, more dangerous stuff. Here in SD we are in the middle of an election where we can legalize medical weed. The people are just up in arms about how dangerous it is - while brave souls who use the drug for medicine dare to go on TV and say that they do, begging voters to help them so they dont' have to go to jail for taking their meds. I hope that these people don't end up arrested after the election is over.
I couldn't agree more with Agaric with this topic. The War on Drugs is un-winnable. There will always be drugs and people who use them. A better response would be to legalize and tax them.

Another point would be to handle it like smoking. Every year the number of smokers either flatlines or drops. This is mainly due to the stigma smoking has within our society. Education about drugs and not criminalizing it will always win in the long run.
I personally don't see any harm with using recreational drugs i.e cannabis.
I feel that it's up to the person who takes them as to how far he/she will let their addiction take them.
I however do not agree with people taking heroine injecting and all the rest of it,it's disgusting and the rest of communties suffer as they will turn to stealing etc to fund their habits.
I know i cannot say 1 rule for 1 and 1 for another,but I really dont see the harm if people want to use cannabis for recreational uses.
I am not a user and never have been, but I do know people who use cannabis and there just normal happy people who pay their way in society unlike the junkies you come across roaming the streets.
The widely mislead idea that cannabis isn't harmful is false. Inhaling any other gas than oxygen is inherently dangerous. Smoke [especially from cigarettes] damage your alveoli, but if you DO smoke Marijauna [not me of course ~_~] you should always take supplements to repair the damaged lung tissue. Of course, there are those that know the dangers [while not NEARLY as dangerous as smoking tobacco, or drinking alcohol] and choose to ignore it, and that's perfectly O.K. It's your body, and as long as you don't harm me, or anyone else, do what you want. That's pretty much my stance on legalizing drugs.
Totally agree with you here George!
Thats what ive always said with drug dealers etc in my village!
It's gotten so out of hand I now say to them and my friends 'as long as they keep it on their side of the fence' then who am i to judge.
Its not that I agree with what there doing, its just that to make a fuss about it all just puts your life and home in danger surely.
So live on, and let the druggies get on with it its their life there ruining!