Should all drugs be legalized?

 

Substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other recreational drugs are illegal in just about every country on earth (marijuana has some exceptions). These drugs are very obviously bad for people’s personal health, even marijuana which some people have convinced themselves that it’s actually beneficial- it’s not. However, have you ever really given thought to why governments have made the sale and use of these drugs illegal? Tobacco and alcohol are also harmful to personal health and have addictive properties, but they are still legal. Should people not be able to make their own choices regarding what to do if it only affects them and them alone?

Perhaps, however governments clearly think that they have the right and responsibility to enforce these laws which essentially tell us what we can and can not do regarding that issue. Some people do not share the government’s views and believe that every drug should be legalized and the individual should be allowed to live as they see fit. I know, this might sound a bit crazy, but they do have legitimate points that warrant a deeper look. For instance, if all drugs were legal then we wouldn’t see drug lords and militias like we can see now in Mexico and more recently in Kingston, Jamaica. Innocent lives are being lost from the resulting violence in these areas and others around the world. In their place, legitimate companies would assume the distribution channel and no violence would occur.

Also, since people still buy and use these drugs, some say that we may as well ensure the safety and quality of them and not drop the users to the bottom of society but treat them as equal and give them a chance to get rehab without being worried about admitting their drug use. They also give other potential benefits to legalizing all drugs like the claim that instead of costing governments money by way of law enforcement, they can make money by taxing the sales of the drugs, among other positive things.

The main problem with this concept that I have is from a business and economic standpoint. If drugs were made legal then, companies and entire economies would be less productive because a certain percentage of the work force would be high during business hours. This could be an incredible drag for companies and the economies that can overshadow the increase in business from the one drug industry. It could make countries less competitive, which would lead to a local recession. This would spiral in to more depression and drug use which would create a vicious cycle.

Also, it seems that if all these drugs were legal then, crimes would increase because a lot of low income people gravitate towards drugs and when they won’t be able to afford it they will resort to crime and violence. This already happens all the time, but the fact that it is illegal acts as a barrier for some people to try them in the first place.

Overall, it is hard to determine if the positive or negative results would actually materialize without serious research and perhaps even a small test in a community; although, I certainly would not volunteer my community to be the test case.