Should Drugs be Legalized?

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The issue of whether or not drugs should be legalized has been debated since drugs have been made illegal in the United States. The issue is complex and far reaching, having repercussions in our social, economic, and political life as well as many others areas. At the beginning of this paper I will be summarizing an essay called "Legalize Drugs Now!" by Meaghan Cussen and Walter Block, who support legalizing drugs. Cussen and Block believe that the current prohibition of drugs is a violation of a person's most basic civil liberties. They believe that when a government prohibits drugs it is in essence taking control over a person's body, telling him what he can and cannot have. When a person loses this control he becomes a slave, is no longer allowed his "pursuit of happiness", and therefore has lost his civil liberties. Legalizing drugs would restore those liberties. The second argument claims that in a free market both buyers and sellers would gain from the legalization of drugs. The seller of the narcotics obviously values the money more than the drugs and when he has sold the drugs he gained something he sees as more valuable. The same can be said for the buyer, who views the drugs as more valuable than the money he has and therefore exchanges the money for something of more value to him. There will, however, always be some third party that objects to the sale of drugs. Block and Cussen claim that you can never find a transaction that does not offend someone. The sale of alcohol and tobacco both face opposition but continue to sell. They also write that more people will benefit from the reduction of crime due to legal drugs than who object to the sale. Block and Cussen also state that in a free market economy everyone has the opportunity to participate and therefore everyone has equal opportunity for gain. Cussen and Block also believe that when drugs are legalized crime will be reduced due to 4 things that will have rippling effects throughout the community. The first is that, as drugs become legalized, there will be a reduction of theft and murder that were previously associated with the drug trade. Law abiding citizens will then enter the market as suppliers due to the reduction of risk and will drive supply up. With the increase in supply drugs will become cheaper and addicts formerly forced to a life of crime to support their habits will now be able to afford them without having to steal and murder for them. The second effect is the reduction of drug related street violence such as gang wars throughout the community. Dealers will be able to settle their disputes through the judicial system instead of on the streets. The third reason that crime will be reduced is that through the open competition of a free market we will be shifting profits away from illegal drug cartels. These drug cartels often fund dangerous terrorist activities and crime rings; these activities can be greatly reduced. The fourth and final effect of legalization is the simple fact that many formerly illegal activities such as selling and transporting drugs will become legal and socially acceptable. This regulation of drug activity will lead to a great reduction in crime due to its prohibition. Block and Cussen point to the era of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s as a similar example. During prohibition the lack of alcohol created a large black market that was soon overtaken by crime rings and illegal activities. However, after prohibition the black market disappeared and crime rings were forced to look elsewhere and today there are virtually no crime rings that exist to sell alcohol. In contrast, an estimated 750 drug related murders have occurred throughout the US in the past year. Cussen and Block next discuss the "potency effect" as another reason that drugs should be legalized. Once again they cite the 1902s era of prohibition, when sellers often carried more potent forms of alcohol because it was more advantageous to sell...
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