Drug Prohibition There are no panaceas for the world's drug problems, but legalizing drugs, un-clog the court system, and free prison space for real criminals. comes as close as any single policy could. Removing legal penalties from the production, sale and use of "controlled substances" would not create a "heaven on Earth," but it would alleviate many of the nation's social and political problems. Legalization would reduce drug- related crime, save the U.S. billions of dollars In 1984, a kilogram of cocaine worth $4000 in Columbia sold at wholesale for $30,000, and at retail in the U.S. for some $300,000. At the time, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman noted that the wholesale price doubled in six months "due to crackdowns on producers and smugglers in Columbia and the U.S." The consequence of this drastic factory-to-retail escalation is a rise in crime. Addicts must pay hundreds of times the costs of their habit, and often turn to crime to finance their addiction. Also, those who deal in the selling of the drugs become prime targets for assault for carrying extremely valuable goods. The streets become battlegrounds for competing dealers because a particular block or corner can rake in thousands of extra dollars a day. Should drugs be legalized, the price would collapse, and so would the drug-related motivations to commit crime. A pack of cocaine becomes no more dangerous to carry than a pack of cigarettes. The streets would be safer to walk, as criminal drug dealers are pushed from the market. Legalization would also deflate prison overcrowding. Out of 31,346 sentenced prisoners in federal institutions, drug law violators were the largest single category, 9487. By legalizing drugs, there would be no more drug offenders to lock up. Since many drug users would no longer be committing violent or property crimes to pay for their habits, there would be fewer real criminals. This decrease in inmates would bring the overflowing federal prison system down to its rated capacity. The excessive efforts now used against drug activity and drug related-crimes by police would then be put to use more effectively for catching rapists, murderers, and the remaining criminals who commit crimes against people and property. It takes a month to bring a person accused of a crime to trial. It's even slower for civil proceedings. There simply isn't enough judges to handle the ever-increasing caseload. By legalizing drugs, thousands of cases would be wiped off the courts permitting the rest to move faster. Prosecutors would have more time to handle cases, and judges could make more considered decisions. Better decisions would lead to fewer grounds for appeals, reducing the huge amount of appeals courts. The federal, state, and local governments spend about $100 billion a year on law enforcement and criminal justice-programs. About $35 billion of that is directly related to drug-law enforcement. Approximately $15 billion is related to drug crimes committed to obtain drug money or other related drug commerce. Therefore, around $50 billion spent on law enforcement could be saved by legalizing drugs. "fighting drugs is nearly as big a business as pushing them." As Gore Bidal so rightly put it. Legalizing drugs would endanger the jobs of police officers, and politicians campaigning on war on drugs. Legalization would threaten thousands of careers that the taxpayers would no longer need to support. About 70 percent of the drug budget is used to reduce drug supplies while 30 percent is used to reduce demand through prevention and treatment programs. Some policymakers believe the government should use most of the funds to limit the supply of drugs by hiring more customs agents and border patrol officers and by training foreign police officers to catch drug traffickers. This policy would lead to a large increase in futile spending. There is a common misconception among those who want drugs to remain illegal forever, and that is that by eradicating the supply, the drug problem will eventually disappear. The problem is, drugs can never be eliminated. As long as there are people who want drugs, there will be those who are willing to sell. By getting rid of one drug dealer, another takes its place. By getting rid of one drug cartel, another emerges. The funds spent on reducing supplies could be better used to reduce the amount of demand by better educating children and adults alike, and also by treating addicts. Governments exist to protect the rights of the people. By prohibiting drug use, American's civil rights are betrayed. How is prohibition protecting American's rights? Prohibition increases crime and corruption. It also wastes billions of dollars in taxpayer's money in the futile effort of eradicating drugs. It also violates American's rights as free persons to do themselves as they wish. Prohibition is constitutionally incorrect and obviously isn't working. When are American's going to stop wringing their hands and start solving the problem at hand?
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