Decriminalize Or Legalize?

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There is a debate happening in America right now on what should be done about marijuana and all other illegal drugs. Should we decriminalize or legalize? In my opinion, we should decriminalize all drugs and legalize marijuana.

Here in American we have an epidemic of drug abuse, specifically opioids. Most of us know someone that addicted to or has overdosed on some illicit drug. Personally, I lost a cousin to heroine addiction. The problem that most people have with their addiction isn’t that they don’t want to quit, it is that they can’t get the help that they need because they are afraid of the legal repercussions of their addiction. Decriminalizing all drugs would solve this problem.

Sending someone to prison for their addiction does not solve their addiction, it only succeeds in ruining their life, pushing them back towards addiction and costing the American people millions of dollars annually. Rather than sending drug users to prison, we should allow them to get the help they so desperately need. Portugal has already done something similar to this. Initially, there was a small increase in drug users, but after a while the numbers started to decrease, especially among the young.

As for marijuana, I believe that it should be legalized and regulated like alcohol. There are a number of reasons that I hold this belief:

First off, compared to alcohol, marijuana is a much safer recreational drug, both to the user and the bystanders.

Second, while marijuana is a schedule 1 narcotic, most of what is required to be a schedule 1 narcotic is not applicable to marijuana. One of these is a high potential for abuse. There is a higher degree of abuse of alcohol and tobacco, both of which are legal. Another requirement to be a schedule 1 narcotic is that there is no current accepted medical treatment, meaning that there is no medical use for the narcotic. This is also false. There are studies that show marijuana helps relieve chronic pain and helps with cancer treatment.

Third, due to legalization in states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado, we have seen that legalizing and regulating is extremely economical for state taxes. In 2015, Colorado collected over $70 million in taxes on marijuana sales alone, nearly double what was collected from alcohol sales ($42 million).

In conclusion, I believe that we need to decriminalize all drugs so that addicts can seek the help that they need without fear of imprisonment and we need to legalize marijuana, both medical and recreational.

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