legalise

Before the 1960’s the UK used to focus on treating drug users. In  an attempt to reduce rising drug use amongst young people. we  now lean towards harsh punishments. This strategy has failed.

Drugs are cheaper and more easily available than ever before, and 67% of the UK population support a review on current drug policy. (BBC)

Humans have been getting high since prehistoric times (Huffington post). Associating drug use with ‘bad’, ‘immoral’ or ‘nasty’  people is a new way of looking at things, which is  neither constructive nor realistic

Even if you believe that drug use is fundamentally wrong, the war on drugs is racist, and it is hurting us. Recoil from the truth as much as you like, the legalisation of drugs is a step towards a safer and fairer world.

‘But drugs are bad for you.’

I don’t know one benefit of smoking tobacco, but weed has been shown to reduce pain, help skin conditions such as psoriasis and make life bearable once again for extreme cases of epilepsy. (Cannabis) However, weed users experience a stigma beyond that of smokers and smoking tobacco remains perfectly legal despite being the leading cause of preventable death world wide. (CDC)

Something doesn’t add up.

In fact, a recent UK study showed weed has radically transformed the life of sick people, 80% of which had more benefits from marijuana consumption than any other drug available. (Guardian) It is not a coincidence that weed has been used medicinally for hundreds of thousands of years, nor that it is rejected by society now. Pharmaceutical companies make billions of pounds a year by convincing you that weed smokers are brainless losers.

In countries where marijuana has been legalised, it’s consumption has actually dropped.

In Colorado (a year after the legalisation of marijuana) the government is making more than 60 million dollars a year from weed related taxes, boosting the economy and even returning money directly back to all its citizens. There has been a decline in use and profits have been invested in health programs. (indepedent)

This isn’t Orwell’s 1984, locking people away for having a different philosophy to you is not ok. Just like with the historic prohibition of alcohol, illegalising something does not reduce its use, it just facilitates the growth of a criminal underworld, where the stakes get higher, drugs can’t be monitored and the profits go to a criminal underbelly instead of to the government where it could be reinvested in society and rehabilitation programs.

Sure I’ve focussed on weed thus far, because the science tells us that it isn’t any more harmful than drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco, but I’m really talking about any drug.

Heroin? Legalise it. Cocaine? Bring it on.

The fact that drugs can be harmful to your health does not help me to understand why we associate drug users with immorality and scandal.

You should have seen my mums book club the day that news sources renounced Nigella Lawson for taking cocaine.

Who cares? The woman can cook. How does drug taking dirty someone? Think about it really, I just don’t understand what someone does in their private life makes people flinch away like that.

Is it because it’s illegal? The holocaust was legal, raping your wife was legal until the 70s, the mere fact that something is legal does not tie in with its innate wrongness.

We hear horror stories of bright young students with their whole lives ahead of them taking contaminated drugs on a night out and dying in front of their distraught house mates.

People don’t want to buy drugs from dark back streets knowing it’s probably mixed with rat poison. By making it available from legitimate sources people will access cleaner drugs, and the money can be used to invest in social programmes, not just fund the pockets of drug mafias and cartels. The people selling illegally will be pushed out of jobs and by undercutting the illegal drug trade a whole world of associated violence will fall apart.

Whilst the drug business is run underground we can’t hold people accountable for dirty drugs that harm people, once it’s legalised we can monitor what going on.

In my mind, drug users are not mindless criminals. They are a mixture of stressed out people chilling out, younger generations exploring what life has to offer and the occasional victim of addiction who is struggling to cope with life. Punishment isn’t the answer.

After all, punishment for drug use is racist and classist.. I mean, come on, it isn’t the white upper class coke users in Canary Wharf that get chucked in prison. According to drug policy, people of color are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated. Shockingly,  black people are 10 x more likely to get arrested for drug use than whites.

Sure, locking people up can be useful to the big cats in the US where prisons receive 50 grand per criminal per year and can use the ‘criminals’ to make further money by hiring out their ‘voluntary’ labour to large corporations. We are taking about slavery people

Through legalisation of drugs we can break down an arrangement which systematically brings black people into jail and the social consequences that this perpetuates.

After all, ‘Higher arrest and incarceration rates for African Americans and Latinos are not reflective of increased prevalence of drug use or sales in these communities, but rather of a law enforcement focus on urban areas, on lower-income communities and on communities of color as well as inequitable treatment by the criminal justice system.’ (drug policy)

Current drug policy is racist, it causes unnecessary incarcerations, it’s hypocritical considering smoking and drinking are legal. We have seen that prohibition does not lower use and that in fact drugs can have multiple health benefits, but corruption in the pharmaceutical company means these get hush hushed as much as possible. I’m not saying that you have to agree with drug use itself, but surely you can see that legalisation will provide a safer and fairer world.

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