Drug decriminalization

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The War on Drugs has been around for more than a hundred years. Enormous amounts of money are spent every year in this war. In past years the discussion about drug prohibition seems to have shifted towards more sensible policies such as drug decriminalization rather than a strict repression. In 2012, Colorado and Washington have decided to legalize cannabis 1 and according to 2014 poll 67% of Americans favors treatment over jail sentences.2 Drug decriminalization seems to be a good step forward as it eradicates many problems for the non-violent users of drugs. On the other hand the black market and issues connected to it as violence, corruption and poor control over the purity and distribution of drugs, do not change. A complete legalization, state regulation and taxation, similarly as done with alcohol or tobacco could bring about more benefits than a decriminalization of the end-users. The first attempts to prohibit non-medical use of drugs appeared in the beginning of 20th century. However,"the term War on Drugs was first used by President Richard Nixon in 1971, identifying drug abuse as "public enemy No. 1".3 It was in a reaction to rising drug use by the counter-culture and Vietnam war veterans returning from the war with a heroin habit.4 Furthermore, he has established the Drug Enforcement Administration in July 1973. 5 President Ford continued to wage this war although he was more realistic, realizing that "drug abuse was always going to be a problem and that hopes of completely eliminating it were illusory."6 President Carter went even further advising congress members to decriminalize use of cannabis 7 President Reagan and his wife Nancy, however, brought back the strict animosity towards drugs. The 1980s "Just Say ... ... middle of paper ... ... the drugs sold on black market from unknown producer. Moreover, unlike street drug dealer, there would be a set legal age limit similarly to alcohol or tobacco. In 2013 Uruguay became the first country to completely legalize growing and the use of cannabis.29 On December 6, 2012 the Washington state Initiative 502 became a law legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. 30 The same happened in Colorado on December 10th, 2012 as the Amendment 64 became a law. 31 The biggest enemy of drug legalization are the UN drug treaties. There needs to be an international discussion on this topis as Uruguay, Colorado and Washington are in a " clear breaches with the treaty"32 "Reform won’t be easy, but the question facing the international community today is no longer whether there is a need to reassess and modernize the UN drug control system, but rather when and how.”33
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