My answer to this question is one simple word…..absolutely.
Yes, drugs can be dangerous and yes they can cause death in rare circumstances. However, it is scientific knowledge that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful, resulting in more deaths, than many recreational drugs including marijuana, LSD, amphetamines and even ecstasy. Have any of you ever actually taken the time out of your busy lives to consider the benefits of making recreational drugs legal? If your answer is no, then allow me to do it for you.
First of all I have to point out that drug users in the UK are a majority. Recent research shows that nearly half of all 15-16 year olds have used an illegal drug with up to one and a half million people use ecstasy every weekend. Amongst young people, illegal drug use is seen as normal. So what exactly are the benefits of legalising drugs?
- Elimination of the criminal marketplace – Legalisation forces organised crime from the drugs trade, starves them of income and enables us to regulate and control the market.
- Massive reduction in crime – Using illegal drugs is very expensive. This means that some dependent users resort to stealing to raise funds (accounting for 50% of UK property crime – estimated at £2 billion a year). Most of the violence associated with illegal drug dealing is caused by its illegality.
- Safer general drug use – not only will rates of HIV and Hepatitis C decrease, but legalisation will stem the emergence of experimental ‘legal highs’, the content and dangers of which are completely unknown.
- Global benefits – The illegal drugs market makes up 8% of all world trade (around £300 billion a year). Legalisation returns lost revenue to the legitimate taxed economy and removes some of the high-level corruption.
- Provision of truthful information and education – Legalisation would help us to disseminate open, honest and truthful information to users and non-users to help them to make decisions about whether and how to use.
If you still aren’t convinced then just look at the results in Portugal. Just five years after the legalisation of all drugs in 2001 they boasted one of the lowest drug taking figures in all of Europe.
I leave you with this; In 1970 there were 9000 convictions or cautions for drug offences and 15% of young people had used an illegal drug. In 1995 the figures were 94 000 and 45%.
Prohibition doesn’t work.
Thank you for taking the time to hear me out. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below. If you agree with my views then please vote for me in the poll on the right hand side of this page.