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<title>The Case for Drug Legalisation</title>
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<dc:title>The Case for File Swapping</dc:title>
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<date>29 February 2008</date>
Fixed some typos, added the "What you can do about it?"
section and added the "Links" section.
<date>28 July 2006</date>
Finished the first published version.
<date>14 October 2005</date>
Forked the text from a previous document, and starting to
Many people take the prohibition on the currently illegal narcotics
(e.g: Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroine) for granted. They believe that
just because the drugs are physically harmful, they should be banned.
Yet, this is very far from the fact. While drugs can be harmful, there
is no good reason to make them illegal. In fact, the prohibition on
drugs causes so many undesirable side-effects, that they
<emphasis role="bold">must</emphasis> be made legal.
If this sounds fantastic to you - read on, I'm sure you'll find out
that I know what I'm saying.
The war on drugs has been supported by both the left and right political
camps, and has only been rejected by Libertarians and various other
minority groups who hold this view. As a result, most people who
believe they should choose between left, right or middle, think drug
prohibition is acceptable on everybody. But this is not the case. The
prohibition on drugs is very harmful to the public and individual
well-being and must be eradicated as soon as possible.
<title>The Morality of Drug Abuse</title>
A person has a basic right to harm himself, as long as he does not harm
others in the process. That's because everyone of us is the owner of
his mind, body and property, and is solely responsible for their use
All arguments that do not favour that, like that a person thus
contributes less to society, and becomes a burden on it are pretty
silly. That's because a person is never obliged to contribute to
society ("First, do not harm"), and the society at large is not
obliged to support its members. (It would be Socialistic to claim
Thus, a person must be allowed by law to consume drugs. I'm not saying
it is desirable if a person exercises this right. I'm just saying that
a person should be allowed to do so, just as he is allowed to smoke,
drink alcoholic beverages, deteriorate in personal hygiene, give away
money for no good reason, act stupidly, etc. These are all harmful
activities, yet perfectly legitimate.
<title>The Biology of Drug Use</title>
Drugs are not as harmful as many people think. Most drug users
are perfectly healthy people who just happen to have a drug problem,
just like people who smoke, or are alcoholics, or are
addicted to caffeine have a drug problem. Otherwise, they are able
to function properly and be good citizens. There are no recorded
deaths from Marijuana in the U.S. The amount of deaths for Cocaine
is 20 per 100,000 (4 if we take into account such factors as its
reduced quality), and the deaths from Heroin are 400 per 100,000 (or
80 if we take these factors into account). This is compared to 150
deaths per 100,000 from Alcohol and 650 from Tobacco. Taking the
numbers into account, in the U.S. there used to be 390,000 deaths
per year from Tobacco, 150,000 from Alcohol and only 400 from Heroin
and 200 from Cocaine (and none from Marijuana).
Thus, legalising drugs, which would potentially make them more
common, will not be a hazard to the global health status of the
<title>The Bio-Psychology of Drug Use</title>
The mere act of consuming illegal narcotics, usually does not cause
one to commits crimes. While drugs affect the mind, a large
increase in drug consumption by itself will not cause a large
increase in the number of crimes committed.
Note that criminal activity is often related to drug use due to its
present illegal nature and the fact drug users steal in order to
acquire drugs. (or other drug related crimes.) However, this is not
a direct result of the bio-psychological effects of the drugs
<title>Arguments for Drug Legalisation</title>
<title>The Prohibition on Drugs Causes an Inflation of Crime</title>
As drugs are illegal, they are being marketed by outlaws, who
charge an inflated price for them. Much more inflated that the
amount it requires to grow, manufacture and distribute them.
As a result, there is a growing black market for the distribution
of drugs and drug users eventually need to commit crimes like
theft and robbery to support their habits.
The average crime rate in the U.S increased twice fold due to the
prohibition on Alcohol. Once the prohibition was lifted, it
decreased back to its original state. It is expected that
drug-induced crimes cause a similar increase, due to the similar
nature of this prohibition.
In this analysis one should also include the very "crimes" of drug
use, trafficking, and sale, as well as crimes caused due to the
criminal nature of some drug dealers. Drug trafficking is also a
huge source of income for Organised crime.
All of this crime can be eliminated in a swift blow by legalising
drugs. When drugs will become legal, they will be produced,
distributed and sold by local legitimate entities, who will be
subject to Capitalistic market constraints. Their prices will
drop to a minimum, allowing everybody to buy them at the
needed quantities. Criminals will no longer be able to make a
decent living from selling them in the black market (as there will
<title>The War on Drugs does not Help to Fight them</title>
Law enforcement organisations attempt to stop drug trade by
catching drug shipments, and drug dealers. However, any shipment
or dealer that is caught, has only one effect: a temporary increase
in the price of drugs at the location to which they were intended.
Most drug shipments and transactions are never stopped, and it is
a pointless struggle to try to stop them.
<title>The Prohibition on Drugs Lowers the
Quality of Drugs</title>
Illegal drugs are not sold in the free market and as a result the
sold good is subject to the whims of the local outlaw manufacturer
or distributor. As a result, they often have reduced quality, which
can cause a lot of unnecessary health side-effects on their users,
including many deaths.
During the prohibition on alcohol it was observed that the quality
of alcoholic beverages has heavily decreased, and the same thing
happens now with the currently illegal drugs.
<title>The Prohibition on Drugs Causes Proliferation of
People who become heavy drug users often need to find a way to
finance their habit. As a result, they often become drug dealers
themselves, and try to push drugs onto other people,
Making drugs legal will stop this vicious cycle. The price of
drugs will drop to free market levels, and people will not need
to become drug dealers themselves to finance their habit.
<title>Slowdown of the Progress of Lower Sectors</title>
Drug dealing in a society where drugs are criminalised is
a way to make a lot of money. As a result, young people among
the poor find selling drugs an easy way to earn their living
and escape the more demanding path of working in an honest job.
This causes a bad effect on the societies in poor neighbourhoods,
who turn to drug dealing instead of advancing their rank in the
honest world. Making drugs legal will kill this easy way out, and
force the young people of the poor to struggle for a honest living
and gradually advance their personal and collective financial
<title>Drug Users Serve as the "Unholy Enemy" of Society</title>
There is a common pattern in history of "unholy enemies" -
groups of people who are presented by leaders to be of such
evil nature that the general populace should be willing to
sacrifice their lives, freedom or well-being to fight them.
These have been the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the Kafirs in
Islam. In modern society, drug users now serve as an unholy
enemy for which the government can undermine
and gradually repress the people.
Yet, drug users are no such enemy - they do not pose a threat
to society. Plus, they are people in need of help, not in need of
being hunted and prosecuted.
The legalisation of drugs will put a stop to the irrational
trend to make drug users an unholy enemy and for the
government to undermine the individual rights of the citizens.
There is no good reason to undermine individual rights, much less
one that is useless and pointless as trying to "win" the war on
<title>The Prohibition Causes an Abusive Behaviour among
Since drugs are illegal and using them can jail a person,
drug users usually exhibit abusive behaviours: they lie, steal,
and become dishonest and suspicious. This is not an effect of the
drug itself - it's a result of the psychological and legal
situation in which they are present. By legalising drugs, one can
be sure that drug users will be able to openly admit their
problems, and seek help.
<title>Prevention of Legitimate Uses</title>
The prohibition of illegal drugs prevents some legitimate uses
of the plants from which they are made. The most prominent examples
are paper that can be made out of Hemp, but is now made out of
cut-down trees instead (which is certainly not good for the
environment), and the various medical uses of Marijuana.
<title>Strain on Society due to People in Jail</title>
The prohibition on drugs puts many people in Jail - there
are over 1 million prisoners for drug offences in the United
States. There are even more if we consider drug-induced offences
such as drug-induced theft.
These prisoners are a large strain on society which needs to
support them. They also prevent more serious criminals from
being jailed, which undermines the punishment and
rehabilitation system of the government.
The legalisation of drugs will free the prisons from false
criminals, and restore justice. And the lawful people will no
longer need to support hundreds of thousands of jailed drug users
The prohibition against Drugs is the real drug problem. It is a war
against the people, that consumes lives, money, and property. It has
no good reason. History tells us that all the past prohibitions on
narcotics failed miserably. The current prohibition on drugs is no
<title>What You can do about it?</title>
Here is a list of things you can do to help the cause of fighting
for drug legalisation:
<emphasis role="bold">Educate people about it</emphasis>:
write something pro drug legalisation online, in blogs,
mailing lists, newsgroups, web forums; write your school
report about it; publish articles about it in newspapers,
tell about it to your friends, etc.
Note that you should feel free to link to this article, or
even quote its text, as long as you give attribution. (See
open-content, Creative Commons, licence for more
<emphasis role="bold">Contact Your Government</emphasis> -
write to your representatives and government, and tell them
why the prohibition on drugs is harmful and not justified. If
possible, vote for representatives that support the
legalisation of drugs.
<emphasis role="bold">Don't work against the cause</emphasis>
- if you're a drug-enforcing policeman, then switch to a
different department, or quit. If you're an agent of the
Enforcement Administration (DEA)</ulink> or a similar
organisation - then quit.
Last, but not least - <emphasis role="bold">don't use illegal
have numerous bad medical effects, and using them reduces
your credibility as someone who can speak against their
By acting and propagating the understanding that drugs should
be legalised, we can eventually create a strong, vibrant
movement against the prohibition on drugs, that can eventually
abolish it completely.
Ostrowski's "Thinking about Drug Legalization"</ulink> is an
excellent and detailed article about the problems of drug
The Wikipedia has an
written on the Prohibition on drugs</ulink> from a hopefully
Neutral Point of View.
The web site
War Facts"</ulink> was recommended to me by a
libertarian correspondent. I didn't fully read it yet.
<ulink url="http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/">The Schaffer
Library of Drug Policy</ulink> is a comprehensive site for
support of the legalisation of drugs. It contains a
<ulink url="http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/dea/">copy of
the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) site, with
comments</ulink> and especially a step-by-step
<ulink url="http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/dea/pubs/legaliz/claims.htm">rebuttal of their "Speaking Out against Drug Legalisation"
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