Should Illegal Drugs Be Legalized Term Paper

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Sports - Drugs Type: Term Paper Paper: #67347347 Related Topics: Drugs In Sports, Victimless Crime, War On Drugs, Drug Addiction
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Drug Legalization


In 1920 the sale and consumption of alcohol was criminalized across the United

States pursuant to the 18th Amendment. Consumer demand nevertheless presented a ripe opportunity for criminal usurpation of the illicit production and distribution of alcohol.

Consequently, by the time Prohibition was subsequently repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933, the criminal enterprises that it had spawned were so firmly entrenched into the landscape of the American economy that most of them still retain considerable power even today (Dershowitz, 2002).

Modern proponents of decriminalizing illicit drugs point to the complete failure of Prohibition to achieve its goals, suggesting that contemporary laws criminalizing recreational drugs such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine are as ineffective as was the 18th

Amendment, and more harmful to society than the aggregate of all the actual harm caused by the unrestricted use of recreational drugs.

Predictably, those opposed to decriminalization fear the explosion of drug addiction and drug related crime that would follow as a consequence of their unrestricted use. They point to the well established link between drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and petty


According to their view, the epidemic of narcotics-related crime is already at its peak, because it results directly from the criminal elements currently responsible for its importation, trade and sale. Furthermore, they maintain that contemporary laws prohibiting recreational narcotics use have created the same situation that prevailed under Prohibition by creating a black market which has been filled by ruthless criminal

Elements (Brecher, 1972).

Similarly, they suggest that the inflated cost of illicit drugs is to blame for the link between drug abuse and petty crime, because the standard principles of black market economics dictate a much higher price for drugs that are dramatically more expensive than they would be under legislation decriminalizing their sale and use.

Likewise, they point to situations such as in New York, where the so-called "Rockefeller

Laws" have resulted in the mandatory incarceration of scores of citizens whose only crimes were entirely victimless, while violent and dangerous offenders pass through a revolving door, overcrowded criminal justice system…

Sources Used in Documents:


Brecher, E.M. (1972) Licit and Illicit Drugs: The Consumers Union Report.

Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

Dershowitz, A. (2002) Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age

New York: Little Brown & Co.

Cite this Document:

"Should Illegal Drugs Be Legalized" (2004, July 21) Retrieved October 6, 2022, from

"Should Illegal Drugs Be Legalized" 21 July 2004. Web.6 October. 2022. <>

"Should Illegal Drugs Be Legalized", 21 July 2004, Accessed.6 October. 2022,

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