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Davie  Webb

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Should Drugs be Legalised?

In the Independent, the UK's politically neutral and arguably most informative daily newspaper, there has been some interesting articles and debates regarding calls to legalise some or all drugs as the so called 'War on drugs' has undoubtedly failed.

So says a panel of world leaders who called yesterday for the biggest shake-up of drug laws in half a century. "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world," declared the Global Commission on Drug Policy. "Fundamental reforms... are urgently needed."

The Commission, which counts the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan along with former presidents of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia as members, believes governments must now experiment with "legal regulation of drugs."

Ecstasy, which is currently considered a class-A substance, ought to be reclassified in line with medical opinion that it is far less dangerous than legal drugs such as nicotine and alcohol, the report suggests. Users of narcotics should be offered education and treatment, rather than being incarcerated, it advises. And countries which insist on continuing a "law enforcement" approach to drug crime should focus resources on taking down high-level traffickers, rather than arresting everyday drug mules and street dealers

My initial response was an astounding no. However if we was to view it from a more critical view, such as the the success of stopping drug use and the millions of pounds spent on the 'war on drugs'.. I do feel there needs to be some changes.

- Should all drugs be legalised?
- Should some drugs be legalised? if so - which ones and why?
- what would be the affects of a shift in the laws?

Here is the main article on the subject. Let me know what you think.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/calls-to-legalise-cannabis-and-ecstasy-2292485.html

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    Jun 4 2011: My questions are: first what do you mean by legalising drugs? Does it mean make it legal to use drugs? Produce drugs? Sell drugs? Or all of the above? And the second question is what good can come out of legalising druges in any of the above forms? What are the arguments for legalising drugs in any way? What good can come out of it?
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      Jun 6 2011: its completely open for debate.

      i feel the major traffickers should be targeted and the drug users helped not punished.

      what good? probably none. but what is the lesser of the two evils? whats happening at the minute is not working. so, a radical reform might be the only alternative.
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        Jun 18 2011: I am with you when you say that trafficers should be targeted rather than the heavy users. I do agree that heavy users should be treated instead of punished, however the practical implications regarding legalising use will be a increase in the general use. I do belive the fact that it is not legal does give a signal to young people making them more skeptical towards drug use.
        Nothing good? Then I can not see how this can be a choice between to different evils...
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      Jun 6 2011: "What good can come out of it?"
      Have you ever listen to The beetles, Mile Davis, or any of the other many musicians that used performance enhancing substances. How about literature. Huxley, used psychedelics, Poe enjoyed his laudanum. As for science Carl Sagan smoked cannabis, while Francis Crick used LSD. Both said their substances of choice help them think in ways that they might have not been able to if they abstained. Steve Jobs Also mentions LSD with fondness. This list could go on longer but I think you get the idea. Sure mind altering substances have destroyed many people but give the devil it's due. To say our society has not benefited from drugs is somewhat naive. I'm glad cave men did not ban fire after the first person was burnt. I'm also glad they learned to control it.
      2 of the biggest cause of problems with drugs, beside the creation of a black market, is lack of real education about drugs and the lack of purity of substances. Now education can and should be done regardless of legal status. However without regulation, which can only be done of legal substances, how can anyone be sure their vices aren't cut with poisons. As I type this I can enjoy a glass of bourbon which is bad for me, but at least I can be assured no one has diluted it with antifreeze to bring down the cost of manufacture. Many of our drug problems could be much more benign if we could assure the same level of safety. Take the coca leave which has been chewed for centuries among people of the southern andes. While addictive in a similar way as coffee is, it causes little problems. We ban it so its concentrated down and treated with gasoline. It become unnaturally potent and toxic. This is no different than alcohol during prohibition.

      After 30 years of fighting drug I say give education and regulation a chance.
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      Jun 9 2011: There's also the fact that legalizing the production, distribution and selling of drugs will undercut some illegals organisations' profits, while creating a whole new economic sector : there will be drug factories and shops opening everywhere in the country, professional training on how to safely and responsibly create and distribute drugs, and other secondary businesses (bars or other places where drugs users can be monitored) that will create hundreds and thousands of legal jobs everywhere in the world.

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