War On Drugs
The United States legal and political system is very complex. There are two major political bodies governing each state: The Federal Government, which imposes laws on the national level, and the State Government, which has its own agenda. In the recent years, four to five States have introduced legislation which conflicts with Federal law. Thus, the question arises, should the Federal Government have the final say or should each State Government have the power to overcome Federal decisions.
This paper will use the issue of drug policies in the United States to give an insight on the conflicts that marijuana laws have caused between the Federal and State Governments and will use examples from the States that have already legalized marijuana as a medicinal and/or recreational drug. Since the late 20th century the U. S Federal Government has been at war, a “War on Drugs. ” This war is very complex and too elaborate to focus on as a whole; therefore, the predominant focus will be on the prohibition of marijuana. Popular culture has augmented the presence of marijuana in the U.
War On Drugs Essay Example
S society and has created many controversies regarding its use. In addition, this essay will provide a short outline regarding what the “War on Drugs” is and will try to answer the question, has this war been effective? The 1960’s marked a phase of social unrest and rebellion. The two main issues at hand were the “Jim Crow Law,” attitude against African Americans living in the south, and the U. S involvement in the Vietnam War. There were many demonstrations which lead to Riots where innocent people died. In 1970 Kent State Massacre was one of the demonstrations where innocent lives were lost.
Students’ protests lead to four deaths, one paralyzed, and eight wounded. Social unrest was at an all time high. Since the 1960s drugs were seen as a symbol of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and Political strife. Therefore, to try to end such social unrest, all aspects causing it were attacked by the Federal Government. The “War on Drugs” was used to mitigate the exposure of such revolutionary symbols and to decrease youth consumption of illegal drugs. It was a campaign introduced by President Richard Nixon, in June 1971, where he dramatically increased the presence of Federal drug control agencies.
In 1973, congress accepted the proposal to merge the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement. Thus, the Drug Enforcement Administration was formed, a more centralized agency which is the dominant force behind the War on Drugs. This is a great example of U. S Federalism at play. The “War on Drugs” aims to reduce illegal drug trade by enforcing harsher sentences for violators. The goal is to protect the citizens of the United States, but, when one looks at the war on drugs closely it becomes evident that this war has been rather counter productive. The U.
S citizens have suffered the most and the real criminal organizations are the ones who benefit the most. The process of eradicating drugs from the streets of the United States is rather flawed. The Enforcement agencies such as the DEA and local state police make arrests and the violators are prosecuted. The Federal Government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U. S. C. § 811), which doesn’t differentiate between medical and recreational use of marijuana. The Federal Government places every controlled substance in a scheduled base on its potential for abuse and medical gain.
Under the CSA, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug alongside cocaine and Heroine. Firstly, this highlights the arrogance of the Federal Government that, despite medical experiments, labelling marijuana is more beneficial than harmful. The Federal Government views marijuana as highly damaging with no medical value. Further, a conviction of marijuana will be treated the same way as the conviction of cocaine related violations. As a student living in Canada where marijuana is rather more acceptable, it seems rather irrational and irresponsible to view a conviction of cocaine and marijuana in the same category.
In regard to the War on Drugs, the Federal Government hasn’t sufficiently handled the marijuana issue. The U. S popular culture promotes the medicinal and recreational consumption of marijuana. These laws have led to much violence and corruption and yet marijuana is still classified as a drug like cocaine and heroine regardless of its proven medicinal benefits. The reason I’ve decided to use marijuana as the basis of my argument is because it’s the epicentre of this war. An ample amount of the budget for mitigating drug use and trade has been used to deal with marijuana.
Marijuana is the most popular and most debatable drug amongst the drugs that the Federal Government has been fighting. There is a great deal of conflict amongst Americans whether marijuana should be compared to drugs like cocaine and heroine due to its health benefits. It’s a drug which has received the most publicity, high ranking public officials and politicians have admitted to trying marijuana in their youth. Former President Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama have admitted to using marijuana in their past.
The problem becomes even more complex, where you have a sizable popularity and appeal for the drug/plant yet it is classified as dangerous as cocaine or heroine. The Controlled substances act of 1970 is completely flawed, it has a repeat prohibition but instead of alcohol it’s drugs. As the prohibition of alcohol created further chaos instead of mitigating it, the same can be stated for the “War on Drugs. ” Americans caught within this conflict have paid greatly. Since the 1970s, drug war policies have lead to the conviction and marginalization of the U.
S Citizens and disproportionately the poor and non white, while completely failing to mitigate illegal drug use, drug-related deaths. In 2011, 1. 53 million Americans were arrested for non violent drug charges and about 663 000 were arrested for the possession of marijuana. If you compare these numbers to the total number of people arrested, 2. 3 million, almost half of the people arrested in the United States in 2011 were minor drug users. There is no logic behind the harsh punishment for drug users. Incarcerating for nonviolent drug offenses destroys the life of the offenders.
A criminal conviction on anyone’s resume will make it almost impossible for them to find a job. Further, if a student is convicted, any governmental assistance or loan for education will be denied to them. The focus needs to be less on obtaining convictions and more on prevention of the addictions. Imposing moral values on the mass public creates crime waves. The war on drug gives gangsters an environment to sell drugs, tax and duty free, to any individual regardless of age or health requirement due to an unregulated market. The gangs are used to market the product, why must a marijuana dealer be deemed a criminal?
Because marijuana, due to the scheduled I labelling, has been infused with real hard core drugs (cocaine, heroine). A substance that can be grown at home can’t easily be prohibited. A rational analysis will claim that the drug laws do more harm than drugs themselves. The Tenth Amendment goes as follows “The Powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. ” The main reason, through empirical analysis, it can be concluded that the U.
S Federal Government has been promoting anti-drug laws for so long that it has become an image, a slogan for their agenda. If the Federal Government passes a law on marijuana, firstly it affects the Federal Government and the President’s image in a negative manner because how can the Government go back on what they were fighting for all this time. The “War on Drugs” will is highly criticized. Secondly, if marijuana becomes legalized there will be pressure for other legal drugs in the States to become legalized by the Federal Government as well.
Crimes are caused more by people under emotional stress than by people under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana, ounce per ounce, is worth more than gold plus the drug dealers who make $30000 a year wouldn’t want marijuana to be legal. An unregulated market makes it easier for kids to get a hold of marijuana. In fact, an unregulated market for marijuana makes it easier for kids under drinking age to get marijuana than to get cigarettes thus the law doesn’t work; it cannot regulate immorality by completely banning a drug and then arresting hundreds of thousands of people for simply being in possession of it. Decriminalization is illogical!