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Decriminalization/Legalization (Research Paper Sample)

Explaining the difference between drug decriminalization and drug legalization. Number of sources used=3 source..
Decriminalization/legalization Name: Institution In relation to drug policy, it is in the public domain that some states have minimized the criminal sanctions linked to possession of small amounts of certain drugs. Indeed, in the United States, an increasing level of interest has been given to the ever-rising marijuana arrests in the media. Worth noting is that many articles have mentioned that the rise in arrest rates happens despite unwavering use rates. Such a scenario has given rise to increased calls for review of the current criminal justice policies. More so, calls have been made regarding evaluation of drug laws with the view that doing so may reduce arrest rates. Altogether, drug policies have been in increased focus in recent times. This article looks into drug decriminalization plus legalization and how they may impact drug use. Basically, decriminalization relates to establishment of policies which calls for an end to the application of criminal law in addressing personal drug use. In essence, decriminalization is associated with the exclusion of criminal sentences for the possession of particular drugs (for instance marijuana) for personal use. In addition, decriminalization may advocate for the elimination of criminal consequences for the possession of drug amounts to be distributed/shared without any remuneration of any kind. Generally, decriminalization means that an individual found in possession of drugs meant for personal use would not meet a criminal conviction. Rather, depending on circumstances, a person may receive a warning, reduced fine or be channeled to drug-awareness programmes and treatment classes (Adler et al, 2012). Worth noting is that the concept about decriminalization does not include scenarios in which an individual is culpable of importing or selling drugs. This is a major difference between legalization and decriminalization. Nonetheless, researchers note that the concept of decriminalization is under development and may be used varyingly. As an example, it at times just relates to minimized penalties or elimination of penalties for those classified as first-time offenders. On the whole, decriminalization makes use of recreational drugs no longer a crime. In the United States, marijuana decriminalization remains a major effort associated with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Chriqui et al, 2002). The approach is often characterized as libertarian –a position arguing that the regime possesses no power (or right for that matter) to regulate personal behavior, even when such behavior may be harmful to the person practicing it. Drug legalization, on the other hand, is an entirely different concept as it allows using, importing and selling of drugs to be regulated by the government in the same manner as tobacco and alcohol. In essence, legalization concept supports access to drugs via state/government regulatory components including distribution and legal age of use among others. Unlike in decriminalization where importing, smuggling and selling of drugs can lead to prosecution under the criminal justice system, drug legalization offers the government a chance to regulate the market including distribution and consumption. It means that being in possession and or using drugs would not be considered against the law if an individual follows the guidelines provided by the government. For instance, an individual importing drugs does so legally given that he follows a set of protocols. In legalization, the criminal justice system eliminates virtually all penalties associated with drug abuse and a person can buy and sell drugs. People may as well engage is drug business. Arguments favoring decriminalization of drugs usually point to the fact that no evidence exists that taking such an initiative increases drug use among the population. As a matter of fact, it is claimed that in countries in which drugs have been decriminalized, there has been a reduction in the rates of problematic drug users (Greenwald, 2009). Some of prominent reasons given in favor of decriminalization include reduction in criminal justice costs. In turn, the money accumulated would be channeled towards addressing organized crime. In our contemporary society, organized crime is fast-emerging as a serious problem and proving costly in monetary terms. Money saved through decriminalization would go a long way in tackling this problem. In addition, decriminalization would free up our criminal justice system thus allowing it to be effective and efficient. This is true considering that in 2012, up to 72 percent of convictions for drug offences were listed under drug possession for personal use (Adler et al, 2012). Decriminalization would mean that such figures are reduced –if not eliminated everlastingly. Various studies have also pointed out that imprisonment has little or no positive effect on crime rates for drug possession. In other words, the current system has had little or no impact in mitigating crime percentages for drug use. People continue using drugs for recreational purposes and decriminalizing them (drugs) would not only benefit such persons but also the criminal justice system. Altogether, criminalization has not acted as a deterrent and it is time other measures -such as decriminalization- are implemented. Arguments against decriminalization are primarily based on the fact that medically it is wrong to use drugs. Thus, any measure intended to allow and or increase use ...
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