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Throughout America’s past, various drugs played an important role in an extensive range of recreational practices. Across the United States, there is much banter about whether the use of drugs should be legalized or not. With this being said, the thought process of man differs from others. With a certain thought process, many believe that their own argument is much stronger than others. From there, it becomes a belief that their own truth seems so unambiguous that they do not acknowledge that anyone else thinks differently. This situation is occurring in today’s society with the concept of legalizing drugs. Society, today, is at a point in time where taking mind altering drugs is considered to be a solution to their own issues. The human desire to take whatever they like is just as inevitable as the attempt to regulate smoking consumptions. Keeping that in mind, the arguments that are in favor of legalizing various drugs are binary: theoretical and practical. Neither arguments are insignificant, but both are flawed. Ingesting drugs lowers society’s freedom by restraining a wide range of human fascinations. This is simply due to the fact that drugs impair the human ability to strive for life goals, such as everyday activities or even building a family. Most commonly, the use of drugs impairs their ability to live a stable life and promotes bad habits. To add on, most drugs limit the human conscience. Drug taking is the easy way out of issues. Everyone enjoys the easy path but, it is faulty. This is because drugs are only temporary, it does not last a lifetime. The full effect of the marijuana high a user receives depends on multiple factors. This includes whether the drug is used medically or recreationally, height, weight, age, and more. As previously stated, drug use is temporary. Depending on the above factors, drugs can usually last in the human body for 2 to 3 hours. According to an addiction blog, “…psychomotor impairment can remain after the initial high effects have worn off. Most common among these after effects are irregular time tracking, hand and eye coordination, or memory gaps.” (How long does marijuana last?) Without drugs, society learns to build character by creating ways to solve personal issues rather than resorting back to drugs. While using drugs, not only is the pain gone temporarily, but there are more consequences that add up as revealed in the quote. By not being permitted to utilize drugs, society loses incredibly little. To piggyback on why drugs should not be legalized, comes the uncooperative actions of the people. The drug laws we have today has failed to enforce the prohibition of drugs. It is practically inevitable to control the actions of the people as a whole. Nonetheless, this is the reason for the unfolding of more problems. This includes the corruption of street activities: the luring of underage children into illegal activities, the amount of drug dealers in the street and the vast amount of cash they make, and more. Perhaps, if drug laws were much stricter today than it was yesterday, would the corruption of street activities be decreased? On this end, yes. Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, is going through a devastating regret. Colorado’s intent to legalize the drug was to decrease the amounts of black markets. Quite the opposite occurred. The black markets in Colorado increased almost half as much as it’s original percentage! Why? Legalization created two systems for Colorado, a legal market and an underground market for those who cannot afford legal marijuana. Superintendent Harry Bull of Cherry Creek Schools says, “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana” (Hunt USA Today). While keeping this quote in mind, can you imagine the aftermath of New York State legalizing drugs for recreational use considering it’s great population? The state of Colorado’s population contains 5.16 million people while the state of New York contains 19.87 million people. That is almost four times Colorado’s population! Furthermore, Senator Booker of Colorado includes his reasoning for legalizing drugs for recreational use as a way to reduce drug arrests. He says, “marijuana arrests happening so much in our country, targeting certain communities – poor communities, minority communities” (Hunt USA Today). With this being said, the legalization of drugs not only strikes the abilities of the person using it as proved in the previous paragraph, but it is also targeting communities. Based on what the Colorado Department of Public Safety has gathered, the arrests taking place in Colorado has increased. This is because of the illegal marketing and the actions behind the people who use the drugs. Actions such as how you act when you are in a state of irrational psychological thinking which includes stealing, the urge to fight, and more. Based on Colorado’s experience with the legalization of drugs recreationally, legalization for other states is an irrational decision. It stands to reason that since drugs alter your mind, it can affect your schooling too. Based on the statistics of the Review of Economic Studies, taking a mind-altering drug can drastically decrease grades and bring up the rate of the amount of children failing classes. Marijuana is considered to be a “gateway” drug. Ironically, marijuana can close the gates of opportunity especially for college students who are more susceptible to the illicit substance. Since the use of drugs correlate so strongly with college students, the University of Maryland School of Public Health created a study that connects student marijuana use with performance and academic retention. Current studies follow that around “1,200 college freshman over a 10-year period and found that substance use, “especially marijuana use,” contributed to “college students skipping more classes, spending less time studying, earning lower grades, dropping out of college and being unemployed after college” (Arria USA Today). Moreover, college students have not even experienced life yet. After college, when job hunting, it will not be so simple if they are caught with a drug offense. The Higher Education Act enacted by former President Lyndon Johnson, constructed this act to strengthen the resources of colleges, educationally. In addition, the act would provide financial aid to post-secondary students. Getting back on track, under the Higher Education Act, students who have been sentenced with a drug charge, are not eligible to apply for federal financial aid. Whether the charge be minor or major, there is to be no assistance when dealing with work studies or loans. The executive coordinator Aaron Houston of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, states that because of a prerequisite, “200,000 college students have been denied financial aid because of a drug arrest or minor drug offense” (Houston USA Today). While there are many people who believe the legalization of illicit substances will only do our society negatively, there are also many people who believe that the legalization of illicit substances will impact society positively. As previously stated, the arguments behind pro legalization are twofold: theoretical and practical. The arguments behind these two descriptions are not negligible but are faulty. The theoretical argument behind the legalization of such drugs is that in a free society, which is what we the people go by, people eighteen and over should be authorized to act upon whatever they please as long as no harm is done to the people around them. Behind this statement is the common knowledge that whenever people do what they please, they are to prepared to apprehend the consequences of their own choices and do no direct harm. A famous essay that can back up this argument is John Stuart Mill’s philosophical work, “On Liberty.” This famous piece of writing states “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of the community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others…his own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant” (6 Mill). This quote reveals society’s exceptional role in modeling and imposing a moral code. To sum it up, Mill’s point was to reveal that we the people have nothing in common but our common knowledge to not interfere with one another’s beliefs and actions no matter our secretive self-indulgences. The other argument someone who is pro legalization may be under is practical. Under practical belief, it is quite the challenge to make the accused take the consequences of their actions. This is because of the drug itself. If it is not illegal, the demand is high, and with high demand, suppression is useless. The flaw behind this idea is that if the illicit drug were legalized, the black markets could increase like it did in Colorado. If it were legalized, there would be a high supply and with that, comes with a high demand. Not everyone is financially stable to spend their leftover money on drugs, this creates a big opportunity for the black markets. Under all circumstances, the black market creates a big doubt in whether the crime rate would fall or rise immensely. Another point that pro legalization people can debate with is the success of legalization in other parts of the world. Portugal is an easy target. It legalized all drugs back in 2001 during a time of crisis. This crisis being the soaring numbers of heroin addicts and numbers of drug induced AIDS deaths. Portugal’s tables has turned in that having possession of illicit substances is not treated with jail time but is seen as an opportunity to treat minor health problems. For treatment, the drug users who are caught will be arranged to meet with a social worker, medical expert, and a psychologist who will evaluate their issues and guide them towards treatment options. “Portugal’s drug-related HIV infections have fallen by 94% since 2001. And the number of people arrested for criminal drug offenses has declined by over 60%, which has allowed Portugal to channel money once spent on arresting and imprisoning addicts toward more effective treatment programs” (Miron Fortune). This is a drastic change and can be seen as a reason why America should legalize drugs too. But, the flaw is the people. In this case, legalizing drugs would be a trial and error. This is because the legalization may further push the already worsened opioid epidemic. Many argue that opioids are already highly restricted and that there already has been previous failed attempts to control the distribution. This argument is counterproductive and defective. If taken into consideration the obvious traits of society, most would agree that determination is key. With determination, society can push for even greater law enforcement and heavier penalties than what we already have. To add on to why some may believe that legalization should occur, a Portuguese counselor who works with addicts seeking help says “It’s cheaper to treat people than to incarcerate them…if I come across someone who wants my help, I’m in a much better position to provide it than a judge would ever be” (Miron Fortune). This quote proves to show the support Portuguese citizens have for one another. It is a humane and kind gesture but, if really thought out, would this help be guaranteed by our neighboring states here in America? It’s debatable.

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