nin137

Nick's Journal
2007-01-22 04:05:12 (UTC)

Decriminalization instead of Legalization of Drugs

alright, i guess that this is a tired old subject by now,
but i just figured i'd through in my two cents on this. now
i'm not advocating that i came up with this scheme by any
means (i first talked to my crim law professor about it, who
introduced me to the concept), but here are my thoughts on
the issue.
the difference between decriminalization and legalization is
that if you legalize something then there can't be any de
facto criminalization. for example you criminalize an act
(not a substance), whereas if you legalize the substance
itself then you can't necessarily make "having" it a crime
(although you can still prosecute someone for acting like a
dipshit, i.e. drunk in public, etc.).
my problem with legalization in general is that i do not
believe that such dangerous drugs should be freely
available. i don't think that one can truly draw a parallel
between cocaine/heroin/acid/meth/crack use and that of
cigarette and alcohol (and largely, even marijuana). those
drugs have a significant impact on a person's psyche and a
reason for the criminality attached to them is because of
the detachment they bring to a person, therefore making him
more and more dangerous.
what i am for is the decriminalization of possession of a
substance. this is mostly for marijuana. now the target of
this is to then go after the supply chain. simply economics
suggests that it is much easier to turn off the one faucet
then try to catch every single bead of water. there are
just simply less suppliers than their are users. therefore,
criminalizing distribution is the key.
now of course the problem with this is drawing that line.
as my crim law teacher said, it is incredibly hard to catch
drug dealers more mere dealing. but one problem with the
system today is that there isn't enough of an incentive to
maintain certain low levels of a substance.
think about it, if up ot a point one can own a certain
amount and NOT be prosecuted, wouldn't that necessarily
raise the incentive to hold smaller quantities? therefore,
there have to be more drug deals as stashes are therefore
smaller and need replenishment sooner.
another reason for decriminalizatoin of most possession
charges, is the horrible burden it puts on the criminal
justice system. it would free up a shit load of resources
to target much more relevant and dangerous crimes. it just
seems to be an overall more efficient system.
now of course i'm not advocating that drug possessors (petty
users) are just free and clear. i would hold that they had
to stand a civil trial and be ordered towareds
rehabilitation programs. sure this may cost the public
some, but think about how much this system costs us now
anyhow. it just seems to me to correct something that is
endemic, is to treat it rather than lock it away.
so therefore i am quite for the decriminalization of petty
possession. the issue of where to draw the line and how to
pursue the actual dealers is a tough issue which i just
can't pretend i know. of course you can just say that an
arbitrary line you are either a dealer/user, but i hate
those arbitrary lines, because they in essence violate your
constitutional rights, because the presume your guilty
status (i.e. being a drug dealer) and you therefore must
assume the burden of proving otherwise.
anyway, it is a permissive inference, but catching drug
dealers is so hard i can't profess to help there. i just
want to way in on how i wish the systemic problems of our
"war on drugs" could possibly be alleviated by paying
attention to some great ideas out there.


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