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Thoughts on Life, and Other Things

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The Puppet Master
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« on: 20 July, 2009, 06:40:55 pm »

Drug Laws

I've been trying to come up with an idea for something to talk about for quite some time now, and something finally hit me this morning: I could talk about drug legislation.

Basically, my general opinion on the issue of drugs is legalize, regulate, and tax.  The "War on Drugs" has been costing the American taxpayer too much money for far too long, and legalization of currently illegal drugs can help to alleviate that by emptying federal and state prisons of people jailed for drug possession/use, and no longer pursuing people who have or use those substances.  That alone would allow for taxes to be lowered on the average American, although, tax cuts may not be warranted until the deficit is dealt with, but that's a different matter.  Anyways, the government would be spending a lot less money, and would, in fact, be making money due to taxes imposed on the drugs.

Regulation is key in any sort of new legislation to legalize drugs.  Keeping drugs clean and setting regulations on concentrations would help to aid in the safety of those who use drugs, although, use of drugs is, in general, not very safe.  In addition, regulatory laws should be placed to limit purchase of all controlled substances to those of age 18 or older, effectively lowering the drinking age to 18 once again, and an overhaul of drug education in schools would be in order.

Also, regulations could be placed that would discourage drug use by using financial incentives.  Regularly scheduled drug tests could be used to determine whether a person had been using drugs and an increase in their health insurance premium would be appropriately issued.  Further, to increase the incentive not to use drugs, offer extended benefits to people who consistently get clean results from drug tests.

In addition to any sort of taxation exacted upon drugs, "sin" taxes, I guess, there exists the potential for massive financial benefits for businesses and for the environment in cultivation of cannabis, the same plant used in the production of pot used recreationally.  Under different growing circumstances, cannabis, or hemp, can be used for a multitude of things.  It has use in the textile industry, and is much better than cotton.  It can produce 2-3 times as much fiber as cotton can, lasts longer, and doesn't mildew, making it ideal for use in clothing and other things.  Also, hemp grows in more places, uses less water, and requires no pesticides.  Also, hemp would be a lucrative investment in the manufacturing of paper, as an acre of hemp can make the same amount of paper as 2 or 3 acres of trees, on top of taking much much less time to mature.  Furthermore, it lasts longer than paper made from wood pulp and is more recyclable.  Also, the fiber in hemp can be used to create fiberboard stronger and lighter than fiberboard made from wood.  Further, the seeds are very good for you, and contain more nutrients than soy while being easier to grow.  Also, the oil from the seeds can be used in biodiesel fuels, and the leftover bits of the plant can be used to create ethanol.  So, really, the economic advantages to cannabis legalization in itself are something to marvel at.

Another possible benefit to drug legalization is a decrease in violence due to a decrease in organized crime.  As organized crime centers around the smuggling and trade of illegal drugs, that "industry" would, presumably, be damaged beyond repair in the event of drug legalization, and that is yet another thing that would be good for the American taxpayer, fewer criminals in organized crime means less money spent sending them to prison and safer streets.  Of course, the legalization of currently illegal drugs wouldn't completely destroy organized crime or illicit transfer of unregulated drugs on the black market, but it would be substantially decreased, and fewer people would find reason to go through illegal channels to get their drugs.

And if you need an example of how relaxed drug laws won't destroy our country, take a look at Portugal.  A few years back, Portugal decriminalized all drugs.  Today, Portugal is doing just fine.  Now, Portugal did not go as far as I would suggest going, not going so far as to turn drugs into a taxable, regulated commodity, but taking an extremely passive stance on drug use.

So, I guess, I'm just saying that keeping drugs illegal violates a certain right to privacy, and, on top of that, denies our country potential to lower costs of law enforcement, which would enable lower taxes on the average citizen, and would also be a huge shot in the arm to our economy due to a business boom.
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