Symposium 2012: Is it time to legalize drugs here in America?

Michigan: Maybe. People will lie, cheat, steal and kill for drugs. Would this all stop? How much is it costing the taxpayer for health care and to house all the addicts and dealers in prison. Would this all stop? Anyone can buy the drug called alcohol. Look at the lives and expense this drug costs. How many deaths and millions of dollars can be contributed to this legal drug? I guess my answer is NO.

Sydney: The so–called war on drugs has for years proved to be an abject failure. U.S. prisons are full of people whose only crime was to sell a small amount of drugs. If there is going to be any kind of war on drugs it has to effectively target the people higher up the chain who are growing and distributing large amounts of narcotics. A person who is selling or buying $50 worth of cannabis each week hardly deserves to be locked up with rapists and murderers. These individuals are likely to leave jail with more criminal knowledge than when they entered. The only solution to this whole incredibly expensive mess is to legalize some of the so–called softer drugs such as marijuana and acid. The legalization of some of the less harmful drugs would also mean that the government could regulate their manufacture and sale, ensuring both that the drugs are safer and collecting taxes from their sale. The government needs to face the reality that the war on the drugs will never be won. A new approach is needed that will reduce the number of people being imprisoned and allow police resources to be put to better use.

Cartwright: We’ve been fighting a war on drugs in America for the last forty years and it hasn’t stopped people from getting high or using drugs. We’ve wasted billions of dollars in this “war” to no avail. Let’s legalize drugs, regulate them, and tax the industry just like with tobacco. We’re starting to see this in some areas of the country. Marijuana is pretty well legally available on every street in California. I think they actually have more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks in California. Colorado legalized marijuana in essence in November, and they’re starting to see members-only clubs for lighting up. Let the members-only clubs be for all kinds of drugs. If people want to do them, go there and get high or strung up until your heart’s content. But, they need to stay there until their done getting their fix and they’ve come down so they’re not out on the roads or in public potentially causing harm to others.

I’m a big fan of the gaming industry. Take a lesson from them. If you’ve got a problem, they’re not going to let you just keep gambling. You’ll hit a limit then you’ll have to sit out for a while. And, they’re good about getting compulsive gamblers help for their addiction. The same model could be used for a legalized drug industry. Have strict regulations and guidelines and security for the protection of the people using the drugs and for the general public.

Look, I don’t support people using drugs. No good comes from that lifestyle. It’s a destructive path for many people. But the reality is that we’re never going to stop people from using drugs. There’s a huge underground economy stemming from the illegal drug trade. Make it legal and start making money off of it. Want to fund Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare? Legalize drugs, regulate the industry and tax it.
RMC3: I tend to agree with Mr. Cartwright. I’m not really concerned with what people do in their lives as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the lives or welfare of others. I think that people who use drugs have some weakness that they need to compensate for or that they need some kind of escape from life. It’s a dead end for people, but we’re not going to stop people from using drugs in America. Let’s go ahead and legalize at least marijuana and tax it. Forbes or Fortune magazine, I don’t recall which one, did a study on the economics of marijuana about ten or twelve years ago, and the results were staggering in terms of how much tax revenue could be generated by legalizing, regulating, and taxing the industry. Go for it.

Most of the country has come to implicitly accept that marijuana use is going on all the time, and I think much of the country has softened or changed their attitudes towards this. I think they’re pretty much indifferent to it, even if they have moral objections to it. I don’t agree with drug use, but I can’t stop people from doing it. I think it’s pretty much a cowards way of dealing with the challenges of life, but that’s their choice. If they’re going to be doing it, I think we as a country should make some money off of it

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