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Home > CJ Ethics > Pt 2 Limits of Law  (examples)> Drug Legalization | Buy CJ Ethics

Drug Legalization & Policy

This page contains resources about drug policy in general and marijuana legalization, which many see as a logical first step. Although the authors both agree that medical marijuana should be made available to AIDS and cancer patients, the issue is still controversial and will be included here. 

"After decades of enforcement at a cost of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, we don't even have drug-free prisons. 

That should give the public an idea of the folly of achieving a drug-free America. Prisoners live under the most secure environment that we can create. Thus, even if Americans were willing to give up all of their rights and freedoms, we would apparently still be faced with the reality of drugs in our midst. At what point, then, do we as a society stop heading down that road?" 


Drug Policy Resources

Highly recommended starting point is the Google Directory: 

Many groups concerned about the growth in imprisonment, especially its impact on minority communities, see the war on drugs as a a factor contributing to a criminal justice-industrial complex

With Injection Sites, Canadian Drug Policy Seeks a Fix (Washington Post, 2 Aug 2003, A1)

Veenstra, 40, is in a clinic at the Dr. Peter Centre, where junkies who test positive for HIV can shoot up safely under supervision. This is one of the first of what are called "safe injection sites" in North America. Soon to be sanctioned by the provincial and federal governments, it is an example of a new policy in Canada, known as harm reduction, to address a pervasive drug problem plaguing Vancouver and other major cities. 

Throughout the country, officials are considering radical changes in Canada's approach to drugs, rejecting the tendency in the United States to push for law enforcement solutions. In so doing, officials are taking up the stance of several other countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia, where there are various programs for decriminalization, clean needles and free methadone clinics.

The Vancouver-based Harm Reduction Action Society, which advocates changes in drug laws, reported that drug overdoses in Frankfurt, Germany, decreased from 147 in 1991 to 26 in 1997 with the creation of safe injection sites. In Switzerland, the organization said, drug overdoses also decreased, and there was a marked increase in the number of people registering for methadone and other treatment programs.

U.S. officials have angrily criticized the Canadian policy of harm reduction. (full story)

See also: Whoa! Canada! Legal Marijuana. Gay Marriage. Peace. What the Heck's Going On Up North, Eh? (Washington Post, 1 July 2003, p C 01)

Yahoo Directory: Substance Abuse ~ Harm Reduction ~ Marijuana ~ War on Drugs

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies evaluates psychedelics and marijuana as potential prescription medicines, and to educate the public honestly about the risks and benefits of these drugs. 

Monitoring the Future: overview of the key findings from the 2000 survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students, with particular emphasis on recent trends on various licit and illicit drugs covered by the study.

Parents: the Anti-drug and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy are strongly anti-drug legalization. 

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is a strong advocate for reform, especially surrounding medical marijuana issues.

Human Rights Watch Report - Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs

Marijuana regularly appears as a Lycos Top 50 most search for terms.

New Scientist: Special Report on Marijuana

The Costs of Imprisoning Drug Offenders: The cost of this massive growth in incarceration is staggering. Americans will spend nearly $40 billion on prisons and jails in the year 2000. Almost $24 billion of that will go to incarcerate 1.2 million nonviolent offenders.

NEWS: Santa Cruz Defies Bush Administration on Medical Marijuana: City Hall Courtyard Will Be Medical Marijuana Dispensary for Victims of DEA Raid.  

Movie 'Traffic' helps build support for more treatment and is mentioned in Senate debate
9 drawings were done by an artist under the influence of LSD -- part of a test conducted by the US government during the late 1950's (be sure to go through all 9 drawings and comments)
How a month and a half on Paxil taught me to love being
Harm Principle
Google IPO Risks
Wisc v Mitchell
Hate Crime
Virginia v Black
In Re P
Corporate Harm

Marijuana As Medicine?: The Science Beyond the Controversy (2000) National Institute of Medicine (full text online)

A New Suit By Farmers Against the DEA Illustrates Why The War on Drugs Should Not Include a War on Hemp (

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