There are two primary concerns involved with drug legalization including philosophical and pragmatic. The philosophical aspect of narcotics legalization is that adults must be allowed to take the consequence of their actions and choice. However, in practical it is difficult for make people accountable for their actions. If it is accepted that people must be accountable for their actions and consequences then narcotics must be legalized. The legalization of narcotics suggests that the government must allow its production, distribution, and usage. It is because individuals using narcotics are responsible for their own actions (Stout pp. 344).
The philosophical argument about the legalization of drugs has been provided by William Bennett. According to Bennett, the use of drugs is morally wrong. However, Bennett has not supported this argument with sufficient evidence. This is opposite to a justifiable philosophical approach. In order to present a philosophical argument, it is important to provide adequate evidence. Therefore, the argument of Bennett cannot be considered for this paper.
There are two important philosophical concepts, which can be applied to the topic. These concepts include utilitarianism and categorical imperative. The central question regarding the legalization of narcotics is about the regulation of narcotics production and use by the law as well as its decriminalization. The philosophical aspect of narcotics legalization can be discussed by applying ethical theories. According to utilitarianism, an act is considered morally right if the harms and benefits of action are balanced. The theory believes that an act is not right if its consequences are not desirable. The second ethical theory is categorical imperative, which says that an action is wrong if it violates the autonomy of individuals through different ways including coercion, manipulation, and others (Stout pp. 344).
According to Immanuel Kant, in order to determine whether an action is right is wrong; we need to measure it based on categorical imperative. Kantian principle says that it is important to act in such a manner that a particular conduct becomes a universal law and everybody follows our principles. For example, if we want to determine whether the use of narcotics must be justified or not, we need to image a society where everyone has access to narcotics and the distribution and usage of narcotic is not a crime. It is clear that this society would not be very stable and cause destruction of individuals and the society (Stout pp. 344).
Categorical imperative is considered be a significant and practical method, which can be used for resolving various moral and ethical problems. The use of drugs cause harms to the overall society. Therefore, it ought to be stopped. In order to stop it, it is important to develop regulations, which limit its usage. According to this argument, the legalization of narcotics is not good for the society, it is important to develop regulations, which prevent the usage and distribution of drugs (Stout pp. 344).
The topic of drug legalization can be analyzed by applying the theory of utilitarianism. First, it is important to determine whether the use of narcotics is a moral problem or not. In order to determine whether a certain action is a moral problem or not, it is important to distinguish the assumptions about these arguments. The assumption says that the good action is one, which maximizes the utility and the bad is something that hinders it. According to one side of the argument, the pleasure experienced from the use of narcotics is higher than its side effects. Based on this argument, the use of narcotics is not a moral problem. In fact, if people want to use for obtaining pleasure, they must be allowed to use it. According to the counter argument, the moral analysis of narcotics must be based on its consequences. The consequences of narcotics usage must be analyzed from both the individual and societal level (Stout pp. 344).
For an individual drug user, the consequences of drug use include addiction and moral decay (Stout pp. 344). The other problems associated with the use of narcotics depend on the extent of its usage. The excessive usage of narcotics cannot only result in harmful effects for an individual but also for the society. The use of drugs is accompanied with other problems including the dealing of drugs in different communities, cities, and towns. This phenomenon has a direct relationship with different categories of crimes including money laundering, violence, robbery, and others. Therefore, when discussing the legalization of narcotics, it is important to evaluate both individual and societal consequences. If we consider both these factors, we would find that the negative consequences of narcotics usage are higher than the benefits acquired by individuals. Therefore, the use of narcotics must not be legalized but restrictions must be placed on its production and usage (Laranjeira pp. 621).
In addition, the bulk of new customers come to drugs not through street vendors, and under the influence of friends. Elimination of street vendors will not affect this process. Without opposition from the police and the judiciary drop, drug prices and the subsequent increase in consumption would have been even sharper. With the increasing use of narcotic substances from legalization, strongly increase the cost of medical care of drug addicts. Experience shows that not all measures address the supply of drugs on the market, ultimately ended in failure. This applies, among other things, attempts to issue drug addicts medically, undertaken since the mid 60s. Although the proposal has grown and cocaine, argued that measures to reduce the supply of drugs have failed, it is impossible. Capitulation in this area will only lead to even higher offer.
The situation would become worsened if the use of drugs is legalized and the drug production and sell is treated as a legitimate business. The utilitarianism perspective, which says that the use of drugs must be allowed because it causes more benefits to an individual than the loss, is an individual perspective. This perspective could not resolve the problem of narcotics usage (Laranjeira pp. 621).
In order to justify the philosophical arguments of narcotics legalization, it is important to look into the benefits and harms caused by it. It is believed that the use of narcotics enhances the sensory pleasures of individuals including eating, sleeping, and others. It is also argued that individuals use narcotics for increasing the relaxation of people. The use of narcotics also allows people to solve their problems (Laranjeira pp. 621). On the other side, it is argued that the use narcotics cause violence. However, there is no clear evidence of it. Although the use of narcotics is considered addictive, it is less addictive than cigarettes or alcohol. According to the analysis of the benefits and harms of narcotics, it can be agreed that there is a balance in its harms and benefits (Laranjeira pp. 621).
The Kantian theory can also be used in order to analyze narcotics legalization from the philosophical ground. According to Kantian theory, the autonomy is not harmed by using narcotics (Laranjeira pp. 621). Therefore, the use of narcotics is not wrong on this ground. However, the counter argument says that the use of narcotics result in addiction, which could limit the autonomy of individuals. The use of narcotics could also result in cognitive damage and the loss of memory. These consequences can also limit the autonomy and independence of users (Laranjeira pp. 621).
The deontological moral theory also provides explanations for legalization of drugs. According to this perspective, the use of drugs is moral because individuals are allowed to make their own decisions. This theory is based on the autonomy of individuals and argued that drug legalization is harmful because every human should be treated equal. It is also argued that it is important for human beings to maintain a high level of self-control (Campos’s pp. 14).
The modern society is constantly decaying because of the war against drugs. The consequences of narcotics usage for the society include assault, property, economic decriminalization, and others. The effects of narcotics usage include corruption, moral decay, and others (Campos’s pp. 14). The topic of whether or not drugs must be legalized is significant in the modern era. It is now important to take the decision regarding the legalization of drugs. The legalization of drugs is an option, which is considered by several policymakers. The legalization of drugs could reduce the number of crimes associated with narcotics usage. In addition, the large sum of money spent on the enforcement of laws would be saved. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the cost of crimes associated with drug abuse is 59. 1 billion (Campos’s pp. 14).
The philosophical arguments regarding the legalization of narcotics are diverse. The use of narcotics has become a normal practice in the USA. The use of narcotics is common in a large number of towns, cities, and districts (Campos’s pp. 14). The use of narcotics is a major dilemma for people living in the United States. The banning of narcotics takes place through prohibition. The argument of the legalization of drugs is the widely discussed argument. Although several arguments have been presented regarding the legalization of drugs, it can be concluded that the war on drugs cannot be won. The government cannot control the distribution of narcotics through regulations because the distributors have now formed a cartel (Nelson pp. 197).
If the distribution and usage of narcotics is restricted through coercion, rules, and regulations, people will be forced to avoid it, which is not right according to categorical imperative. The categorical imperative suggests that coercion is not right to restrict the action of people. Based on this perspective, the usage of narcotics must not be restricted. The philosophy of utilitarianism is also similar to this perspective. According to this perspective, drug usage must not be restricted because of the benefits it offers to individuals. If we consider the philosophical justifications for narcotics legalization, we would conclude that narcotics must be legalized. However, the philosophical perspectives, which provide justification for narcotics usage, are individualistic (Nelson pp. 197). The consequences of narcotics usage are not only individual but also societal. The excessive use of narcotics and its addiction causes several harmful consequences for the overall society. The use of narcotics and its legalization could result in the development of a society where everyone would have access to it. In this way, the access of narcotics to minors and children will also be increased. Eventually, the legalization of narcotics would result in increasing moral problems of the society. Therefore, in order to evaluate the legalization o narcotics, it is important to consider both individual and societal consequences (Nelson pp. 197).
The legalization of drugs can be understood from Devlin’s Public Harm Theory. According to this theory, morality of the society is important for its existence. Devlin has also argued that a certain act can be considered wrong if it causes harmful effects for the society. Based on Devlin’s Public Harm Theory, it can be argued that narcotics must not be legalized because it causes harmful effects for the society. Drug legalization is also opposed because of the fear that it could result in an increase in the number of crimes in the society.
Campos, Isaac. “ In Search of Real Reform: Lessons From Mexico’s Long History of Drug Prohibition.” NACLA Report on the Americas 44. 3 (2011): 14–18.
Caulkins, Jonathan P et al. “ Design Considerations for Legalizing Cannabis: Lessons Inspired by Analysis of California’s Proposition 19.” Addiction (Abingdon, England) 107. 5 (2012): 865–71.
Laranjeira, Ronaldo. “ Drugs Legalization and Public Health.” Ciencia & saude coletiva 15. 3 (2010): 621–631.
Nelson, Terry. “ Legalize It.” Foreign Affairs 90. 1 (2011): 197–197.
Stout, Robert Joe. “ Do the United States and Mexico Really Want the Drug War To Succeed?” Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine 63. 8 (2012): 34–44.