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Should recreation drugs be banned?

What are recreational drugs?


Chemicals ingested with the purpose of entertainment

Wider Definition

Is a natural high a drug?


  • The 'war' on drugs has failed for the last 30 years.
  • Mood altering substances are here to stay. 
  • Legalising and licensing the production and distribution of them largely cuts out the criminal elements that profit from them. 
  • Through legal regulation the substances sold are purer and therefore 'safer' to the consumer. 
  • Legalisation would provide duty in revenue. 

The case for banning recreational drugs

What's wrong with drugs?

Ron Paul on drug use

Drug use in context

Marijuana is not as addictive as alcohol.
Marijuana is not a gateway drug, cigarettes are far more addictive and no-one taks about cigarettes that way.


Should a mother with small children be allowed to be a heroine addict?
  • Addictions are a disease, we don't lock alcoholics up, we treat them, the same should happen to drug addicts. We don't put alcoholics in prison.
  • There are already child neglect laws for this.
  • If you treat it like a crime, kids will come out of jail as violent criminals.

The case against banning recreational drugs

Drug lawmakers are hypocritical

Many politicians that support drug laws have tried drugs themselves. This is an implicit endorsement that drugs should be legal, or that the law does not apply to these politicians. (Obama and Clinton are classic examples)

Who is the master of danger?

It is said drugs are dangerous, but so are a lot of things.
Who should regulate danger, should we take care of ourselves or should the government.

It is neither the job of government, nor the business of any individual to prohibit, regulate an restrict or otherwise control what a person desires to eat, drink, swallow, smoke or otherwise ingest into his body.

This is not an endorsement for taking drugs, drug taking is a vice, but a vice is not a crime. Drug abuse could be handled in the same way as alcohol abuse, by friends, family, church and psychologists. Government should stay out of our bodies. We don't need busy body government with a leader making society in their image. I don't use drugs and prefer others don't use them either. Where is the freedom to be left alone.  Two wrongs don't make a right. Drugs are not necessarily bad, it depends on how and why they are used. Who will decide this, will it be the individual or the sate. In a free society it is the individual.

Perverse affects of drug laws

  • Hemp is usually a victim of the drug war
  • Drug laws are inconsistent
  • Marijuana has medical benefits and it should not be illegal to use for these benefits

Quote 1097

Prohibition, then, fuels the growth of government bureaucracies that must be funded from general taxation. As a result of the prohibition of recreational drugs, for example, taxes are higher than they would otherwise be and a large proportion of the taxes that are allocated to law enforcement are allocated to the pursuit of (what might be termed) consensual crimes rather than crimes with direct third-party victims, such as murder or burglary. As Thornton and Bowmaker show in Chapter 3, prohibition imposes an opportunity cost on society of the goods and services that could have been provided if the money used for enforcement had been spent elsewhere.

   --  IEA

Infantilising adults

People who argue that children will be affected, sales will not go to children in the same way that alcohol does not go to kids. You can't make something illegal for an adult just because it would be harmful for a child, otherwise we would all be living like kids.

If a few people can't handle their drugs, does that mean they should be banned for all. If that is the case should we ban all gambling, or even driving for the irresponsible ones?

Victim-less crimes

Criminalising people who are not criminals for a victimless crime
Prohibition has been an abysmal failure. 
It has cost $50billion a year to stop people with minute amounts of it. 
  • Its fruitless to lock up someone who doesn't belong in jail, who didn't cause harm to anyone.
  • Criminalising non violent people costs the tax payer a lot of money which can be used elsewhere and ends up making these people violent when they leave prison
  • Prohibition of drugs will have the same affect as Prohibition of alcohol, create Al Capone's.

The war on drugs is cruel

  • The war on drugs is a war on people. Putting all addicted drug users in prison is like putting all addicted alcoholics in prison.
If a top officer were to make a statement that the war on drugs winnable, fine. In the absence of such a statement with evidence to back it up, all drugs should be decriminalised.

Prohibition causes otherwise law abiding people to avoid and fear the police, this animosity shields larger ills such as violent crime and theft. This damages society.

People who have issues with drugs, fear coming for medical help for fear of criminal conviction.

Even if you believe that the drugs are bad, the effects of banning are worse than consequences of decriminalisation.

A middle way is not to legalise drugs, But supply free to registered addicts.

What is lost in the debate

There are positives of taking drugs, if there were only costs, people would not voluntarily take them.

The idea is that, because some people are harmed by drugs, no-one should have access to them. However using the same logic, some people die from drinking too much water. Should we ban the use of water?
Or how about Horse riding could kill you on your first attempt. As could scuba-diving, or drag racing.

What age should drug use be legalised for?

Drugs aren’t bad, people are bad.

If it was to be legalised then users should have to take out medical insurance at their own cost and not expect free tax payers to pay for their NHS services as a result of their self abuse.

Prohibition is ineffective

Drugs are so easy to come by that the legalisation/banning of certain substances is largely irrelevant.

Prohibition doesn't prohibit, but it does deregulate and give a monopoly to criminal gangs. 
You can't even keep drugs out of prisons.

Trying to effect the supply side hasn't worked.
Trying to effect the demand side hasn't worked.


US didn't even have a federal law till 1937, laws should be made at a local level.
Marijuana has a big social stigma, the solution may be to remove the stigma.

Drugs being decriminalised would make drug use safer, and money saved for solving other crimes.

Supporters of decriminalising marijuana

Former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil called Wednesday for the decriminalization of marijuana for personal use and a change in tactics on the war on drugs, a Spanish news agency said.

People march in support of legalized marijuana in late January in Belem, northern Brazil.

"Ex-presidents Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia and Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil made their announcement at a meeting in Brazil of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, the EFE news agency said.

"The problem is that current policies are based on prejudices and fears and not on results," Gaviria said at a news conference in which the commission's recommendations were presented.

The 17-member panel worked on the report for a year and will forward it to all Latin American governments as well as the United States and the European Union, EFE said. "
Read more here:

"Portugal's drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of therapy. The argument was that the fear of prison drives addicts underground and that incarceration is more expensive than treatment — so why not give drug addicts health services instead? Under Portugal's new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail." - Time

List of countries with shoot up dens


List of acts

The 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act,


The case for legalising drugs

Ron Paul on decriminalising Marijuana




Link109 Proposed royal commission on drugs
Link112 Khat