For the longest time cannabis advocates have been pointing out the correlation between reduced crime rates and legalization. For many years, prohibitionists have refuted the idea claiming that “by increasing access to intoxicants, you won’t reduce crime”, however today we have a real life example of legalization’s effect on crime.
Uruguay has now for more than a year had legal cannabis on the books. Not only did they legalize personal cultivation, they implemented an industry within their borders. And what has been the result?
But how much have drug-related crime dropped since they legalized in 2017? A massive 20%. Now some of you might argue that Uruguay is an isolated incident, however another real world example of legalization affecting crime rates is Portugal.
Of course, Portugual and Uruguay took different approaches to the same problem. In Uruguay, they legalized cannabis and implemented a national program to take over supply, production and distribution of the plant. In Portugal they simply decided to decriminalize all drugs, including heroin, and while it’s not legal…there are no criminal penalties associated with consumption.
Portugal saw an 80% decrease in crime in general over the course of 10 years. Furthermore, the median age of the average drug addict rose to 34 years old. This means, that the policy is deterring younger people from participating in the drug culture, but it also doesn’t ‘prohibit’ them from doing so.
There are methadone clinics in Portugal that supplies methadone to heroin addicts. This act alone was greatly responsible for reducing crime as many of the ‘drug-related crimes’ are perpetrated by addicts looking to score a fix.
By giving them the drugs for free, they remove the incentive to steal, mug or break into properties. Addicts know they can simply go to a government sanctioned place and get their fix for free, with clean needles and medical supervision.
Why would you risk your freedom by committing a crime if you can get your drugs for free? The answer to this, according to the Portugal Model is; “You won’t!” Uruguay only focused on weed alone, and decided to opt out of the War on Drugs ravaging Latin America. Since then, they have only seen benefits to the implementation of their legal cannabis programs.
Uruguay has long been a champion of civil liberties with institutions like Prostitution completely legal. Once more, even looking at prostitution…we can see the benefits of legalization. Uruguay legalized prostitution in order to curb sexually transmitted diseases, sex trafficking and the likes. Now, prostitutes have rights. They are forced to have health checkups regularly, pay their taxes and no longer are subjected to the rules of the black market.
As a result, HIV and other sexual transmitted diseases were reduced significantly, violence within the industry also fell and women now have the legal right to sell their bodies if they so choose. Liberty, as it turns out, is the greatest deterrent to all of the social ills we are facing these days. It turns out that by prohibiting things, we only create a black market for it and within this unregulated market, violence is the only mediator.
When you bring things out of obscurity and into the light, look at it rationally and regulate it accordingly…you make things safer, more efficient and actually add benefit back to society.
No matter how hard prohibitionists try to rationalize that “prohibition is working”, we have more than 80 years of evidence suggesting the opposite. Yet today, in 2018, we still have to battle the political ideologies that run the government, that promotes war on all fronts and wants to limit your individual liberties in order to maintain the status quo.
The notion of prohibition is quite infantile. It’s trying to sweep reality under the carpet. The reality of the situation is that despite harsh drug laws…people will continue to consume drugs.
This translates to virtually everything that people have tried to prohibit in the past. You can make laws, but you can’t force people to obey them. You can try…you can create severe consequences for them not following the rules, but people will continue to break the law and pursuit their own pleasures and happiness.
This is why as a society we should stop being childish and embrace the fact that people like to get stoned, get laid and so forth. We need to shy away from our ancient moralistic approach to legislation and accept human nature. If we do this, we can solve many of the world’s problems or at the very least reduce the negative consequences of things like drug use, prostitution and the likes.
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