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NCJ Number: 136513 Find in a Library
Title: Notes From the Front: A Dissident Law-Enforcement Perspective on Drug Prohibition
Journal: Hofstra Law Review  Volume:18  Issue:3  Dated:(Spring 1990)  Pages:893-942
Author(s): J T Schuler; A McBride
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 50
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the negative consequences of the current prohibitionist, criminalization strategy for addressing the harms that drug users inflict on themselves, and it proposes a gradual, controlled decriminalization of selected drugs and their use.
Abstract: A utilitarian analysis of the "drug problem" should focus on how best to reduce the suffering caused by drugs and drug trafficking. Persistent efforts to deter drug trafficking and drug use by punishing buyers and sellers through State-administered sanctions has not eliminated or even significantly reduced the drug market. It has fueled violence among traffickers and between police and traffickers. Traffickers will not easily abandon the lucrative enterprise spawned by prohibitionist policy. Other consequences of the prohibitionist policy are corruption of police and other public officials, the erosion of civil liberties under an obsession to detect and punish all drug users and traffickers, an overcrowded criminal justice system ill-equipped to address serious crime, disrespect for the law, and police cynicism. This article proposes a decriminalization policy that would start with the least dangerous and most popular drugs. A lower legal price for marijuana, for example, would draw a significant number of consumers away from those drugs that remain illicit. All legal drugs would be under mandates of labelling for health warnings, content, and strength. There would also be an age minimum for drug use. 173 footnotes
Main Term(s): Drug legalization
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Drug law enforcement; Police corruption
Note: From a symposium on drug decriminalization.
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