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Compare opinions of world leading experts and influencers.

Should psychoactive drugs be legal?

Psychoactive drugs are illegal in most countries. The arguments for their illegality are based on their negative health effects and associated social costs. The arguments for their legality are typically based on respecting individual liberty, being scientific about the health risks, and the cost, failure, and injustices of enforcement.

Implications to Other Questions


Experts and Influencers

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Agree
Experts In Law


Glenn Greenwald    Lawyer, Columnist, Author
Agree
On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. ... The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world.
03 Apr 2009    Source

Sub-Arguments Of This Expert:
Is the war on drugs good policy?
   Disagree
Does drug prohibition reduce drug usage?
   Disagree

American Civil Liberties Union    (ACLU) Lobbyist
Agree
[We] oppose criminal prohibition of drugs. Not only is prohibition a proven failure as a drug control strategy, but it subjects otherwise law-abiding citizens to arrest, prosecution & imprisonment for what they do in private. In trying to enforce the drug laws, the government violates the fundamental rights of privacy and personal autonomy that are guaranteed by our Constitution. [We] believe that unless they do harm to others, people should not be punished - even if they do harm to themselves.
06 Jan 1995    Source


Douglas Husak    Philosophy Professor
Agree
The very suggestion that adults may have a moral right to use drugs for recreational purposes is bound to strike many readers as ludicrous. I offer three quick responses to [them]. First, proposals to countenance new and unfamiliar rights are typically greeted with disdain and ridicule [...]. Second, the right to use drugs recreationally is not really new. [...] Finally, the issue of whether a moral right should be recognized depends on philosophical argument, not consensus. [...]
01 Nov 1992    Source


Experts In Politics


Ron Paul    U.S. Politician, Libertarian
Agree
All drugs should be decriminalized. Drugs should be distributed by any adult to other adults. There should be no controls on production, supply or purchase for adults.
01 Jan 1988    Source

Sub-Arguments Of This Expert:
Is the war on drugs good policy?
   Disagree

Jessie Ventura    Former Governor of Minnesota
Agree
Nobody’s ever been able to explain to me why we waste prison cells on drug addicts. Drug addiction is a consensual crime, it’s a 'crime against oneself.' How can we justify letting violent criminals go because of overcrowding, when there are so many people behind bars whose only crime is they’re addicted to something?
02 Jun 2000    Source


Experts In Economics


Milton Friedman    Iconic Economist of 20th Century
Agree
I believe that we have no right to [...] prevent a fellow man from [...] taking drugs [but] I readily grant that the ethical issue is difficult and that men of goodwill may well disagree. Fortunately, we need not resolve the ethical issue to agree on policy. Prohibition is an attempted cure that makes matters worse-for both the addict and the rest of us. Hence, even if you regard present policy toward drugs as ethically justified, considerations of expediency make that policy most unwise.
01 May 1972    Source


Experts In Entertainment


Rush Limbaugh    Radio Host
Agree
It seems to me that what is missing in the drug fight is legalization. If we want to go after drugs with the same fervor and intensity with which we go after cigarettes, let's legalize drugs. Legalize the manufacture of drugs. License the Cali Cartel. Make them tax payers and then sue them. Sue them left and right and then get control of the price and generate tax revenue from it. Raise the price sky high and fund all sorts of other wonderful social programs.
12 Mar 1998    Source


Experts In Psychology


Susan Blackmore    Psychology Lecturer, Former Parapsychologist
Agree
...every year in the UK billions of pounds are controlled by criminals instead of by legitimate traders and the government. This black market funds global terrorism, as well as enabling the control of prostitution by pimps, sexual slavery, illegal munitions trade and other appalling crimes... We should take all recreational drugs under state control to be sold in shops, taxed, and controlled by legislation.
20 Mar 2003    Source


Disagree
Experts In Law


Ann Coulter    Political Commentator
Disagree
Like everyone else in America, I had never really listened to the arguments of the drug legalization crowd because ... it's not going to happen. These people are like scholars whose area of expertise is an obscure bug in a Third World country. Their theories could be completely insane, but no one cares enough to bother listening to them.
03 Oct 2000    Source

Sub-Arguments Of This Expert:
Does drug prohibition reduce drug usage?
   Agree

Experts In Politics


George W. Bush    United States President 2001-2009
Disagree
My Administration published its first National Drug Control Strategy in 2002, inspired by a great moral imperative: we must reduce illegal drug use because, over time, drugs rob men, women, and children of their dignity and of their character.
01 Jan 2008    Source


Experts In Christianity


The Catholic Church    Largest Christian Church
Disagree
Drug abuse impoverishes every community where it exists. It diminishes human strength and moral fibre. It undermines esteemed values. It destroys the will to live and to contribute to a better society. Drug abuse is indeed a scourge, just as much as a famine, a drought or an epidemic. Every year it reaps an increasing harvest of human lives.
04 Jun 1987    Source



Comments

Add Your TakeOnIt (click to expand, no login required)
0 Points      blacktrance      10 Feb 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
If it only affects the user, it should be legal.


1 Point      Tordmor      21 May 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
The purpose of the law is to regulate interactions between people so that they can be peaceful. So called "vice crimes" or victimless crimes not only don't serve this purpose but actually go against it. Therefore laws making peacful activities illegal are themselves illegitimate.


1 Point      JGWeissman      27 Mar 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
Real crimes have victims. Taking drugs only affects the person who took the drug, so there is no victim, so there is no crime.