Drug Legalization Effects Source Links

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    Post your link on the effects of drug legalization here. One link per post, please.

    The debate on the legalization of drugs is usually whether or not the act of taking drugs should be considered criminal, and what effects that has on deterrence. We’re seeing more and more data showing the positive results drug legalization or decriminalization (not legalizing, but not considering drug possession a crime) from around the world.

    Portugal lead the way in 2001 by decriminalizing practically every illegal drug. They shifted focus from the criminal to the addict, and treated addicts as patients rather than criminals. Not only is the system more humane for the addict, it removes the stigma of a federal arrest that follows the victim for the rest of their life, often ruining any chance of obtaining gainful employment. Portugal has seen success by practically every measurable metric, according to numerous scholarly articles (some listed below.)

    In the US, we’re witnessing a growing number of states standing up against federal drug laws. Medical marijuana is now legal in numerous states, and even recreational marijuana is gaining acceptance. Some feared that legalization would lead to increased death rates from overdose or traffic accidents. Not only has there never been a case of marijuana overdose death, Colorado has seen an impressive decline in traffic fatalities since legalizing recreational marijuana.

    The bottom line is that if we are not free to do with our bodies as we wish, good or bad, then we are not really free at all.

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    Colorado Marijuana Tax Revenue Nearly Doubles in One Year
    by Justin Worland
    http://time.com/4003262/colorado-pot-revenue

    “It’s been a year and a half since the legalization of marijuana went into effect in Colorado. Business for purveyors of marijuana was good from the beginning, but has soared in the past year, according to data collected by the Colorado Department of Revenue.

    The state collected $9.7 million in taxes related to marijuana sales in June 2015, up nearly $5 million from the same month last year. By May, the state had collected more than $88 million in marijuana taxes in 2015.”

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    Road fatalities in Colorado have plummeted since marijuana was legalized
    by Radley Balko
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-us-state-where-road-fatalities-have-plummeted-since-marijuana-was-legalised-10499069.html

    “The figures are similar in states that have legalised medical marijuana. While some studies have shown that the number of drivers involved in fatal collisions who test positive for marijuana has steadily increased as pot has become more available, other studies have shown that overall traffic fatalities in those states have dropped. Again, because the pot tests only measure for recent pot use, not inebriation, there’s nothing inconsistent about those results.”

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    Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies
    by Glenn Greenwald
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1464837

    “The effects of decriminalization in Portugal are examined both in absolute terms and in comparisons with other states that continue to criminalize drugs, particularly within the EU. 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.”

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    What Can We Learn From The Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?
    by Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes and Alex Stevens
    http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/07/21/bjc.azq038.short

    “The issue of decriminalizing illicit drugs is hotly debated, but is rarely subject to evidence-based analysis. This paper examines the case of Portugal, a nation that decriminalized the use and possession of all illicit drugs on 1 July 2001. Drawing upon independent evaluations and interviews conducted with 13 key stakeholders in 2007 and 2009, it critically analyses the criminal justice and health impacts against trends from neighbouring Spain and Italy. It concludes that contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalization did not lead to major increases in drug use. Indeed, evidence indicates reductions in problematic use, drug-related harms and criminal justice overcrowding. The article discusses these developments in the context of drug law debates and criminological discussions on late modern governance.”

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    The real ‘gateway drug’ is 100% legal
    By Christopher Ingraham
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/06/the-real-gateway-drug-thats-everywhere-and-legal

    “Alcohol was the most widely used substance among respondents, initiated earliest, and also the first substance most commonly used in the progression of substance use,” the researchers concluded.

    It’s not clear to what degree, if any, this reflects greater availability of alcohol. Researchers typically see marijuana as in the same general universe of availability as alcohol and tobacco, simply because use of those three are so widespread compared to other substances. In fact 12th graders now are more likely to use marijuana than tobacco, despite one being legal and the other not. Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University told me last month that perceived availability of marijuana, as measured in the Monitoring the Future studies, has been at a high level for 20 years.”

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