HEALTHOpinion: All Drugs Should be Legal
With the recent legalization of marijuana in several US states and federally in Canada, one can't help but wonder why drugs are illegal at all?
The United State's and the so called war they waged on drugs has been massively harmful to huge swathes of the population, contributing to the 2.2 million people incarcerated in the US. With numbers as high as 2 million we have to ask what crimes these people have really committed?
By using a drug such as Heroin or Cocaine a person willingly hurts themselves of their own freewill. There is no danger to other people when somebody uses one of these drugs and as such there is no reason for it to be banned.
By banning a drug that only is dangerous to an individual the government claims that it knows better than the people do about their own body and that gives them the right to decide what the individual can do with their own body. To draw a comparison, many people have made a bodily autonomy argument with abortion, saying that any abortion law violates a women's right to their own body. A similar argument can be made in regard to drugs. Any law restricting what a person can willingly put into their body violates bodily autonomy.
If the government decided to ban all soft drinks because they are unhealthy and dangerous for people, there would be massive outcry for violation of people's rights. There is no reason why soft drinks are any different to hard drugs. Both are harmful to a person's health and both trade that health for short term pleasure.
However, another question is raised by drugs that involve smoking. This is because of the issue of second hand smoke. When someone is smoking in public, the smoke can be inhaled by other people who did not choose to inhale the smoke. An argument can be made that by making somebody else inhale your smoke, and thereby damage the person against their will. This is the reason why many countries have public and private smoking laws, meaning you cannot force somebody to inhale your second hand smoke. Yet again the existence of such laws show that the government believes it is okay to do yourself harm, but that you cannot force another to undergo harm. This creates another example of hypocrisy in the government's policy as drugs such as nicotine that are smoked and as such can be dangerous to others are legal, yet drugs that cannot endanger others remain prohibited.