Thursday, November 17, 2011

Drug Decriminalization: Portugal's Resounding Success

Updated: 12/11/2012,

There is no Constitutional Authority for regulating production, sale, distribution or consumption of anything, drugs included. 

Proof - a constitutional amendment was needed to establish alcohol prohibition and drugs are no different. Regulation of all these things is reserved to the States and People under the 9th and 10th amendments.  It is the exclusive responsibility of state and or local government to set the laws that best serve their people in the area of what may and may not be consumed.

I favor ending the federal war on drugs. I am not in favor of drug use but I am confident that the private sector along with state and local governments can handle this issue. If you harm yourself - using drugs or alcohol that's you're problem and society has no responsibility to pay for your treatment, if you harm others because you are under the influence you should face the appropriate civil and or criminal prosecution. It's just not that difficult to deal with secondary consequences....

Related Articles:

The Drug War vs. The Bill of Rights

Alcohol Prohibition: Economic Effects

Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs Eleven Years Ago And The Results Are Staggering

Portugal: Drug related deaths drop and HIV cases crash

Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?

Can lessons be learned from Portugal's drug laws?

The Constitution of the United States, Amendments 11-27

Portugal decriminalized all drugs 10 years ago, 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.

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal:Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies

 by Glenn Greenwald as published by the CATO Institute:

On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were "decriminalized," not "legalized." Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.

While other states in the European Union have developed various forms of de facto decriminalization — whereby substances perceived to be less serious (such as cannabis) rarely lead to criminal prosecution — Portugal remains the only EU member state with a law explicitly declaring drugs to be "decriminalized." Because more than seven years have now elapsed since enactment of Portugal's decriminalization system, there are ample data enabling its effects to be assessed.

Notably, decriminalization has become increasingly popular in Portugal since 2001. Except for some far-right politicians, very few domestic political factions are agitating for a repeal of the 2001 law. And while there is a widespread perception that bureaucratic changes need to be made to Portugal's decriminalization framework to make it more efficient and effective, there is no real debate about whether drugs should once again be criminalized. More significantly, none of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents — from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for "drug tourists" — has occurred.

The political consensus in favor of decriminalization is unsurprising in light of the relevant empirical data. Those data indicate that decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal, which, in numerous categories, are now among the lowest in the EU, particularly when compared with states with stringent criminalization regimes. Although postdecriminalization usage rates have remained roughly the same or even decreased slightly when compared with other EU states, drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically. Drug policy experts attribute those positive trends to the enhanced ability of the Portuguese government to offer treatment programs to its citizens — enhancements made possible, for numerous reasons, by decriminalization.

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