AntiLegalization Thesis Essay Research Paper Ben EvenchikLegalization

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Anti-Legalization Thesis Essay, Research Paper Ben Evenchik Legalization: Wrong for America “Drugs enslave and take the individual’s rights to knowledge and a clear conscience away.” -Thomas Liefkowitz Throughout history, various drugs have played a pivotal role in a vast array of cultural practices, both religious and recreational. The Native Americans used to ingest peyote to aid them on their “spirit quests”. The ancient Incas freely chewed cocaine leaves to help relieve the altitude sickness that would sometimes plague them. Black slaves that worked on plantations in the south smoked marijuana to help make their backbreaking work in the field go quicker. In almost every historical culture, drugs in one form or another are used and accepted. What is it that is so

enticing surrounding the use of drugs? More then just incredible physical sensations the user experiences, the “idea of changing who you are and how you think ” (personal communication, April 2, 2001) is very tantalizing for some. For many people, especially in present-day cultures where life is a great deal more complex then it was in the past, drugs are sometimes used as a sort of “magical gateway” to escape the harsh truths of reality. The use of drugs for this reason can be either a good or bad thing, depending on the society and situation the user lives in. For example, more then a “feel good” drug, it was a necessity that the Incas chewed coca leaves in order to counteract the extreme elevation sickness that is common among groups that live at such exceptional

altitudes (Smith, 1992, p. 74). Similarly, the black slaves, who had to endure an incredibly difficult and physically demanding life, smoked marijuana to escape the reality of being nothing more then mindless drones with nothing to look forward to; not even hope of liberation in the foreseeable future. It was one of their only sources of gratification and happiness in an otherwise hopeless and futile existence. Although many drug users in present American society use drugs to escape from reality as well, their reasons are not as compelling as those given by the Incas who needed to use cocaine, or the black slaves who virtually had no hope of changing their servant lifestyle. Unlike these cultures, America is a society that grants its inhabitants a great deal of economic and

social freedom through autonomy. Consequently, all Americans have the ability to succeed and make a decent living, provided they work hard and do well in school. Some, however, are unable to adequately fulfill this principle and may become discouraged or even quit . It is during this time that people are most vulnerable to the temptations of drugs, using them as sources to temporarily escape the hardships encountered in life (Tonry & Wilson, 1990). This course of action is not very practical because, at one point or another, the drug user will have to face the reality that in order for one to survive, one must have a steady flow of income, which means work is essential. Temporarily avoiding life s problems does not solve them. On the contrary, avoiding problems creates

larger, more serious troubles, which is why many drug users have dropped traditional society in favor of the underground culture , where income can be made quickly through illegal activities and traditional societal problems are much less pronounced (Tonry & Wilson, 1990). In a culture where opportunities for success are abundant but people still use drugs as an escape rather then for religious or medicinal purposes, prohibition should justly ensue. One such outlawed drug, marijuana, is not only one of the most widespread used drugs of all time, it also is a very safe drug when compared to other drugs such as cocaine and heroin, which, unlike marijuana, can lead to a variety of physiological maladies such as stroke and even