IACHR: Legalizing Drugs- A Step Forward or Back?

Mahir Dasgupta of Al Jazeera covers the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The committee decided to begin these sessions by discussing the various steps taken by different countries to combat drug trafficking. Amongst these solutions, one polarized the delegates- should illicit drugs be legalized?

Uruguay used its own example to demonstrate just how beneficial legalizing drugs can be by stating that they have no drug trafficking in their country. Puerto Rico believes that this is the only possible end to the war on drug on which millions of dollars have been spent. Only after legalization can the world economy benefit from this already flourishing trade. The delegate of Columbia very rightly pointed out that drug consumption has not reduced for the past forty years: thus, there is no point in continuing with these repressive and unsuccessful measures. Columbia therefore advocates complete policy overhaul.

Chile used its own example of how it used the money earned from the now legal trade of drugs to build schools. Legalization will bring down the prices of drugs. While this may make it easier for addicts to get their hands on drugs, it will reduce the prices of medicinal plants like Marijuana.

However there are many countries that completely disagree with this. They believe that legalization will only lead to the promotion of this addictive habit, especially among the impressionable youth. To them, the legalization of drugs will lead to a variety of problems. The delegates of Chile and Mexico however have an interesting take on this. They believe that legalization will take away the thrill of drugs: effectively reducing the number of consumers.

Another perspective that needs to be taken into account is that of the farmer. For many farmers, this is a livelihood and it has been for generations; completely banning drugs will only rob them of their only source of income. It is a fact that the consumption of drugs will most likely lead to addiction, instigating severe social and economic impacts. However, it cannot be ignored that legalization will go very far to combat drug related crimes like murder, rape etc. While legalization may be an extreme solution, it must not be taken lightly -decriminalization will go a long way.

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