Opinion: Congress to consider comprehensive drug decriminalization bill


To be clear, the bill does not call for the legalization of any dangerous drugs.

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Fifty years ago, President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs, a move meant to prevent the United States from falling into the traps of drug addiction and onto the path to justice. However, this is not what happened.

Instead, millions of lives and families have been destroyed by the concept of policing a nation addicted to drugs.

The War on Drugs is such a failed philosophy that even President Joe Biden claims to support an end to criminal penalties associated with low-dose drug possession. House Democrats want to test President Biden on his word later this year.

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Democratic Representatives Cori Bush and Bonnie Watson Coleman recently presented the Drug Policy Reform Act (DPRA). The bill sought to decriminalize possession of all illegal drugs while overturning some convictions and allocating funds to drug addiction organizations.


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It removes responsibility for managing the drug problem from the Department of Justice and places it under the responsibility of the US Department of Health and Human Services. It’s an effort that goes beyond simply legalizing cannabis for those 21 and older, something Senate Democrats have vowed to consider this year.

To be clear, the bill does not call for the legalization of any dangerous drugs. It would not create a taxed and regulated national market for marijuana, cocaine, heroin or any other substance currently banned by Uncle Sam. Controlled Substances Act. It would only ensure that drug addicts would no longer be treated by the criminal justice system, unless their crime was of a violent nature.

Bill would continue to throw the book at drug dealers. Anyone involved in the illicit drug trade could still face criminal charges.


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But Mr. Average Heroin User who gets pulled over along the highway with a personal amount of drugs would no longer have to worry about going to jail. Not unless he has been involved in more offenses than simple drug possession.

Portugal had a similar policy in place for over two decades, and it has been largely successful. Since the enactment of drug decriminalization, the country has seen an overall decline in drug use among citizens aged 15-24.

Not only that, but there has been a 60 percent increase in drug rehab cases. It stands to reason that the United States should borrow a chapter from Portugal’s book and try a more sensible, health-centric approach to fighting the war on drugs.

Somewhere, about 83,000 Americans have died since May 2020 from overdoses. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people continue to find themselves trapped in the criminal justice system every year because of their vices.


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Somewhere, about 83,000 Americans have died since May 2020 from overdoses.  /
Somewhere, about 83,000 Americans have died since May 2020 from overdoses. / Photo by Getty Images

This makes it difficult for people to clean up, get jobs, find housing, receive federal assistance, and plenty of opportunities for people with no drug defect in their records.

DPRA would change that.

Unfortunately, the bill does not stand a chance. While he may find the support needed to clean up the House, he will not get far in the Senate. The upper house is so embroiled in Republican retaliation right now that it will be impossible for Democrats to accomplish anything – let alone significant policy changes around illegal drugs.

In reality, the DPRA would be a much better decision for the nation than the Marijuana Opportunities Reinvestment and Removal Act (PLUS) or any bill focused on legalizing cannabis. But as the country has come to believe that legal weed makes sense – 90% think it should be legal, Gallup says – it might be difficult to convince the public to be more conservative than removing criminal penalties for drugs. hard is the right thing. make.

The United States has just started experimenting with the concept of decriminalizing drugs. Oregon stopped prosecuting drug offenders in February 2021 and focused US $ 100 million in cannabis taxes on rehabilitation.

President Biden has signaled his support for the decriminalization of drugs. “No one should be jailed for using illegal drugs alone. Instead, they should be diverted to the courts and drug treatment, ” bed his 2019 campaign site.

It’s just about getting Democrats and Republicans to side with the problem and stop fighting long enough to do good for the country. Yeah, yeah, we know. Better luck next time.


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