UVSS HEMPOLOGY 101 CLUB
LESSON #19 : SOCIAL IMPACT OF PROHIBITION - Part 1
Every country in the world has prohibited drugs in an attempt to manipulate the behavior of citizens by controlling which substances are legally available. The UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention estimates the international illegal drug trade to be worth $400 billion, while The Economist gives a more conservative guess of $150 billion. Prohibition has created different problems for different countries. Excessive profits can be made selling illegal drugs, especially cocaine and heroin, which has lead to the formation of paramilitary drug cartels and street gangs. These drug networks spend vast resources corrupting, threatening and paying off local and state officials to protect their crops and processing facilities. Several terrorist groups use the profits from illegal drugs to support random acts of violence against innocent civilians from developed countries.
Good farmland is used to produce opium and cocaine using a great deal of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Many poor nations are overwhelmed with violence from competing drug cartels and gangs. One the other hand, in the US many police estimate that about 50% of thefts and assaults that occur in cities are from people stealing for drugs or fighting over them. As a result, no one in the world is truly safe from violence that is related to the war on drugs. This scenario allows governments to create sweeping laws, often violating the rights and freedoms of citizens, and hire legions of drug enforcement agents, prosecutors, social workers and prison guards. New by-laws by municipal governments fine landlords who do not inspect rentals for growing cannabis every couple of months. A conviction for simple possession of cannabis can lead to loss of education, employment and ability to travel. Drug testing is becoming more common in the workplace and schools. Testing positive for illegal drugs like marijuana can lead to suspension from professional and amateur sports.
Youth are easily lead into the drug trade because the profits are better than a normal entry-level job and the benefits of being popular while having access to cheap drugs are very attractive. Youth quickly develop cynicism toward their country if they are told they are free yet are not allowed to consume the substances they want. One strategy used by prohibitionists has been to distort the negative impacts of drugs, especially cannabis, to youth in an attempt to scare them into not using drugs. However, many youth have realized that they were lied to, while others become curious after the school presentations. With no regulation governing the production of drugs, both youth and adults are vulnerable to contaminated substances, sometimes leading to overdoses or other serious medical problems. Intravenous drug use has caused a series of health and social problems, ranging from the Hep C epidemic occurring in East Vancouver and in the prison system, to discarded, infected needles sticking into people in parks.
Families are torn apart by the drug war in many ways, with children being taken from parents who use illegal drugs in many countries and access to children denied or restricted after even an accusation of illegal drug use. People with physical and mental health medical problems often resort to trying illegal drugs in an attempt to kill pain or block out bad memories, sometimes leading to poly-drug addictions. Every country in the world has problems related to the war on drugs, though few of those problems are the result of the actual use of the drugs themselves.
RELEVANT WEB SITES
|International Hempology 101
|Cannabis Buyers' Clubs of Canada|