The Score on Drug Use [Last Modified on 2008.01.24]
The use of recreational drugs must be legalized and thereby regulated. Drug use should be decriminalized; irresponsible drug use should remain criminalized. Just as drinking alcohol is not illegal, but driving a car while under the influence of alcohol is illegal, so should it be with all drugs.
All currently illegal drugs need to be legalized, whether we're talking about marijuana or crack cut with heroin and battery acid. If you get fucked up on any drug and operate a motor vehicle, then you are committing a crime (similar to driving under the influence of alcohol). If you get fucked up and disturb the peace, then you are facing minor legal issues (similar to "drunk and disorderly" violations). If you get fucked up and stare at your hand all night while listening to Night Ranger, then no crime has been committed.
When was the last time you heard of a "stoned driving accident"? Pretty rare. "Drunk driving accidents" happen all the time. Yet alcohol is legal and pot is not. We call bullshit. If you think the scarcity of marijuana-related driving incidents is due to the scarcity of marijuana use, you clearly need to get out more.
There are no definitive studies showing that marijuana use has any negative side effects. Anecdotally, of course, there are individuals who have used marijuana to excess, and have basically "faded out" as a result. However, there are certainly many more people who have used alcohol to excess and have died, or killed others while under the influence, or developed cirrhosis, or otherwise ruined their lives or their health.
The "War on Drugs" is absolute bullshit — a waste of time and money, which has seen no meaningful success.
Decriminalizing drug use enables regulation and taxation on drugs. It creates a new legal industry. It enables chronic drug users to seek help to fight their addictions, rather than throwing them in prison with those convicted of real crimes (crimes that have unwilling victims). Unsafe drugs and overdoses would likely decrease with the legalization of drug use; if the manufacture and sale of drugs is regulated, the sources of drugs will be more trustworthy.
Mental addiction is bullshit, and the product of weak-willed minds. However, physical addiction — such as a heroin addiction — is a real physiological issue, which should qualify as a sickness, and should be treated as such.