A Conservative View on Marijuana Legalization and Drug Abuse
Much has been said on the debate as to whether or not drug use and abuse should be decriminalized. On one side, the liberals argue that decriminalizing use and possession of small amounts of illicit drug substances is the way to go. As a consequence of decriminalization, individuals who are caught in possession of a small amount of these substances can choose to go to rehab or jail. However, drug trafficking and possession (in huge quantities) will still be illegal. ‘ On the other side of the coin, conservatives are lobbying for a more humane and a more personal approach of promoting the concept of saving lives, thus, promoting the view of creating a drug court to try nonviolent offenders instead of putting them to jail. There is one issue that both sides of the house almost agree on — legalization of marijuana. Though there are some conservatives who generally oppose marijuana legalization, there are some who believe that it’s a matter of freedom and individual responsibility.
Freedom and Responsibility Responsibility and freedom are considered as the core values supported by conservatives. They believe that each has freedom of choice and that this freedom carries a personal sense of responsibility for the outcome. Taking these core values into the context of marijuana legalization, it can be said that legalization is okay because it leaves the person the choice of whether or not he should use it. This basically honors the person’s ability to determine what’s good for him, what he wants, and what the outcomes of his decisions will be.
In a democratic form of government, though the person has his own set of rights, by virtue of the state’s police power, these rights can be curtailed in favor of public order and safety.
Though conservatism doesn’t negate the need for governance, they believe in the limited control or power imposed by the government on its citizens, hence, giving the latter more freedom to do what he wants.
Of course, conservatives are not blind to the fact that each action has a corresponding consequence, which is why they also believe that the person who exercises his freedom also knows the effects of the same. This is the true essence of free will – you decide, and you take full responsibility for everything in your life.
Following this train of thought, if a person uses marijuana, there is an underlying presumption that he is merely exercising his freedom of choice. If he ends up addicted to it, then it is also presumed that he understood that this is the consequence of his decision.
Compassionate Conservatism and Drug Abuse
The compassionate kind of conservatism champions the concept that society should be socially responsible and fair in promoting the wellness of all the members of society, with special emphasis on those who were marginalized and are vulnerable. If we talk about marijuana legalization, alcoholism, drug addiction like heroin addiction, then this supports the idea propounded by Gov. Chris Christie, the current governor of New Jersey, that instead of putting addicted individuals to jail, we should set up a drug court for nonviolent offenders. He also said that jailing these addicted individuals is not helping solve the problem because they get of jail in the same condition, or worse than when they entered. They remain addicted. So, instead of jailing them, why not put them in rehab and help them cope with their addiction. No life is disposable
The flaw in our current judicial system is in the fact that we jail more and more addicted individuals in hopes that it will be a deterrent to a bigger drug problem like heroin addiction, opioid crisis, and other drug-related epidemics. Then again, based on studies, jail time does not always do more good than harm to the addicted individual. Inside the prison, they are likewise more susceptible to become more addicted either because of non-treatment or by meeting big-time drug dealers or traffickers who will commission them to be drug couriers once they get out.
By admitting these addicted individuals to rehabilitation facilities, we are actually helping them turn over a new life. Sometimes, people think of these individuals as recidivists who don’t deserve a chance to redeem themselves and start again. This kind of stigma only contributes to the cause of the problem.
If we give these people the treatment they need, there are higher chances that we unclog the prison cells of inmates who go in and out of jail for the same offense, decrease violent crimes and other drug-related offenses, and also help save one life at a time. At the end of the day, no life is disposable. We all deserve to get help. We all deserve second chances. Get Treatment for Your Addicted Loved One
It is quite understandable why addicted individuals are scared of getting help and would simply succumb to their addiction. Even their own families and friends judge the addicted individual, and they are also easy to give up on. People in their community also look at them as if they’re criminals who deserve maximum jail time. These people fail to realize the personal circumstances that led this person into addiction.
Maybe he had a mental health condition that made him seek refuge in illicit drugs or alcohol. Perhaps, he is undergoing something tragic that he uses these addictive meds to numb the pain, or perhaps this kid grew up feeling abandoned and unwanted and taking drugs is his way of getting his parents’ attention.
Regardless, it won’t hurt to be a decent human being and first know what circumstances drove this individual into his addicted state. Perhaps, if we knew about these, we can be more empathetic and less self-righteous and condemning.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid, prescription med, or heroin addiction, know that there are people who care. Get help today by talking to an Addiction Specialist in a rehab center near you. Forget about stigma and discrimination. You can stand up again.