Should drugs be legalized? This question is now more hotly and more frequently aired than ever before. Since the US government's war on drugs began, nearly 80 years ago, there were generally only sporadic and isolated criticisms until the 1960s. At that time, marijuana was the main concern, and legalizers were often viewed as mere "hippies" not to be taken seriously. In the 1970s and 1980s, more and more notable individuals called for total or partial legalization, including Milton Friedman, Ernest van den Haag, and Sid Bernstein. William F. Buckley, who had long demanded harsher measures against the illicit drug trade, reconsidered his position, and eventually came out for a limited form of legalization. After April 1988, when the mayor of Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke, made a strong call for legalization, the issue suddenly received much more attention from politicians, journalists, health researchers, and policy analysts. Polls showed a steep rise in the number of people favouring legalization.
The many and varied pleas for legalization led to many and varied defences of drug prohibition, and to various compromise proposals in which limited forms of legalization were combined with continued attempts to eradicate some forms of drug use. Out of the hundreds of articles written on the subject, from all points of view, the editors have carefully selected the 25 most significant - either because of how well they are argued or because they are written by leaders of the debate and capture essential positions in a readable form. This volume enables the concerned citizen and voter to make an informed choice on an issue which seriously affects all of us.
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Co ,U.S.