A drug essay page could well be combined with a law and order essay, but let’s compartmentalize:
As I see it, there are three overarching aspects to the drug issues in America today– marijuana legalization, the opioid epidemic, and excessive incarceration and punishment. The root causes of these crises are the profiteers of punishment, the pharmaceutical and alcohol industries, an illogical healthcare system, and obtuse politicians looking to score cheap political points.
Cannabis (known to most as marijuana) should be legal to possess, period. Medical Cannabis should not be hindered by any state or the federal government. If one accepts the sovereignty of states (another issue for discussion), regulations should only be in place for sales above certain quantities. There should never be a situation where an individual is not allowed to grow their own cannabis simply for the benefit of big growers. Think of this like home brewing. You can make your own beer, but to distribute for a profit you need a license.
There are plenty of good reasons to legalize. One, legal cannabis done right will mean less use of the hard stuff. Two, legal cannabis will take a profit center away from potentially violent criminals (violence is rooted in ruthless pursuit of money). Three, fewer people will be unjustly incarcerated by a prison industrial complex (see below). And lastly, legal cannabis done correctly will be a profit center for states (or the nation) that will allow for more programs to benefit the disadvantaged.
Our problem is those who have a vested interest in seeing possession of this plant staying illegal. The big alcohol distributors (I doubt smaller craft brewers care) worry that profits will be cut if people choose alternate mind-altering drugs to beer, wine or liquor. The pharmaceutical industry worries that the heavily advertised drug of the day that alters mood or profitable pain-killers won’t be prescribed (and purchased!) as often if people have free and easy access to cannabis. Lastly and probably most heinously, we have a for-profit prison system that has a vested interest in locking people up.