An anti-drug legislation is a law that is drafted forbidding the use of narcotic drugs by citizens. In the United States of America, it is the responsibility of the state, federal, and the local government to come up with laws that regulate the use of drugs in the country. Each state in the United States operates as an independent body and makes laws that affect individuals in the state only. Different states have different laws regarding the use of drugs and there are similarities and differences in the laws between states and also between the states and the federal government. This paper will seek to compare and contrast the legislation between states and also between states and the federal government and the effects that the legislation has on the war against drugs.
Legislation between different States
The war against drugs in the United States has not been very successful due to the varying laws in the different states in the United States. The states regulate the manufacture, marketing, distribution and sale of specific drugs. Most of the laws prohibit the use of illicit drugs like the cocaine, heroine, marijuana, and others. Unfortunately, thirteen states are legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes (David, 2001, p.127). This means that marijuana will be available in some shops in these specific states. The laws regarding use of drugs are being amended and this affects the use of drugs in these states. For example, some amendments have taken place in the state of Louisiana which has brought some differences. The state law did not write any penalties on an individual caught using, trafficking, or selling drugs (The New York Times, 2000, prg.4). This makes it a bit hard for the judges to sentence individuals caught with the actions that it terms as illegal.
Legislation between the Federal Government and the States
The federal government regulates the use, trafficking, and sale of illicit drugs across the whole country. This is different from the states that come up with laws that only apply in their states. The federal government is totally against the use, possession or sale of any illicit drug including marijuana. The U.S. Supreme court has ruled that the federal government has power over any state in regulating the use of illegal drugs (The News Batch, 2008, prg.2). The federal legislation states that any individual caught using, trafficking, or selling marijuana is subject to prosecution by the law. This almost makes the laws by the states that differ from the federal laws null and void. A great debate exists in the United States where some individuals argue that the cost of prohibition is too high and it will eventually fail just like the prohibition of alcohol. According to them, legalizing and regulating the drugs would make the problem medical that can be addressed easier.
Impact of Legalization of some Drugs
If the use of some drugs like marijuana and cocaine was legalized in the United States, it means that individuals will not be arrested for using, trafficking, or selling the drugs. Many people especially the youths will have access to the drugs and will use them due to peer influence. There is a relationship between crime and use of drugs meaning that criminal cases will be on the rise (Kenneth, 2004. p.35). The government will also not be able to forfeit assets that are used by individuals caught trafficking such drugs because the use of the drugs will be legal.
The laws regarding use, trafficking, and sale of narcotic drugs in the United States differ between the different states and also between states and the federal government. Different states are legalizing the use of some drugs such as marijuana while others are against it. The federal government is totally against the use and possession of any illicit drug in the United States. Some individuals are for legalization of illicit drugs arguing that prohibition will fail just like the prohibition of use of alcohol.
David, M. (2001). The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control, 3d Ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kenneth, J. M. (2004). The Politics of Sin: Drugs, Alcohol, and Public Policy. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe.
The News Batch, (2008). Drug Policy Issues. Web.
The New York Times, (2000). A Slight Gap in Louisiana’s Anti-Drug Law: No Penalties. Web.