Following the legalisation of Marijuana in Uruguay, the UK government has been called upon to do the same thing.
This call was made in an article written by Owen Jones, a regular columnist with the Independent.
According to Jones, “In the five decades since its catastrophic inception, more people are using drugs than ever before, and the illegal market is booming”.
Statistics also reveal that the drug trade is worth over $330 billion annually worldwide – larger than the GDP of every single individual African country with the exception of South Africa.
Governments spend over $100 billion annually on combating drug trafficking with the US government reportedly having spent over a Trillion Dollars on it since the Nixon administration.
The columnist laments the racist dimensions that the fight against drugs has taken while noting that two-thirds of prisoners languishing in US prisons for drug related offences are either blacks or Hispanics when research suggests that Whites are as likely to be taking or selling drugs as much as blacks and Hispanics.
The statistics in the UK are just as grim: In the London, a black person is six times more likely to be stopped and searched on suspicion of drug possession despite the fact that they are less likely to use drugs according to drugs charity, Release. They also discovered that a black person found with cannabis on them is five times more likely to be charged than a white person.
Jones suggests that, “when it comes to problematic drug abuse and addiction, a more constructive approach would be to deal with the causes, not the symptoms”. According to him, drug addiction is more prevalent in poorer communities so the government should concentrate more on providing jobs and alleviating poverty not criminalising non-violent behaviour.
Jones concluded by saying that unless the British government started making moves towards legalising Marijuana “money will continue to be wasted, lives will be ruined, and people will keep dying”.