New Internationalist

Legalize drugs! Any questions?

As the ‘war on drugs’ is proving to be an almighty failure, the call for legalization of all illegal drugs is gathering momentum.

But what would legalization look like? How could it be done? New Internationalist will soon be tackling this thorny issue in our monthly magazine.

Do you have any questions you would like to ask our expert who will be making the case for legalization?

You can either share your questions and concerns with other readers in the ‘comment’ section below or you can email me directly at

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  1. #1 Steven Vidlund 25 May 12

    I think that marijuana should be regulated exactly the same as wine. You can make ’homemade’ wine, you can serve it to guests, and you can give it away as a gift and it is legal. So should it be legal to possess, to ingest or inhale or consume, and to grow, and to give away, and to 'serve' to guests, etc. But if this product is sold, then it is regualted and taxed, etc. And the same rules apply for D.U.I. laws. And if the people think it should be only in the privacy of a private home or private property, or perhaps only in front of others 18 and over in the same room, etc...then those rules could be added on as 'pre-caution'. But anyone over 18 should be able to consume, grow and possess marijuana in my opinion. I also believe that anyone over 18 should legally be allowed to drink alcohol, but that's another issue, so if they only allowed over 21 like they do for alcohol, that would be okay, but the laws should not be any STRICTER for marijuana than for wine, in my opinion. I feel that wine is more dangerous to people.

  2. #2 James Foulds 29 May 12

    I've heard the arguments for legalisation but I'm really not certain blanket legalisation would be the best route to take. Living in the UK the issues of binge drinking and the violence this brings can be seen in any large town or city, especially in young drinkers. I would first question whether actively encouraging more addictive and mind altering substances would be beneficial, instead of aiming to change attitudes?

    My other question would be towards the real world help that legalising drugs would give for drug producers, which are often the forgotten group within this issue. How will governments wrestle drug production from criminal organisations that are running the second most profitable business worldwide, and what is to stop them simply setting up as 'legitimate' companies and continuing to dominate the industry?

  3. #3 Tom Ash 29 May 12

    ’How will governments wrestle drug production from criminal organisations that are running the second most profitable business worldwide, and what is to stop them simply setting up as 'legitimate' companies and continuing to dominate the industry?’ - would it be so bad to pull them away from crime? It might be off-putting to think of violent drug lords suddenly flaunting their legitimate riches, but that doesn't mean shifting them into the legal arena wouldn't be best, all things considered.

  4. #4 Bob Thomson 12 Jun 12

    If you haven't already, I'd highly recommend you be in touch with Martin Jelsma of the Drugs and Democracy Programme of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam.
    [email protected]

  5. #5 kim 13 Jun 12

    Looks like a solution on the surface but won't that just increase exploitation of women into the sex trade and other forms of slavery and increase the market for dodgy booze, weapons and fags when the 'traders' look for an alternate income?

  6. #6 Andria E-Mordaunt 25 Aug 12


    I was recently happy to contribute in NI about this issue as it has affected my own life, and the lives of many many people I have known and loved since 1977. ...

    Right now, we are seeing a huge sea-change of public outcries by VIP folk, statesmen and so on, especially from the Latin American continent.. I only hope and dare I say, pray, that this time, there is a special something that will make the changes (legal regulation of all these medicines/drugs) we need be sped up (When your own life hangs in the balance, prayer can be handy even for atheists!)

    Right now, all over the world injecting drug users are denied a basic tool, which for them can only be described as a human right: a clean needle, not to mention medicine to stop them having to buy drugs in the illegal drug markets.. This has led to huge epidemics of HIV/AIDS in Russia, CEE and SE Asia, not to mention Africa, which we are only just beginning to uncover...

    IMHO, it is imperative that the Left take a stand on this issue as we have been rather slow to come up with any kinds of definitive statements. We need EVERY living citizen who cares about this issue to speak up because it is global, destroys vast hectares of land (aerial fumigation of marijuana, opium and coca crops), systemically corrupts Law Enforcers, governments and so on - U know these arguments after all these years.....

    So please if you are reading this , let's get on it

    Write to me if you want to

    [email protected] and lets see what we can do about this

    Andria Efthimiou-Mordaunt
    Drug Policy Reformer
    OCCUPY too

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About the author

Vanessa Baird a New Internationalist contributor

Vanessa Baird lived and worked as a journalist in Peru during the tumultuous mid-1980s, and she maintains a passionate interest in South America. She joined New Internationalist as a co-editor in 1986 and since then has written on everything from migration, money, religion and equality to indigenous activism, climate change, feminism and global LGBT rights. She also edits the Mixed Media, arts and culture section of the magazine.

Vanessa’s books include The No-Nonsense Guide to World Population (2011), Sex, Love and Homophobia (2004), The Little Book of Big Ideas (2009) and, People First Economics (2010). In 2012 she won a prestigious Amnesty International Human Rights Media award.

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