War on Drugs

Decent Essays

Harsh, cruel, and unusual is an understatement to the punishments given to drug dealers for their drug related offenses. Mandatory minimum drug sentencing was arguably established to target higher level drug dealers but recently the majority of cases have been low level drug dealers. Distributing narcotics is a serious offense, but do these people who are trying to support themselves, a family, or an addiction deserve to spend close to a lifetime incarcerated? During the 1960’s drugs became a symbol of “youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent”, the government quickly stepped into action and by June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs”. The size and presence of federal drug control agencies and drastic measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Marijuana was placed under the most restrictive category of drugs and the war on drugs was underway (A Brief History of the Drug War, Bureau of Justice Statistics). As soon as these new laws were enacted in the 70’s, people quickly realized the harshness of the punishments and people started pushing the government to decriminalize marijuana. Around the time Jimmy Carter was elected and inaugurated, a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization was enacted. By October 1977, the Senate voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use but as marijuana became more prevalent in school and teens started using the drug, marijuana became caught

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