Much of the U.S. prison-overcrowding problem stems from our society’s misguided attempt to legislate morality by criminalizing the use of drugs. It is senseless to punish people for using a relatively benign substance like marijuana while the use of more harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco, and many pharmaceutical drugs is encouraged through mass advertising.
The prohibition of more addictive drugs such as cocaine or heroin only ensures that the price remains so high that many addicts must turn to theft or prostitution to feed their habit.
We advocate a more sensible policy: Cannabis should be legalized, with legal use restricted to adults. The penalties for simple possession and use of other drugs should be greatly reduced.
Serious substance abuse problems of all kinds, including alcohol and tobacco, should be dealt with as a public health matter, not as a criminal matter, with more resources devoted to drug education, treatment and social intervention.
A sensible policy on drug abuse and crime should also eliminate the hypocrisy, double standards and injustices that permeate the criminal justice system today.
For the Illinois Green Party’s complete position on drug legalization and decriminalization, see Section R. (Crime and Criminal Justice) of the Illinois Green Party Platform.