In recent years one of the more hotly contested topics in the American judicial system has been the legalization of drugs. Obviously, the drug that has stirred up the most attention in this lengthy debate is marijuana. For years, the case has been made both for and against liberation. However, our courts have never been able to clearly and uniformly reach a decision. The laws placed on it, for the most part, stay the way they have been; while the conflict over its status continues to escalate. .
It is pretty clear that the United States has a drug problem. Since 1980 the number of annual drug related arrests in the nation has increased by almost one million. Such an increase has led to intense rises in jail populations. However, despite the dramatic raise in arrests in the past twenty years there has been noticed a general decrease in drug usage ("Drug Policy."). This contrast displays the toughening of the United States" war on drugs. Many legalization proponents ask though if this "war" is being won or is a dead horse simply being beat. Yearly, America spends billions of dollars strengthening its drug policy and attacking the so called problem of drugs. Even though we have seen a drop in the number of drug usage in America, the increase of incarceration for substances is staggering. The United States is second only to Russia in the rate of incarceration per capita. Such a fact can be quite frightening considering that America is considered to be a very liberal country in terms of litigation and therefore less likely to just haul people off to prison. These statistics mentioned before a but a few of the reasons drug legalization has become a hot topic in the American judiciary realm.
The drug most brought up in these discussions is marijuana. According to the 1999 SAMSA National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, out of all illicit drug users tested, 75% of them admitted to being users of marijuana ("Drug Policy.