marijuana-plantHumanities Discussion Series Segovia
Thursday, December 11, 7-9 pm
Sala Capitular

In the twentieth century, the criminalization of drugs, often under the pretext of enhancing societal productivity, became an almost global norm in states throughout the world.  At the peak of the anti-drugs campaign, US president Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one”. In the twenty first century, however, not only have alternative views emerged on the question of drug consumption, but, for many, the focus has shifted to the damage to society caused by drug criminalization itself.  The debate today in many countries, particularly in Europe and the US, revolves around the pros and cons of decriminalization and legalization.  All drugs clearly not being the same, people are debating vociferously about which should or should not be legalized. But, in general, the question is whether drug consumption should be viewed as a public health or a criminal issue and whether the two perspectives contradict or complement one another.   Meanwhile, the ideological grounds for legalization vary a great deal, from right-wing libertarian pleas for personal freedom to left-wing progressive plaudits for cultural plurality; even certain religious conservatives have been willing to countenance drug usage as a means of spiritual stimulation.  However, the problem of ‘addiction’ seems to make problematic such feel good arguments about liberty and tolerance.  Hence, we ask, what is the right policy with regards to drug consumption and regulation.  Should it be left to the individual, to doctors or the police?


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