Even though marijuana drug laws are slowly progressing in the United States, it’s important to recognize the different drug policies around the world. In many countries, the war on drugs shows no signs of relenting as offenders are still facing extreme punishments. On the other hand, many countries are also fighting against the war on drugs and moving forward in adapting more lenient and reasonable drug policies. We can only hope that with time, these harsh drug policies change and stop taking away the lives of many.
In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs including marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. The decision to make these drugs a public health issue came after the country was in a dire heroin epidemic. In many ways, this shift has had a positive effect on the country. Since 2001, drug-related HIV infections have dropped by over 90%. The number of adults who have done drugs has steadily decreased, which has certainly helped the number of drug-related offenders in jail fall as well. Then, the number of people seeking help in jail increased 60% between 1998 and 2011. Although many countries have a long ways to go until they see similar results as Portugal, it’s important to remember that offenders are still facing unfair and severe punishments in other countries.