Literature (2005), decriminalization refers to the abolishment

Literature
Review

Drug Policy Models

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The drug policies of countries are founded on different
models such as the prohibitionist model, risk or harm reduction, legalization
or regulation and decriminalization as mentioned by researchers, Yablon (2011),
Inciardi (2008), Goode (2005) and Husak (2005).  While these models have core characteristics,
they lack a universal definition by any one body of authority. In effect, some differently
named models may essentially have the same principles in practice.   This is
especially true for the decriminalization and legalization models.  According to Goode (2005), decriminalization
refers to the abolishment of all criminal penalties for drugs. He explains that
under the decriminalization model, the government plays no role in the
purchasing and sales of any drug but instead, leaves the distribution of drugs to
the free interplay of demand and supply. 
The definition of legalization by Husak (2005) is similar: making the
production and sale of drugs a non-criminal offence.   The
definition of the prohibitionist model on the other hand is more clear-cut and
does not share any significant similarity with any other model.  Frank et al (2001) states that, based on the
theory of deterrence, the model advocates harsh punishments for     Also, for the same reason of the lack of
standardized definitions, some literature on drug policies seem to mention decriminalization,
harm reduction and legalization in the same breath and implicitly classify them
under drug liberalization therefore establishing two main drug policy models:
the prohibitionist and liberalist models.

 

Kleiman and Saiger (1990) clear the air by explaining
that the term “legalization” covers a wide array of policies.  Under complete legalization, they describe a
situation where hard drugs are available to willing consumers whereas under
partial legalization, all or specific hard drugs are available to consumers who
meet an age requirement or to individuals with an established drug addiction
recognized by medical practitioners. Likewise, Goode (1997) likens the
situation to a spectrum that has control (prohibition) at one end and decontrol
(liberalism) at the other end.  In
between these two are policies that make different degrees of modifications to
the staunch extreme positions.  Goode (2005)
maintains that although theoretically, the two mutually exclusive positions of
prohibition and liberalism exist, an examination of current drug policies
reveals that in reality, prohibition and legalization do not represent
an either-or proposition.  Rather, he
asserts they form a continuum, with the most punitive prohibitionist policy
imaginable at one end all the way over to a completely libertarian
proposal—with no laws governing the possession or sale of any drug.  Inciardi
(2008) confirms this observation in his assertion that none of the models is
mutually exclusive to each other; some may overlap and contain elements of
another. 

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