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Drugs, Morality and the Law

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Arguments for and against the legal prohibition of drugs are surveyed. Various kinds of argument are identified and analysed: arguments against prohibition from a moral right to personal liberty; utilitarian and contractualist arguments for a right to personal liberty; arguments for prohibition from liberty–limiting principles (the harm principle, legal paternalism, legal moralism, Kantian duties to oneself, legal perfectionism, traditional conservatism, and communitarianism); utilitarian argument for prohibition; utilitarian argument against prohibition. It is concluded that none of the arguments for drug prohibition is convincing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St Martin's College, Lancaster, UK

Publication date: 2002-12-01

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