Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

Legalization is the process of removing legal restrictions or prohibitions on a particular activity or substance, effectively making it legal to engage in or use.

Legalization can occur at the local, state, or national level and can apply to various activities or substances, including drugs, gambling, prostitution, and same-sex marriage.

The process of legalization often involves changing laws or regulations to permit the activity or substance in question. This can include repealing existing laws that criminalize the activity or substance or enacting new laws that regulate it.

Legalization can be controversial, with supporters and opponents arguing over the potential benefits and risks associated with the activity or substance in question. Supporters of legalization often argue that it can lead to increased personal freedom, reduced criminal activity, and increased tax revenue for governments. Conversely, opponents often argue that legalization can lead to increased societal harm, such as addiction or other negative health outcomes.

Legalization can also have different effects depending on the specific circumstances and context in which it occurs. For example, the legalization of marijuana in some US states has led to increased tax revenue and reduced rates of marijuana-related arrests and incarcerations. In contrast, other jurisdictions have seen increased rates of impaired driving and other negative consequences.

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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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