Legalization is the process of removing a legal
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 prohibition against something which is currently not legal.

Legalization is a process often applied to what are regarded, by those working towards legalization, as victimless crimes, of which one example is the consumption of illegal drugs (see Drug legalization).

Those opposed to the legalizing of any particular behaviour, action, substance or item will claim that legalization will bring benefits to individuals at the expense of the common good. Taking the above example of drug legalization, those opposed will cite the cost of drug use to a user's children, parents, friends, work colleagues, victims of drugged driving and also to a society's health system.

Legalization should be contrasted with decriminalization
Decriminalization or Decriminalisation is the abolition of criminal penalties in relation to certain acts, perhaps retroactively, though perhaps regulated permits or fines might still apply . The reverse process is criminalization.Decriminalization reflects changing social and moral views...

, which removes criminal charges from an action, but leaves intact associated laws and regulations.

Proponents of libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 support legalization of what they regard as victimless crimes, such as recreational drug use
Recreational drug use
Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

 and prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...


See also
  • Drug liberalization
    Drug liberalization
    Drug liberalization is the process of eliminating or reducing drug prohibition laws. Variations of drug liberalization include drug relegalization, drug legalization, and drug decriminalization -Policies:...

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