The Instigator
Con (against)
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Pro (for)
0 Points

1st DDO Census Debate: Drug Legalization

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/30/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,034 times Debate No: 81223
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (86)
Votes (4)




The Resolution:
The USFG Should Legalize all Drugs for Recreational Use.

With the pending legalization of Marijuana in most US states, the topic of universal drug legalization has become more common. With elements such as drug health risks and drug war costs being thrown back and forth, the debate has gained momentum on DDO.

- No wars (source wars or definition wars, etc...)
- No kritiking.
- No Conduct or S&G votes.
- Proper formatting must be used (and consistent.)

The winner shall receive a choice between a $25 gift card to Amazon or Walmart.

Pro side is represented by FourTrouble, and advised by F-16. Con side is represented by Donald.Keller, and advised by RoyLatham.

Recreational Use: The use of a drug for providing preasure rather than to cure or treat disease or medical conditions.
Drug: A medicine or other substance which has a psychological and/or physical effect when introduced into the body.
Legalize: To make legal for production, distribution, and use of a product.


DK agreed in PM that the definition for "recreational use" is "any non-medical use." We also agreed that I would waive the final round. Having said that, onto my arguments. I'm copying this round from my previous drug debate:

I love drugs. If you read my DDO profile, you'll learn that I eat healthy and exercise regularly (i.e. I take great care of my body) precisely so that I can use hard drugs with minimal repurcussions. I've dropped, eaten, smoked, and snorted everything from MDMA to heroin. I even did meth once (never felt so speedy in my life). And thanks to a combination of all these drugs, I learned to seethe with the cosmos.

I've learned more from drugs than anything else. In particular, drugs have taught me a profound sense of humility, that I'm not in total control, that my ideas and vision and even body don't always operate the way I want. And I've learned how to seethe with the universe, swell with its cosmic tides, surf and drown and frolic in its terrestrial waves. It's good to be 16, tripping on acid and seeing the invisible textures of the universe. And it's good to be 19 and so lit that you can smell the stars.

These experiences prepare us for a beautiful life. They teach you that life isn't defined by your job, it's defined by your relationship with the universe. In the words of Rich Doyle, drugs teach us to be ecodelic. And that applies at all stages of your life, no matter your age—drugs break the constraints of habit, anxiety, and dread. The vast majority of drug users have positive experiences with no downside.

Of course, unless you've done lots of drugs, you probably don't know how educational and life-changing they are. So for anyone unsure about the positive effect of proper drug use, let me explain why the government shouldn't be in the business of interfering with personal decisions about using drugs.

Individuals should have all the freedom they want to pursue their own views of the good life—up to the point where an unwilling person could be harmed. This idea is captured by John Stuart Mill's "harm principle," which holds that “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” Freedom thus ends only where the next person’s nose begins.

There's two justifications for this limiting principle. First, it gives our government political legitimacy. In a "state of nature," no political authority exists; individuals are free to do whatever they want. The only reason people give up some of that freedom is to be protected from being harmed by others. This establishes a limit on legitimate government interference.

Second, the harm principle maximizes utility because it lets individuals weigh the costs and benefits of incommensurate goods subjectively (e.g. weighing pleasure from drugs vs health risks). Concepts like pleasure are inherently subjective, so the best way to maximize them is by letting individuals weigh them subjectively, as long as those actions don't harm anyone else.

Under the harm principle, the government's job isn't to ensure people make smart decisions. Nobody should be punished for hurting their own mind or body. That's why suicide is legal. And if suicide is legal, so too should drugs be legal. And it doesn't matter if a particular drug is self-destructive—its use has no effect on anyone but the person using the drug. This puts drugs firmly outside the scope of legitimate government control.

The United States should therefore legalize all drugs no matter how self-destructive it is. And the usual responses—that consuming drugs isn't entirely self-regarding, and that the costs of legalization outweigh the benefits—aren't compelling.

First, drug use is inherently self-regarding. It has no affect on anyone but the person consuming the drug. Any harms related to drug use are caused by the circumstances in which a user consumes drugs, not the drugs themselves. The issue, then, is the circumstances surrounding consumption, not drug use itself.

Second, the costs of drug prohibition outweigh the benefits twice over. In particular, prohibition causes the following harms:

(1) Consuming drugs becomes extremely dangerous because of the potential to suffer poisoning from an adulterated batch, or to overdose because a batch is more pure than believed.

(2) Street drugs are easily available to children.

(3) Dealers charge monopoly prices, so addicts can't spare money for anything else. This drives addicts to homelessness, prostitution, or property crime, simply to afford the drugs.

(4) In drug-dominated neighborhoods, people experience a significant deterioration in the quality of life, which disproportionately harms poorer Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Also, consider the race issue here in terms of the mass incarceration of young (usually recent high school dropouts) drug dealers and drug addicts.

(5) The higher-ups in gangs and drug cartels reap enormous profits. In turn, these illicit drug profits fund terrorism and increase the risk of state failure: "drug revenues support insurgents, other armed non-state actors, and corrupt officials, while counternarcotic efforts create hostility to state power." [1]

(6) In Mexico, drug gangs use advanced military equipment (often better than the army's), have taken over local governments, and some towns have even become uninhabitable. Tens of thousands of individuals have been violently killed, a number greater than the combined deaths of American and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a considerable number of children and other innocent bystanders. [1]

(7) Mexicans fleeing the drug violence have been entering the United States illegally. This has created an immigration problem. (It even gave Donald Trump something to talk about, which links to the risk of Trump winning the election).

(8) The most dangerous harms are those we can't predict ahead-of-time. For example, a major cost of heroin prohibition was the rapid spread of HIV through drug injecting before anyone knew what was going on. Or consider the changes in inner-city drug trade as a result of the crack trade in the 90s, specifically the increase in gang violence, gun prevalence, and so on. Prohibited markets are unpredictable. And that has major risks on public health (e.g. HIV), crime (e.g. gang violence), and other social issues we simply can't predict.

In effect, drug prohibition inflicts more harm to people in our cities, states, countries, and the world than drugs ever will. And each of these harms are eliminated or significantly reduced in a legalized regime. On top of that, legalization creates a number of other benefits:

(1) Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, estimates that legalization will reduce government expenditures by $41.3 billion per year. The savings involve reductions in police expenditures, in judicial expenditures, and in prison expenditures. In addition, Miron estimates that legalization will increase tax revenues by $46.7 billion per year, assuming conservatively that demand for drugs doesn't increase, with a tax rate similar to that on alcohol. The total boom to our economy is thus about $88 billion per year. And that calculation doesn't even take into account the potential income tax on legal drug dealers. [2]

(2) Law-abiding citizens who wouldn't abuse drugs will finally be free to use drugs responsibly, reaping all the benefits of drug use without any of the harms.

(3) Legalization will indirectly increase high school graduation rates, because it would reduce illegal opportunities for dropouts.

(4) There's still the possibility for individual states to prohibit or penalize drug use, which lets states test different policies (i.e. states as laboratories).

The facts show that drug prohibition has been the biggest failed policy in the history of our country; the benefits of legalization significantly outweigh the harms. And luckily legalization isn't just supported by the facts, it also aligns with the central value underlying our government: individual liberty. For all these reasons, vote Pro.


1. Mark Kleiman, "Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know"

Debate Round No. 1


Premise I: Pro's Case.

Pro's case is built on four key arguments... Legalization brings in $88 bn in economy benefits. Legalization doesn't infringe on people's rights. Legalization reduces a number of Prohibition problems. Legalization provides education and fulfillment. These four are the core of his case, and we see his case stick completely to these arguments.

Argument I: Secondhand Impact.

I will establish here that several of Pro arguments depend on drugs being harmful only to the individual. The law should only protect us from having our rights infringed upon, as an example.

To start, the effects of secondhand smoke are vast. As the CDC reports, secondhand smoke causes 34,000 deaths in the US from heart disease alone. Another 8,000 deaths are caused by strokes annually from secondhand smoke (1). A study by J. Barnova and S. Glantz show that the cardiovascular impact of passive amounts of secondhand smoke is almost the same as actual smoking (80-90% as effective as smoking)(2). Another review put the death toll from heart disease as high as 42,000 (3). It's assumed nearly 7000-8000 die annually from lung cancer. The impact of secondhand smoke also includes worsening asthma and between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in children.

It's assumed that there are 5.6 million children today who will die prematurely due to the impact of secondhand smoke on their bodies (1). Cardiovascular effects from secondhand smoke from marijuana is no different (4). I do want to address very quickly, before Pro brings it up, I have read the study claiming secondhand smoke carries no impact on lung cancer rates. This one study, up against the array of literature on the subject, only rated house wives who had very passive contact with smoking. This doesn't account for people with a lot of contact, or children living in a house with two parents who smoke.

The impact of secondhand smoke is vast, and invasive. From Pro's own framework (how the rule of law is only to prevent our rights from being infringe upon) smoking does more to infringe on the bodily autonomy, right to life, and right to security of self and future, of anyone who is harmed by secondhand smoke from drugs.


Argument II: Economic Impact.

The economic impact of Drugs is huge. Pro brought up two numbers... The economic boost of legalized drugs, and the economic savings... The numbers being $46.7bn and $41.3bn, respectively. Equaling $88 bn a year.

Pro has thrown up a framework around utilitarianism, which is fine, since I agree with this framework. Pro's argument assumes a lot of pros with little to no cons. Using Colorado as an example, tax revenue from marijuana is estimated at around $115 million for 2015 (5). When projected across the nation, this is worth $6.5 bn or $6.4 bn (depending on population-based projection or GDP-based projection.) Meanwhile, in Colorado, the cost of legalization is around $103 million. This means the cost of legalization (things like treatment aide, policing, and regulations) is almost as high as assumed profits. It negates Pro's own savings case, as well as the economic benefits case.

This doesn't exclude the other costs... Drugs cost the economy $180 a year in lost productivity and death (6). Based on a tax rate of 27% for the US (7), the USFG and states lose $48 bn in lost tax. This is a 2004 estimate, and based on the rate of growth at 5% a year, we can assume it's anywhere from $200-$300 bn a year now, equaling $50 - $82 bn a year in lose taxes. The cost is based on the effects of drugs, so legalization would only make the issue worse by spiking the usage of drugs. Based on loss profit and investment opportunities, it can be assumed the US GDP is hundreds of billions (possibly a trillion) dollars smaller due to the exponential effects of lost capital.

Another impact on the economy is medical. The US spends $170 bn a year on medical costs associated with smoking alone (8). The US State/Federal government makes up 43% of all medical costs (9). At this rate, cigarettes cost US tax payers $73 bn a year in costs. This is around $350 per taxpayer. Marijuana alone, having the same (if not worse) impact as cigarettes, would cost the government tens of billions in medical costs. The strain on the healthcare industry alone would increase prices on insurance and costs. This becomes a bigger issue, as many suspect Government to make up between 50% - 66% of all healthcare costs by 2020 (10, 11). Somewhere around a $100 bn+ price tag.

Overall, the costs of drug legalization on the economy outweigh Pro's benefits. With Pro's benefits ranging around $88 bn, the harms reach $180 bn in lost economy, $150+ bn in possible medical expenses, and $160 bn in costs/lost revenue for the US. This is assuming marijuana isn't stronger than cigarettes, and leaving out drugs like bath salts, LSD, meth, and acid from the potential costs.

Pro's own $40 bn savings isn't even accurate, as so much of those costs aren't drug-exclusive. The cost of imprisonment, making up so much of the cost, would stay the same because almost no one in prison for drugs is there solely because of drugs. I will get to that in Rebuttal II. The Police wouldn't see cuts because legalization costs almost as much as prohibition for the police force. The only remaining savings Pro mentioned was judicial, but since almost no one in prison is there solely because of drugs, this would also stay the same, if not get worse.

Therefore, legalization would not save the USFG $40 bn a year, while still costing the economy $350 bn and costing tax payers $160 bn.


Rebuttal I: Education and Benefits.

Pro's case here is, simply put, ipse dixit. "he himself said it..." Pro claims all of this, but it's all his personal experience and nothing more. We know people react differently to different drugs. While Pro may learn of the universe from bath salts, another may eat a person's face (12). The point is, Pro does nothing to prove this case is meaningful outside of his own opinion, or to prove that this, if true, is common and even relevant.

The facts are that, even if real, pro's claim only stands for himself, and for the drugs he has taken. Other drug's, like Krocodile, hold none of these benefits. In fact, while marijuana may supposedly give Pro a better view of the universe, it increases the odds of schizophrenia by as much as double in everyone else (13, 14). Hallucinogens can cause long term effects like paranoia, visual disturbances, and even effects similar to strokes (15). All of this is contradictory to Pro's own self-proclaimed benefits.

Pro claims drugs prepare us for life. Also ipse dixit. But more interestingly is the fact that long-term impacts from drugs cause harder, more expansive lives. There are many alternatives to drug use for preparing for the future, most of which don't destroy that same future. Do drugs prepare us for the tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs, mental disorders, and physical harms that those same drugs cost us?


Rebuttal II: Impact of Prohibition.

Perhaps Pro's strongest argument. However, much of this relies on the idea that the harms of breaking the law are the law's responsibility. Having to spend more, or getting worse products. However, laws make ALL illegal activity harder and more dangerous (theft, murder, child abuse.) This isn't a case for legalization.

To start with the first issue, the prison argument. Pro claims that drug laws have inflated prison populations. In reality, less than 1% of all drug convictions in the US leading to prison time involved only drug possession. And most of that 1% was convicted for other reasons, but used plea bargaining to only get "drug possession" held against them (16). Drugs make up a tiny percent of prison population, and most of them had criminal careers prior, or where constant re-offenders. In reality, most "drug-related" convictions where caused by the suspect being on drugs, such as DUI's, theft from people who where high, or drug-fueled attacks. Drug's are involved in a massive number of fatal vehicle accidents (17). Since legalization, the number in Colorado has jump up greatly. There was a 25-50% bump in DUIs, and fatalities from DUIs doubled (18).

Pro also claims that prohibition makes drugs more available to children. However he never proves this other then claiming it. In reality, the availability of drugs more freely in the house and elsewhere in society makes exposure easier for youth. In Colorado, drug related issues among teens increased since legalization (19).

A number of other arguments center around Cartels. However, Cartels won't disappear with legalization. They will simply become more aggressive, as they enter new markets and make harsher drugs the market won't touch. In truth, drug control efforts have reduced the demand and use of drugs by 25% since 2001, and the efforts against drugs have reduced cocaine use greatly. In regards to Pro's youth argument, drug control laws have helped to decrease use of drugs among youth by over 50% since 2001 (20).



The costs of legalization is 8x to 15x larger than the economic benefits, and the effect on others is a far worse infringement of personal freedom then making drugs illegal is. The benefits of ending prohibition are also weak, and the negatives of drug are larger than the "fulfillment" they kinda might offer.


Secondhand Impact:

Con argues that drugs are harmful to others via secondhand smoke. Let's unpack this argument. Con's not saying that drugs are inherently harmful. And Con's not saying drugs are harmful to those who use drugs. Instead, Con's entire argument rests on the notion that drugs are sometimes harmful because of the circumstances in which drugs are consumed. Under some circumstances, drugs have secondhand impacts that harm others.

Notably, Con doesn't argue that all circumstances involve secondhand impacts. Only some circumstances do. For instance, smoking in the privacy or your home doesn't have any secondhand impacts. And smoking around folks who consent to secondhand smoke doesn't have any involuntary secondhand impacts. That's why we have something called "smoking zones," which limit where you're allowed to smoke.

So Con's argument begs an obvious question: why not legalize all drugs but regulate when, where, and how they're used? That's what we do with alcohol. Alcohol causes more secondhand deaths that cigarettes or marijuana combined. Yet alcohol is legal. What we do is make certain circumstances in which alcohol is consumed illegal (e.g. drunk driving). There's no need to make all consumption illegal. The law should focus on regulating circumstances, not the drugs themselves.

Con also fails to offer any non-arbitrary distinction between drugs and everything else that causes secondhand impacts. For instance, guns are legal. And cars are legal. But guns and cars cause more secondhand deaths than all illegal drugs combined. Even worse, properly prescribed drugs by doctors kill more people than all illegal drugs combined. [1] Under Con's logic, we should illegalize anything that has secondhand impacts. Of course, that logic is absurd.

Economic Impact:

I want to emphasize that economic considerations pale in comparison with the major problems with drug prohibition: crime, corruption, and erosion of civil liberties. These impacts outweigh any purely economic considerations.

That said, economic impacts offer strong support for legalization: ending drug prohibition will reduce expenditure on law enforcement, will reduce judicial resources spent on drug prosecutions, will reduce correctional resources spent on drug incarcerations, will produce an increase in tax revenue from legalized sales, and will move profits from the illicit economy to the legitimate one. These economic benefits are indisputable. And they're huge. The study I cited in R1 is a study by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron. And it estimates savings of $42 billion from the enforcement of drug prohibitions, and tax revenues of $47 billion from sales of legal drugs.

Con's response isn't compelling. In short, Con argues that the economic costs of legalization will somehow outweigh these economic benefits. This argument rests on three points (1) regulation costs, (2) productivity costs, and (3) medical costs. Each point of analysis is profoundly flawed.

First, regulation costs. There's no way that the costs of regulating drugs outweighs the costs of prohibiting drugs. Let's talk about Colorado. After all, I live here. And it has directly impacted my life. Colorado has made so much money off of weed sales that last week, there was a vote on whether to return that money to taxpayers or whether the government could spend it on education. Voters decided that Colorado could spend the money on education.

Con says the cost of legalization in Colorado has been around $103 million. According to Pro's source, that's actually the "proposed expenditure plan for revenue." It's not the actual costs of regulation. It's how the state intends to spend the tax revenue. So of course it's going to be close to the tax revenue number.

So let's be clear about how that number breaks down. The costs of "regulatory oversight" is put at $1.8 million for 2013 to 2015, and the cost of "law enforcement" is put at $3.2 million for 2013 to 2015. So the costs of actually regulating and enforcing a legalization regime are tiny compared with the tax revenue. What's the other expenditures to reach $103 million? There's $12 million proposed to be spent on public health. But the vast majority is for education. Around $40 million is for educating kids, and $40 million is for substance abuse treatment. Those aren't costs of regulation. And in my scheme, I wouldn't educate kids the way Colorado's doing it.

Let's also be clear about what the numbers in Colorado show. The $118 million number that Con cites is for 2014 to 2015. But his cost estimate comes from 2013 to 2015. So the numbers are deceptive.

Con's source also doesn't take into account any of the savings from reduced expenditures on drug prohibition. That includes savings on judicial resources, police resources, and prison resources. And Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron puts those numbers roughly around the same place as

The Awesomeness of Drugs:

Krokodil is fvcking great. That's why people do it. Intense pleasure. Similar to heroin. But doesn't last as long. You can move on with your day quickly, instead of being out for hours like with heroin.

Nothing Con argued shows that drugs aren't great when used properly. Con only argues that drugs are harmful when used improperly. But the same could be said about driving cars, shooting guns, and other dangerous activities. Lots of people do drugs because they're awesome. And we should be letting people weigh the utility of using drugs subjectively, since ultimately valuing pleasure and education and life-experiences is a subjective thing.

Harms of Prohibition:

Con basically concedes most of the stuff about crime, terrorism, safety, erosion of liberties, unpredictable markets, and so on.

Con's stuff about prisons is bullsh!t. The point is that most crime in our country is committed because people can't afford black market drugs, so they resort to crime. And Con dropped my point that the cost of illegal drugs drives people to commit crime. So that shows a massive increase in crime, not just from drug possession, but crimes committed so that they can buy drugs. And then they go to prison because of those crimes. The root cause is prohibition. And Con drops my point that this disproportionately affects poorer neighborhoods, poorer people, and minorities.

Con seems cartels will somehow still exist when drugs are legalized. But that ignores the fact that cartels simply won't have any funding. There won't be any profit to be made with drugs, as the legal market is going to drive prices down to competitive (rather than monopoly) costs.

And Con's DEA source is biased as fvck... and completely untrustworthy. And it doesn't actually say what Con says it says. It says drug demand is down among high school students (not the general public). And it doesn't say anything about drug prohibition or the drug war causing a decrease in drug demand. What it says is that they took a survey of high school students and found that drug demand is down. What caused the decrease in demand? Who fvcking knows... I'd venture a guess that it's education efforts, not drug prohibition. And nothing I argued prohibits educating people on how to use drugs. On the contrary, my whole argument turns on education. And keep in mind that Con's source is a survey performed by the DEA... and that's as biased as it gets. After all, they're trying to justify their own existence. And Con's source doesn't say the methodology, the number of people surveyed, there's nothing there to show it's trustworthy.


Debate Round No. 2


Premise I: Pro's Case.

I need to address an issue in Pro's case... Pro has the BOP here. Pro is proposing a change from the status quo, and therefore must prove that there must be a change.

Argument I: Secondhand Smoke.

Remembering that Pro has BOP. The fact that drugs are harmful is status quo. I don't need to state that drugs are harmful for it to be established. Pro must prove they are not harmful.

Pro tries to claim that drugs aren't inherently harmful, and that it is a matter of circumstance that other's get hurt. He compares them to cars and guns, which aren't inherently dangerous. To start, cars and guns must be aimed at someone/something to do damage. Cars don't inherently hit people. The threat to other's is in regards to the user. Unlike smoke-based drugs. These drugs don't need to target someone, they have an areal effect. The secondhand effect is caused by the smoke, not the bad aim of the user. However, if you get a car that is badly built, and can hit someone because of it's own faulty guidance, and not the guidance of the user, that car would be illegal to use.

The logic follows as such:
P1) The smoke causes secondhand effects.
P2) The drug inherently creates the smoke.
C) The drug inherently causes secondhand effects.

Pro's best example is that you can smoke in the privacy of your home. A number of studies done show that smoke travels far. Living in one's own apartment, the smoke can travel to all apartments nearby (1). Another study done by San Diego State University confirms this (2). In fact, smoking just outside of your home doesn't work either, despite having elements like wind and mass open spacing (3). The only way to prevent secondhand smoke is to never smoke, or restrict smoking to areas far from civilization. The problem with restricting drug use, as Pro claims we can do, is that is unenforcable. Unlike with prohibition, legalization poses legal threats to the ability to enforce mass restrictions on the level needed to prevent all secondhand smoke.

A lot of Pro's case relies on consent to the secondhand effects. But a child living with parents who smokes does not consent to breathing in the smoke. As prior stated, there are 5 million children today who will die early because of smoke. Not one of them consented to that smoke. Even teenagers can't consent, as the age of consent is 18. The same principle applies to anyone who has to work beside a smoker. The 'Yes means Yes' law comes to mind. A law in California based on the principle that you must say yes to consent. Not saying no does not equal consent.

Pro used the claim that prescription drugs kill more people. I want to note that his source (the only source for his round) is Mercola. Mercola is considered extremely bias and untrustworthy. (4). That being said, Pro's argument ignores that prescription drugs are used by almost 8x as many people (5,6), and the usage per person is FAR higher. I should mention that almost all death caused by prescription drugs are not caused by medical usage of the drugs, but by the recreational use of those drugs... The use that Pro defends. Medical Drugs also save millions of lives a year (7: This source also attacks Pro's Mercola source). Cocaine and Meth does not (both of which can produce smoke.)


Argument II: Economic Impact.

Pro says the cost of regulation would not outweigh the costs of prohibition, but offers no source. His prior prior source leaves out how much would be spent on legalization when measuring saving. His sources also leaves out the prison case I made, which show's that legalization would not cut costs of law enforcement. In fact, Pro seemingly carried on as though I never made that argument. He claimed that my source didn't account for savings. I accounted for savings. I measured the costs against the savings in Round 2.

Pro says my source lists $103.5 million across three years. This isn't true, and is misrepresenting what my study said. The study said that $103.5 million is planned for each year. In fact, another $29 million is planned for regulation enforcement, for a toal of $132.5 million each year, while revenue is just $118 million, for a $14.5 million loss (8).

Pro's source claimed that Colorado spent $74 million on prohibiting Marijuana (9). That cost is far smaller than the $132.5 million spent to maintain a safe legalization. The cost of regulation will increase as usage increases, while the revenue decreases as the cost of the drugs goes down. The problem with Pro's source is that it's from 2010, before any state legalized Marijuana. Now that we have a state with legalized marijuana, we can see that Pro's study's speculations don't hold up.

A lot of the costs are for educating kids on the usage of drugs, and on rehab. These are, in fact, regulatory costs, as regulatory costs include the cost of maintaining a safe legalization, and not just the costs of cracking down on misuse. These costs also leave out the cost of collecting taxes. Pro says that in his scheme, education and rehab wouldn't be accounted for. I'll hold him to this statement for later on. But first, let's address that this isn't about Pro legalizing drugs... It's about the US Federal Government legalizing drugs. They pay for rehab and for education, that's a status quo system they use. It's done for cigarettes and for alcohol. Pro has a lot of burden to prove that drugs should be legalized differently from how the USFG legalizes substances.

Pro completely dropped the stats I posted for the amount lost to drugs. $180 bn - $300 bn in lost economy. $170 bn in medical costs. And $48 - $80 bn in lost taxes (equal to 03% of the economy). As well as the exponential loss in investment growths over time. Pro's savings (equal to only 00.5% of the economy) pale in comparison. We see this with alcohol and cigerettes, where the costs are 15x higher than the taxes revenue.


Argument III: Economic Freedom.

Pro's harm principle is based on the idea that the law should protect us from having our rights violated. The truth about drugs is that they are a violation of our most basic right... The right to say no. More important than the right to say yes to a product, is the right to say no before and after using it. Legalization allows companies to violate our bodily autonomy, and make us HAVE to buy their product, or face major physical withdrawals.

The freedom of choice only exists if the choice to say no exists. Without it, the idea of choice is a myth.

Rebuttal I: Benefits of Drugs.

Pro must prove that drugs can be done in a safe way. It's not on me to prove they can't be. That being said, there is no safe way to inhale cancer-causing smoke into your body. And Meth is dangerous in all forms and uses.

Even if drugs have benefits, they are outweighed by the long-term effects, including mental disorders, physical deterioration, and the loss of decades from one's life. I listed side-effects that perfectly contradict Pro's "benefits," and Pro dropped them.

Rebuttal II: Harms of Prohibition.

Taking into account that we have a character limint, when the Harm of Prohibition case came around, Pro threw out over 12 seperate arguments in a compact list, along side the rest of his cases. This is blatant shotgunning. I can not reasonably respond to each and every argument in the huge list he shotgunned. Despite that, I did addressed all but one case. Crime and Terror were accounted for when I explained that the Cartel's would not go away. With Safety, I explained that the dangers of breaking the law are not reasons for legalization, a case that Pro dropped. With Erosion of Liberties, I had an entire case revolving around how the right to do drugs is outweighed the loss of rights for non-smokers.

My source showed that Cartel's actually used legalization to earn higher profits. They adapted the legalization to increase their funding (8). Pro claims that Cartel's will disappear because they won't have any funding, but another source claims that drugs make up less than half of all Cartel funding (10). Cartel's simply aren't affected by legalization in the long run (11). Legalization doesn't remove the black market. Even cigarettes have a massive black market (12).

Pro claims that the majority of all crimes are done to get drugs, but with no source. A review of my source shows that crime didn't decrease (it actually increased) after legalization (8). For Pro's claim to be true, we must see at least some decrease, especially if "most" crimes are done for drugs.

Pro's attack on my source is unwarranted. Saying "Con's DEA source is biased as fvck.." Pro simply attacks my source with no backing or counter source. My source is supported by 251 studies. Pro also claims that my source doesn't say what I claimed it said. A review:

... drug control laws have helped to decrease use of drugs among youth by over 50% since 2001." - me.
"... youth use of drugs such as MDMA/Ecstasy, LSD, and methamphetamine have decreased by more than 50 percent." - CDC.

My CDC source does claim that positive tests for cocaine and meth is down 38 to 50% amoung adults, and drug use among workers is at a 20 year low.

Pro's only explanation for all of my facts stated is "What caused the decrease in demand? Who fvcking knows." He does nothing to counter my facts. He then goes on to claim that education is likely the force at work in Colorado, and that he supports it. I will draw the voter's attention back to a claim I said I'd hold him to; "... in my scheme, I wouldn't educate kids the way Colorado's doing it."



Pro has not proven that Legalization is better than decreasing drug use. The benefits of decreasing drug use are far better.



To win this debate, I must show that the United States should legalize all drugs, while Con must show that the United States should prohibit at least one drug. The issue, however, isn't whether drugs are bad. Rather, the debate turns on a comparision of worlds, one in which all drugs are legal, the other in which not all drugs are legal.

Since this is a normative topic, the burdens of persuasion are equal on both sides.
Con says that I have a greater burden because I'm arguing for change. But that argument is hogwash. First, Con’s assertion that he defends the status quo is laughable. In the status quo, smoking cigarettes is legal. Yet Con advocates prohibiting cigarettes under the logic that smoking has unavoidable secondhand impacts. So Con isn’t defending the status quo. And that means Con doesn’t get any presumption related to the status quo.

Second, even if Con were defending the status quo, that doesn’t mean my burden is greater than Con’s. The status quo isn’t self-justifying. And this is a normative topic, an opinion topic. So placing a greater burden on my side is unfair, because it would create, in effect, an arbitrary bias towards Con’s side at my expense. Burdens of persuasion are therefore equal on both sides.

What is my advocacy?

The case for drug legalization consists of two arguments: (1) drug use is beyond legitimate government control because it is self-regarding; and (2) the benefits of drug legalization outweigh the costs. Each of these arguments is sufficient to affirm the resolution on its own.

(1) Harm Principle

Con dropped the harm principle, which shows that our government should not prohibit self-regarding acts. Luckily for me, and luckily for voters, this concession makes the debate very easy to judge. Nothing Con argued shows that using drugs inherently harms others. The only person who drugs impact directly is the person consuming drugs; any other effects are caused by the circumstances in which drugs are consumed. Even secondhand impacts are avoidable if drugs are used in private, or in designated zones where all parties consent to drug use. So any drug, if used properly, is entirely self-regarding. At the very least, then, the government should legalize all drugs for use in private or designated drug zones, where the drug has no effect on anyone but its user or parties who consent. Vote Pro for that reason alone.

(2) Cost/Benefit Analysis

The benefits of drug legalization outweigh the costs twice over. In short, drug prohibition causes significant harms, including crime, gang violence, terrorism, overbloated prisons, health harms, safety issues, erosion of fundamental liberties, unpredictable harms associated with unpredictable markets, and so on. Legalization solves or minimizes these problems, while boosting the economy, increasing responsible (read: positive) drug usage, increasing high school graduation rates (i.e. increasing productivity), and allowing state experimentation.

Con's responses are nonsense. First, Con says he can't address all the harms of prohibition. Sucks for him. If the harms are relevant to legalization, they need to be taken into account in a cost/benefit analysis. And nothing in Con's rules or DDO puts a limit on the number of harms or benefits I'm allowed to discuss. The only limit on discussion is established by space. And I stayed well within the character limit.

Second, Con says legalization won't stop the cartels. Maybe not. I don't know. But it'll certainly limit their operation, take away their primary source of profit, and make continued existence nearly impossible. Where will cartels turn if drugs aren't profitable? Con offers no answer.

Instead, Con argues that cartels will keep profiting off drugs. That argument is absurd. It's not what Con's sources say. Look at Con's 8, 10, and 11 -- they explicitly admit that they're about marijuana legalization, not drug legalization. And they show that marijuana legalization alone isn't sufficient to stop the cartels, because cartels still reap huge profits from other drugs (e.g. meth, cocaine, etc.). So these sources are completely inapplicable to my plan.

Also: Con's reference to New York's black market in cigarettes is hilarious... I'm lmao because it literally has nothing to do with drug legalization. The problem is that New York has ridiculously high taxes compared with neighboring states, so there's some savvy dudes making a buck moving cigs across state lines. Economists call that arbitrage. I call it entreperneurship. Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with legalization, cartels, or gang violence. It's an easily-fixed implementation problem (e.g. tax drugs uniformly).

Third, crime didn't increase in Colorado after marijuana legalization. It fell dramatically. I looked it up on google. See the following sources, showing a massive drop in crime after legalization:'

And these sources also show that teen drug usage hasn't increased; on the contrary, teen usage has dropped. In fact, even conservative sources noticed the drop in teen usage:

So what are the harms of legalization? None. What are the benefits? Huge.


(1) Increased Drug Use

All of Con's arguments rest on an implicit assumption that legalization will increase drug use. But Con never argued that legalization will increase drug usage. At most, it's Con's assertion, nothing more. And it is 100% speculation, approaching nothing close to a clear probability.

The reality is that most people who will do drugs already do drugs. Most hard drugs have limited market appeal, so legalizing them isn't going to suddenly create a demand for them. For instance, millions of people don't smoke or drink alcohol even though it's legal. And these people aren't suddenly going to start doing hard drugs just because they're legalized. The use of drugs might even decrease in a legalized regime, as forbidden fruit effects are a major factor in creating demand for drugs.

Of course, even if drug use increases, new users will be folks who didn't do drugs when drugs were illegal. In other words, responsible, law-abiding folks, folks who care about their health, and so on. These are the sorts of people who won't abuse drugs, won't become addicts, and won't commit violent crimes. Meanwhile, these new users still receive all the benefits of drug use (intense pleasure, happiness, meaning, fulfillment). So if legalization increases drug use, it means there's likely to be increased benefits, not increased harm.

(2) Secondhand Impacts

Irrelevant -- because you solve it through proper regulation (e.g. in Colorado, you can't smoke marijuana in public). In effect, secondhand impacts are no different than guns or cars or anything else that's dangerous to others. And Con's flimsy distinctions aren't compelling. When you drive a car, there's a risk that you'll crash into someone or something, causing secondary harm. When you shoot a gun, there's a risk you'll hit something or someone, causing secondary harm. In effect, driving a car or shooting a gun is no different than smoking: sometimes you won't hurt anyone else, sometimes you will.

Also: secondhand smoke is irrelevant because Con hasn't shown that legalization increases smoking. It'll probably decrease because legalization means more availability of edibles.

(3) Economics

Let's talk about the facts. Con's 8 doesn't say what Con says it says. And Con's 8 isn't relevant because it contains estimated costs, somewhere back in 2013 or 2014. We're almost at the end of 2015. And the facts are much different than these estimates.

The facts are the following:

In the first 7 months of 2015, Colorado collected $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana, which almost doubled the $42 million collected on alcohol. The projected revenue for 2015 is slated to be $125 million. The source for this information is Colorado's Department of Revenue, cited below, and a detailed budget outline for 2016 from the Office of the Governor, also cited below:

How much is spent on regulating marijuana in Colorado? $33 million. That includes reserves for a potential shortfall, robust regulatory oversight, public health and public safety costs, law enforcement costs, deterrence of youth costs, and so on. In fact, Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division (the administrative agency that regulates marijuana) only costs around $7 million per year. The other $26 million is mostly for law enforcement and youth prevention programs.

The rest of the revenue is going to education. Ironically, Colorado has made so much money on marijuana legalization that they even had to vote on whether to refund taxpayers $66 million, because of a weird law in Colorado requiring excess revenue beyond a certain threshold to go to a vote.

These are the facts. They show indisputably that marijuana legalization has been hugely beneficial to Colorado's economy. No wonder Colorado is the fastest growing state in the country.

Con cites a bunch of other economic harms from drug use -- stuff like healthcare costs, productivity costs, and so on. These costs are related to prohibition, not legalization. And nothing Con argued shows that these costs will increase in a legalized regime. On the contrary, I showed they will go down, as legalization minimizes these harms. For instance, lower drug prices means more money to take care of health prophylactically, to eat well, afford shelter, and so on.

Debate Round No. 3


Premise I: Pro's Case.

Pro holds BOP in this debate. It's not slightly shared, or completely shared. I don't need to prove a drug should be illegal, as it already is illegal. I need only prevent him from proving that drug should be legal. If he doesn't prove every single drug should be legal, he doesn't affirm the Resolution.

Pro's case is riddled with a number of lies that should be held against him. The largest being the Harm Principle. Pro claims I dropped this argument, but I spent all of Argument I addressing it, and expanded on it with Argument III. A quote from Round 2, Argument I: "From Pro's own framework (how the rule of law is only to prevent our rights from being infringe upon) smoking does more to infringe..."

Argument I: Secondhand Smoke.

Pro has seemingly dropped all of my impact. Number of children to die early? Dropped. Number of lung cancer cases? Dropped. Pro continues to push his Gun/Car analogy, despite how I have refuted it. The analogy is soundly refuted because my refutation was dropped. Saying "(Con's) distinctions aren't compelling." isn't an argument, and therefore my case goes unaddressed.

Pro does attempt to repeat his case, and nothing more. Let me, in turn, repeat my premise... If you and another person are driving down the road, there is a nearly nonexistent chance of colliding. Such a chance only exists if the driver, not his car, messes up. If a car is malfunctioning in a way that make's it possible to hit the other driver, that car would be illegal to drive. Therefore proving my case. When in a building with a lit joint (even if in a different room, as smoke travels), you have a nearly 100% chance of being effected.

Pro has dropped the case about Consent. Pro's only real case seems to be restricting use. However, Legalization, as defined in this debate, is "To make legal for production, distribution, and use of a product." To restrict use enough to counter secondhand smoke, Pro must make it illegal to use within cities and towns. Only used in isolated locations away from civilization, and not while pregnant or with children. This is not legalization. And the legality of producing the drugs freely makes enforcing such rules impossible. Allowing use among less than a percent of the population at best is still Prohibition. Smoking marijuana is legal if you're an indian, this doen't make smoking marijuana legal, as an example.

Argument II: Economic Impact.

Pro's best argument is that my source is wrong, as it's based on presumptions. My source isn't based on presumption, it's based of the planned budget.

Importantly, his source doesn't claim Colorado is only spending $33 million on Drug Legalization. It's REQUESTING $33 million in addition to it's budget. It's also requesting another $30 million from the TABOR tax, which Pro fails to mention. In total, they are requesting $63 million in new revenue, pushing total expenditures to almost $195 million. This is $70 million over the total revenue Pro listed.

Pro attempts to claim that the $180-$300 million in loss economy and the $170 million in medical costs (equaling $155-193 bn in lost taxes and increased government costs) is only the result of prohibition, and not legalization. Neither are true. Those costs are the inherent cost of drug use in general. The economic loss, for example, is due to death, loss of production due to sickness, and such. These aren't prohibition issues, these are intrinsic drug issues.

Pro never proves legalization will lower drug-related harms. He claimed they would, but never sourced it, or explained how. I, however, showed that drug-related issues and crimes (like DUIs) increased under legalization. Pro claimed crime fell, but I'll address that later. Cigarettes are legal, and the harms from them are ever growing.

Argument III: Economic Freedom.

Pro has entirely dropped this argument. It, alone, warrants a loss for Pro. Such an infringement on the right of every smoker, and every non-smoker who is effected by their product, violates his Harm Principle.

Rebuttal I: Benefits of Drugs.

Pro has dropped his own case. Labeled by Pro as "The Awesomeness of Drugs."

Rebuttal II: Harms of Prohibition.

A) Cost / Benefits

Pro starts by claiming that the benefits of legalization outweigh the harms of prohibition, but I'd like to address that I made a case against each of Pro's 'harms,' and Pro dropped them. In R1, Pro made each claim with only one being sourced. He didn't prove any of them, or even explain them. I addressed almost each one. Pro's response was to lie to the voters, saying I dropped them. By not addressing my refutations, it was he who dropped the argument. I explained in R3 about how I did refute his claims. His comparison of costs to benefits doesn't stand, because he has failed to even address my refutations of those benefits.

Pro, like all debaters, take on a number of responsibilities when accepting a debate. One of the most primal of these is that Shotgunning, known as Gish Galloping, is against the rules of a debate. Pro's attempt to flood R1 with as many arguments as possible in one section of the round (12 seperate claims, only making up a part of just one argument) should be taken note of. It is a debaters job to make sure they avoid this method of debating. Despite Pro's Gish Gallop, I did manage to address all but one claim by grouping the claims to their inherent cause. My ability to address each claim as I did does not nullify the poor conduct of Pro's shotgun argumentation.

I also want to address that, if they were true, Pro's assertions fail to prove the costs of prohibition outweigh benefits because he fails to quantify them. Only his prison argument was quantifiable (as it was the basic for the cost of enforcement and prison), but my refutation stands of the Prison Case, as Pro dropped the whole prison case this round.

A) Crime

Pro's ONLY refutation against my Cartel argument is: A) "Con says legalization won't stop the cartels. Maybe not. I don't know." and B) And to claim it'll limit their profits and stop them, stating I "offered no answer" to how they'd be stopped.

To start, the first case is a sign of uncertainty, not an argument. The second case is another of Con's blatant lies. I did offer an answer... I explained (with sourcing) that drugs are NOT the Cartels main source of income, and that they actually profit off legalization by using it.

Pro then attempts to prove his point by claiming my sources don't say what I claimed they do. Pro repeatedly relies on the assumption that because voters aren't likely to review the sources, he can lie about them. Source 10 starts by discussing Marijuana, then moves into the discussion of how legalization of any drug won't work because Drugs as a whole make up only half of the Cartel's business...

"Some experts on organized crime... ...say that cartels earn just half their income from drugs."

Source 8 claims the cartel's have capitalized on Marijuana Legalization, with Source 11 expanding on this by saying that Cartels will capitalize on any drug legalization, and continue to exist. Pro's ONLY counter to my claims is to ignore them; Saying "Con offers no answer" instead of actually acknowledging, and refuting, my answers. He has utterly dropped my claims, as lies do not count as refutations.

Another claim by Pro is that the Cigarette Black Market is irrelevant, as it's caused by high taxes. It's not important what causes it, as it exists despite being fully legal. Colorado's taxes on Marijuana are almost as high of New York's cigarette tax (as NY's tax is almost 33% the cost of a cigarette pack, compared to an increasing 27% marijuana tax in Colorado (just 6% off.))

I didn't argue that teen use increased. I argued that drug-related issues among teens increased. Pro tries to show that Legalization decreased usage, but his OWN source shows that teen usage has been decreasing for nearly a decade, and that marijuana is still prohibited for teenagers... Therefore, prohibition is the only variable listed that is constant among teens.

The last of Pro's claim relies on a number of sources claiming that crime decreased. The irony is that Pro's Drug Policy and MSNBC source are ONLY for Denver. My source showed the whole state, granting a much better view of the truth. His last source is about the decrease in crimes of possession and selling marijuana.


Pro has dropped a number of cases:
- Argument III: Economic Freedoms.
- Rebuttal I: Benefits of Drugs.
- The Prison Case.
- His argument against my CDC source.
- My Economic Cost/Loses Stats.
- My Secondhand Smoke Stats.

Most of Pro's claims and arguments throughout the debate were made on uncertainty; "I don't know..." "Who the f*ck knows..." and the such. Few claims are sourced, and the ones that are sourced, are defeated by their own sources. Pro's conduct throughout the debate has been less than acceptable. It's to his benefit that conduct points may not be handed out. Many other cases by Pro is based on telling the voters I dropped arguments, despite my ability to show I didn't. All of these issues should be noted.

By dropping my Argument III case, Pro has conceded that drug legalization will allow companies to infringe on the most basic rights of the consumer and anyone effected by usage. By dropping my Secondhand Smoke statistics, he has conceded to those stats.

By dropping the Prison Case, he has conceded that the costs of enforcement would not decrease, therefore conceding half of his economic saving/revenues. By dropping my Economic Cost/Loses statistics, he has conceded to $300-450 billion in costs and lost economy, and potentally a trillion in lost investment growth, and potentally $80 billion in lost revenue, against only $40 billion in increased economy.

Therefore, the impact of drugs are worse than the benefits of legalization (12x the benefit.) And legalization infringes on the right of all users and those impacted by secondhand effects.

Thus efforts to end drug use are preferable to legalizing drug use.


Don't need this round.

Thanks for the debate, DK.
Debate Round No. 4
86 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FourTrouble 8 months ago
Lol dude, I will forever think of this debate as a debate with bad voting, lol.
Posted by donald.keller 8 months ago
Still the most liked/viewed Census Debate so far. Shocked Whiteflame v TUF wasn't bigger...

We did great, FT lol. Really made a scene.
Posted by donald.keller 10 months ago
Of all of the arguments Pro made in his first round, I only dropped one. So saying "many of Pro's" arguments isn't really true.

And so long as even one drug is smoked, falling into the inherent secondhand effects, there is no flaw, as the debate is about all drugs, smoked drug included.

Thanks for your thoughts. I always enjoy reading comments on how me or my opponent did.
Posted by Benshapiro 10 months ago
Interesting debate.

- BoP to legalize *all* drugs rested on pro.

- I bought the argument that personal autonomy is violated by secondhand smoking and it's better to have the right to say "no" rather than the freedom to have access to all drugs. Pro argued that regulations could limit usage of second hand smoke but I bought con's argument that it isn't feasible to enforce a ban on second hand smoking on a mass scale nor would it prevent people from smoking around their children, teens, people incapable of giving consent, etc.

- At first it looked like Pro was winning economic impacts with around $88 billion in new tax revenues by legalizing drugs. Con argued that regulatory costs alone would almost negate all of the revenues brought in by taxation then proceeded to source additional economic losses in the form of premature death/lost productivity. There was a lot of back and forth about the inaccuracy of the sources used but ultimately pro dropped the argument by failing to respond to Con's last round by reasserted what he said in the previous round. I was left with the statistic that drug legalization would cost about 12x the cost received in tax revenues if implicit costs are taken into account.

- Many of pro's first round arguments were dropped. Con responded by saying they were a shotgun/gish gallop type arguments. His arguments were relevant to the resolution so I have to count it against Con, although the dropped arguments didn't have much impact.

- The gun/car analogy used in comparison to drugs was flawed. While smoke does has inherent second hand effects, not all drugs are smoked - some are injected or swallowed. Pro touched very briefly on this by saying that more drugs would probably be consumed rather than smoked if legalized.

- Pro dropped his last round.

I gotta go to bed now
Posted by spacetime 10 months ago
Lol no, that isn't sufficient. You vastly misunderstood the Harm Principle ... and so did the single voter who even bothered taking it into consideration.
Posted by donald.keller 10 months ago
Several voters, like Balacafa, took harm into account and decided I did plenty to prove there was a harm to others.
Posted by FourTrouble 10 months ago
Nah, their votes are pretty idiotic.
Posted by spacetime 10 months ago
Did any of the voters even take the Harm Principle into consideration?
Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
I know I promised DK I'd vote on this debate, but it seems that I'll have scant little time to do so. It wouldn't affect the outcome anyway. Sorry, guys!
Posted by tejretics 11 months ago
I don't think I'll have the time to vote...
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Balacafa 11 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Please ignore my allocation of the sources points. That is incorrect but the google document is not allowing me to delete it.
Vote Placed by Jonbonbon 11 months ago
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Vote Placed by 16kadams 11 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Ima post it in the comments
Vote Placed by Mikal 11 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Vote to pro. See comments. Null vote as requested