Alcohol and cannabis
Debate Rounds (4)
C1: Marijuana is a gateway drug
A recent study by researchers at Yale confirmed that marijuana is a gateway drug to harder substances.  There are two possible mechanisms for this result. First, people who smoke marijuana become habituated to the idea that drugs are not harmful and that they are in control of their drug habit. Marijuana, as a safe drug, lulls them into a false sense of security and control. When they start doing highly addictive prescription pain killers and heroin, they realize that marijuana misled them to believe that they were in control of their drug habit. Marijuana is also a yes ladder - i.e. due to the principle of commitment and consistency, if you say "yes" to someone for a lesser request, you become more likely to say "yes" to them again for a more serious request. For example, in the book Influence by Robert Cialdini, he discusses the use of this as a sales tactic. A man comes up to a woman in the street and says he needs to take a picture with a beautiful woman for a scanvenger hunt he is doing with his friends. She says yes. After the picture, he says, "I'm sorry, I was lying. I'm here selling magazine subscriptions, will you buy one?" The fact that the woman said yes to the first request makes it more likely she will say yes to the second. In the same way, when kids are hanging out and one says to the other, "do you want to smoke some weed?" and the first child says yes, if the same friend later pressures the child to try shrooms or coke, they second child has become more likely to comply with the second request to do additional drugs. So the first mechanism works through habituation to drugs, a false sense of control, yes-ladders, and peer pressure.
The second mechanism is peer group. People who smoke weed start getting to know drug dealers (who supply them). The drug dealers they meet often have access to more than one type of illicit drug. Thus, marijuana usage introduces children to a source where they can obtain harder drugs. If they never smoked marijuana and suddenly decided they wanted to try acid, they would likely not know anyone who could supply them.
Conclusion: marijuana is a gateway drug.
C2: Brain damage
Studies have found that teens that smoke marijuana are more likely to develop permanent brain damage and are more likely to develop schizophrenia.  The liver regrows itself every 5 years (and replaces all of its cells with new ones), but certain types of brain damage are irreversible (such as triggering a mental illness).
Conclusion: marijuana is worse because it causes irreversible brain damage.
C3: Marijuana uses permanently decreases motivation
Studies have confirmed that marijuana use permanently decreases the brain's motivational faculties by decreasing its capacity to increase its dopamine levels.  The stereotype of the lazy, unmotivated pothead is true. Lower motivation is bad for society because it decreases everyone's productivity, and guys who are too lazy to leave their parents basements will never be able to procreate. So our species will die while the next generation of potheads just sits at home, smokes weed, and browses Reddit.
C4: The muchies will make everyone fatter
This country already has a serious obesity crisis. Studies have found that weed triggers the munchies first because the cannabinoid receptors trick the brain into thinking its hungry and because marijuana enhances the sense of smell.  So if more people smoked marijuana, we would have an even fatter society.
C5: Pot is addictive
Studies have found that pot is psychologically addictive.  When occasional users were not allowed to get high "when they wanted to," 1 in 12 experienced physical withdrawal symptoms.  The rate of withdrawal is even higher among heavy users, although none were willing to quit smoking weed for the experiment. In addition, I have personally observed friends who quit smoking for finals week becoming extremely irritable. Experts have confirmed that quitting weed can lead to aggression, anxiety, and depression. 
C6: lower sperm count
Smoking weed kills your best swimmers.  Decreased male sperm count and libido due to weed smoking leads to fewer children, which is bad for society. The US fertility rate has already fallen below replacement levels (of 2.1 births per female), so we are going to have a serious problem when the Baby Boomers retire and there are not enough working-age people to support them.
C7: Marijuana causes cancer
6000 of the same chemicals are found in marijuana smoke and cigarette smoke.  Combustion is what causes most of the carcinogens in cigarette smoke, and the same combustion process is usually used to smoke weed.  The only difference between the two smokes is that one contains THC and the other nicotine.  But otherwise, they are the same.  Thus, one half of long-term marijuana smokers are expected to die of some type of cancer of the mouth or lungs.  There is even reason to believe that marijuana users are more at risk because they take bigger hits (bong rips), deeper into their lungs, and hold the smoke in longer than cigarette users, who sometimes only mouth hit their cigarettes.
For all these reasons, marijuana is way worse than alcohol.
C8: Alcohol is good cuz it will get you laid
Alcohol lowers inhibitions. It makes it easier to talk to girls. It makes it more likely they will like you. It makes it easier to have intimate and difficult conversations with friends ("I love you man, I can't believe you're moving away in 5 days.") Alcohol is a social drug. People with more friends are happier.  Weed is an anti-social drug: people sit around, smoke, and watch a move and listen to music. They are usually too zonked out to talk. Thus, alcohol is a lot more fun and better for long-term happiness.
So I will first go through your argument piece by piece and then tell you my view in my words.
C1. Gateway drug.
Textbook argument, textbook response. Illegality causes exposure to drugs because other illegal drugs are kept by dealers sometimes. Also the fact that people try this illegal drug and find it fun, makes them wonder what else the government are hiding from them. If the government didn't ban hardly anything then when they did ban something you might take more heed. Its the illegality that causes any 'gateway' effect.
You say "people who smoke marijuana become habituated to the idea that drugs are not harmful and that they are in control of their drug habit. Marijuana, as a safe drug, lulls them into a false sense of security and control" Indeed. Its part of growing up, you do something that scares you and you become desensitized. I don't understand how alcohol doesn't do this? or why you couldn't draw other absurd correlations such as watching sexual music video's lead to porn which lead to rape. It sounds logical but in reality its just not the way things are. Any recreational drug desensitizes people to the idea of taking drugs, cannabis is no different from alcohol in this situation.
The very fact that it is illegal makes it lead to harder drugs. I have lived in Amsterdam and let me tell you, weed smokers stay in the coffeshops and are removed from the other drugs. In the UK or USA all illegal drugs go hand in hand because of the illegality.
Marijuana is not a gateway drug, this view is too simple and has no basis in reality. It is an ancient textbook argument that has been destroyed so many times I weary of doing it yet again.
C2 Brain damage
No proof. Never any proof. Anyone trained to look at research with a scientific mind can see that these studies you have sourced are weak and prove nothing whatsoever. I beg the readers to look at the source. Mice are not humans, also caged mice are not even necessarily mice, so this study is jumping to conclusions. Comparing them to something like a human, its old school and not credible by recent standards.
schizophrenia is caused by our experiences, ask any psychologist that specializes in genes and behavioural biology. Cannabis does not cause schizophrenia, FACT. Data may show a correlation but this is expected when you look at the circumstantial differences and demographics of those who may turn to cannabis. Meaning that a high proportion of cannabis smokers may suffer from schizophrenia than the general population, but this is because the more poor people are more likely to get schizophrenia and also the more likely to try cannabis.
3. cannabis use permanently decreases motivation.
I cannot load the article for some reason but I must challenge this point. The reason people think marijuana decreases motivation is because our stereotypes are based on what we see. And what we see in this society is pot smoking in unmotivated teens and adults. People become unmotivated for lots of reasons, indeed it is no surprise that people are unmotivated in this society. For this society is not natural to man. But anyway, the kind of people drawn to doing this sort of thing are the kind of people who don't move in the mainstream crowd. But this is only because it is illegal and devious, it has NOTHING to do with the drug itself. So what I mean is people draw correlations that aren't necessarily real, assuming marijuana caused the laziness and ignoring the cultural/social/psychological factors is an example of this.
Another point that must be made is that marijuana can in fact encourage laziness, but I will explain how. When you smoke marijuana you relax and find fulfilment and joy in most things. You can fully appreciate the comfort of your chair and yet be fully endorsed in any program you may be watching. It makes you appreciate things more, and so you can just sit around and watch T.V or play video-games without getting as bored as you would without it. So weed encourages one to relax and enjoy the simple things, there is no need for roller-coasters, cinema's, nightclubs, snowboarding etc. And so, in a world where many people don't have the money for these things and life for most lower income children is quite dull, cannabis helps them appreciate the simple things and not worry about the bigger, materialistic things. This can cause them to be unmotivated, for they find no purpose in life, cannabis helps one see the world from a different perspective and can make you realize your reality. (that being a creature in an alien world, who is lacking in many natural necessities that our hunter/gatherer ancestors used to have, e.g. Sense of brotherhood, sense of identity and reliance, appreciate being alive and always on the go) Though stoners do not go into this detail, weed cannot make you realize that, it only makes you feel empty, like your job and your life is 'pointless'. This can cause disengagement.
Also, because weed smokers are marginalized, they struggle to get the help they need or mix with the sort of successful people that could help them and encourage them. The world and society is far more complex than you are making out.
Also my old head chef was from a culture where weed smoking was normal, I am not lying when I say he was the most motivated man in that place. He had a strickt system for cleaning, he was a perfectionist, and he had amazing memory. But most importantly, he was motivated. He was working days he was supposed to be off, up all night righting and re-righting menu's. He was a born leader and an inspirational guy. He smoked weed everyday from the age of about 13 and he still smokes lots everyday now (age36). So for me, this is proof that there is nothing in weed that actively decreases motivation, memory or passion. For he was not born immune, its just a culture thing.
No, silly really. I don't know how much you know about American fast foods and food marketing, but I suggest you read up on it. You will see that an aftereffect of feeling a bit hungry after being high is just not significant at all, like turning up at a hurricane disaster with a dustpan and brush.
Pot, addictive qualities? None. Well known fact. Also what is now well known, amongst the psychological societies, is that addiction itself is in the person not the substance. Yes, substances can have side effects when taken for along time and stopped (marijuana not being one) but still it is in the person. For example we all go shopping, go to gym, go to work, eat, drink, smoke, have sex etc. But we don't all get addicted, so its not just the activity, its the person susceptibility to addiction, and the environmental circumstances. Indeed anyone would get anxious, depressed and even aggressive if they had their pleasure choice taken away. My mother gets stressed if she hasn't walked the dogs after work, when at first it was a pain for her. We are creatures of habit, and so to say people get anxious when they are told they carnt smoke weed, if they have let it become their crutch, does not prove it to be anymore addictive that any other comforter that people may use. Indeed the scientific evidence shows it as a substance to be less addictive than tea, meaning those physiological effects you describe are more severe in tea drinkers. Should we outlaw tea?
Smoking cannabis can give you cancer, less likely than tobacco, but any inhalation of burnt plant matter into the lungs has this effect. If eaten, vaporised or drunk in tea, it will not cause cancer. So cannabis does not cause cancer, smoking it does. Like smoking anything.
8.Alcohol will get you laid
Yep, almost all unwanted pregnancies, regrettable one night stands and rapes, occur when drunk. Wooow! Alcohol turns one into a ID driven animal. It can make the nicest person horrible, it can make the quietest person shame themselves, it can make angry people do stuff they regret terribly. 80% of crimes are committed by drunk people, that says it all. I mean, everybody kicking up a fuss about laziness, munchies and un-proven brain effects when ALCOHOL CAUSES 80% OF CRIMES. I don't know if I need to say anymore, I mean your a smart guy does the severity of this need elaborating?
Cannabis is responsible for the Beatles, Black Sabbath, The Who, Led Zepplin and so much more music and art, alcohol has achieved nothing. Can you name me anything good that alcohol was associated with, apart from like the majority of horror in this society, I mean the Muslims have band alcohol completely and we tried to not long ago, its an awful drug, awful. I accept that many can use it responsibly, like cannabis, but I still think its effects are the least desirable I could want for my society.
Alcohol is dangerous and can destroy lives in a single night, It does, frequently. Cannabis may have long term effects (it doesn't as far as we know) and people can use it too much, like anything. But cannabis smokers relax, socialize and talk, which one is better for the society and the individual?
I apologize for the lack of sources, I was in a rush to finish so I had little time and most of this is logical and hypothetical, and I have tried to use logic. Also as a smoker, a lot of what I write comes from personal experience and the experience of others close to me.
My opponent asks me: "I assume you have no experience smoking it? I must implore you to answer this because if you don't know what its like then I ask how you wish to carry out this debate?" Sorry, narc. I'm in law school. I'm not admitting to a crime.
Extend C1: gateway drug
My opponent agrees with my argument that it's a gateway drug due to illegality exposure (getting to know drug dealers). He says, "Illegality causes exposure to drugs because other illegal drugs are kept by dealers sometimes." The reason I made this argument is because the resolution is present tense. My opponent has to prove that today, alcohol is more harmful than reefer. This topic was not about legalization.
My opponent also concedes my arguments that it's a gateway drug due to yes ladders and peer groups. He merely says that alcohol should have the same effect. However, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are not viewed as "drugs" in the same way that cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens are. I would have a hard time, based on chemical composition, explaining why there is a societal distinction but there is. It may have to do with *past illegality.* but even legalizing today would not declassify marijuana as a "drug" - at least not for a generation.
In addition, my opponent has no specific response to the Yale study which found that marijuana use made the use of prescription painkillers more likely. Given that painkillers are "legal" in a sense, this disproves my opponent's argument that once drugs become legal, they do not lead to more intense thrill-seeking by trying harder drugs.
Extend C2: brain damage
My opponent says this claim comes only from studies in mice. However, MRI studies of humans have found that long-term marijuana use causes brain damage in the thalamus.  Normal people's brains who smoke weed long term begin to look like those of schizophrenics in terms of thalamus damage.  People with schizophrenia who smoke weed have *even more* damaged tahalmi.  This is proof that weed causes schizophrenia to trigger or makes it worse. My opponent merely asserts that there is a co-correlation with poverty, without providing any data to back up his claim. Even if there were such data, the MRI evidence is conclusive.
Extend C3: effect on long-term motivation
I cited studies that long-term Mary Jane use permanently depresses dopamine levels, which affects motivation. My opponent claims that laziness among pot smokers is just a stereotype. To the extent that people think if you smoke weed once or twice you'll become a burnout, this is just a stereotype. But the dopamine studies prove that it's not a stereotype for long-term use.
My opponent's single data point (his head chef) does not disprove studies on multiple individuals. For all we know, my opponent's head chef would be the next Gordon Ramsey if he didn't smoke weed. It's possible that he had abnormally high levels of dopamine to start with, so the effects of marijuana only slowed him down a little. It also matters how often he smoked (weekends versus twice a day).
Extend C4: munchies and obese people
I provided studies that marijuana triggers hunger in people. The US is fat enough. We don't need to make it worse with ganja smoking.
Extend C5: Addictive
You don't want to get between a pothead and his weed when it's been awhile. He will EAT YOU. Potheads are dangerous when they're jonesing. I provided studies that weed is both psychologically and physically addictive. In that regard, it is dangerous because it's not easy to quite and people will go through withdrawals. When burnout potheads (who have low long term motivation) finally get jobs, they were be *extremely* irritable because they cannot smoke pot during the workday. This is bad for everyone who has to interact with them. Every time you get bad customer service, it's a jonesing pothead on the end of the line.
Extend C6: lower sperm count
Dropped by my opponent. Dropped means its a concession and my opponent can't argue it later. Pot will kill all the sperm in society and no one will be able to have children. There will be no young workers to pay for Medicare and Social Security and the US will implode.
Extend C7: cancer
My opponent concedes my studies that weed smoking is as bad as cigarettes. That means 1/2 of long-term sticky icky smokers will die of cancer. Pretty harmful.
My opponent claims that people can just eat it instead. But few people exclusively eat their weed since it takes more time to prepare. And long-term users need a lot of weed to get high, so baking it into things makes the entire food product taste like weed. It also makes it hard to share food with non-smokers. There are a lot of practical reasons that nearly every weed smoker blazes the majority of their stash.
Extend C8: alcohol gets you laid
Unrefuted. My opponent makes factual claims here with no sources, so as far as I know he's just making those numbers up.
My opponent drops that alcohol is a social lubricant whereas weed makes you anti-social, which makes you less happy.
In addition, a comprehensive national study found that marijuana is implicated in 1/9 of all fatal car crashes.  Prior to the study, some of these fatal crashes would have been falsely attributed to alcohol (even though the person was well below the legal limit) because the person was in fact cross-faded out of their mind on weed, but only drank a tiny amount of alcohol.
Weed is dangerous. The fact that people don't realize it's ability to impair their judgment and abilities makes it even *more* dangerous than alcohol because people don't realize how badly it will affect them.
C9: New argument, weed is bad cuz it funds Mexican drug cartels
A study found that legalization in Washington and Colorado cost Mexican drug cartels $3 billion in drug revenue.  Extrapolating that to the states where it's still illegal, that means that weed is responsible for hundreds of billions in Mexican cartel revenue. That money has enabled Mexican cartels to kill 60,000 people in Mexico's drug wars. 
As I have said above, all your arguments in this section, are irrelevant if cannabis was not stigmatised. The only one that isn't, is your claim that trill seekers will use cannabis and then want something more. Yes there will always be thrill seekers, but I'm sure if cannabis wasn't there they wouldn't just not try anything else, its absurd. Cannabis is not exactly a trill seekers choice of drug either, its ludercrus. Anyone with any actual knowledge on this matter, that has not only read books and looked at government funded, frankly weak scientific research done by people who are just as inexperienced as themselves, will tell you that cnnabis is simply not a gateway drug. Indeed anyone with half a mind for psychology and society will tell you that there is not such thing as a 'gateway drug' and that it is so much more complicated than that. It's a textbook argument that has been better understood for along time now.
You say: "my opponent has no specific response to the Yale study which found that marijuana use made the use of prescription painkillers more likely." Again you must look deeper into the research, this is a correlation, not a causation. Even any science student, will know the difference. I hope I don't have to waste characters explaining this concept, I will just hope the audience understand it.
I am a psychology graduate and I have done ample research into genes and brain chemisty, let me tell you that there is no such thing as conclusive evidence in that department. You clearly have a very limited understanding of biology and brain chemisty. Also you don't seem to look at research in a scientifically critical way, you cannot ignore the fact that it is impossible to study someone who has smoked weed heavily their whole life without studying someone who would choose to smoke weed their whole life heavily. So you can never say that weed caused the problem because the individual clearly was out of the ordinary to begin with. Again, correlation not causation. For example you say it 'causes' schizophrenia, based on demographics that show a higher number of people who smoke cannabis get schizophrenia than in the general population. Roughly 1% of population suffer from schizophrenia, but 1 third of homeless people suffer from schizophrenia. So, does being homeless cause schizophrenia? Or does a schizophrenic personality increase the likelihood of becoming homeless, for I believe the latter. And this is the same for cannabis, the correlation does not prove causation.
Also, cannabis use as a habit can alter your outlook on life, it alters what you do whilst under the influence. It can encourage you to seclude (this is because of its stigmatisation in my opinion, as it is not seen in other cultures) which is number1 cause of depression and thus skitzophenia and other irregular ways of thinking. If you smoke it all the time and keep a job and have people around you that accept you for it you will not be effected at all. I have no scientific research to quote, for no studies have been done, but I have seen it my whole life. So NO, cannabis alone does not cause mental health problems, those are caused by the environment.
Long term on motivation
My chef proves that even extreme cannabis use, can still inhibit an incredibly motivated and 'switched on' personality. Suggesting that the cannabis itself isn't a massive factor in motivational levels. For even if he would of been the next Ramsey, he could not put much more work in than he did already. I have explained how cannabis can make you not want to work and exxesive use obviously relaxes you a lot, so it does make you relaxed but does not make you lazy in general. It depends how often you have it, when you have it, you may be more physically lazy, simple.
Munchies-weak point, like turning up to a hurricane disaster with a dustpan and brush
Addictive? Yes but addiction is in the person and alcohol is far more addictive as a substance (2)
Sperm count. Well a weak point again, I have children, my friends have children, we are overpopulated anyway as a stupid point. I don't know if my opponent is serious about this point. Yes it is not optimum for sperm, but neither is alcohol.
Cancer. Cannabis has caused 0 deaths across all cultures across the whole history of mankind, alcohol causes 80,000 a year (just in America). My opponent was brave in bringing up the health issue. I don't think I need say more.
Alcahol gets you laid. We didn't use to use alcohol, people use alcohol if they are shy, it doesn't help them to be open and confident, when not taking the drug. Also the statistics where given to me by a policeman, I have researched them and here they are (3) "37% of rapes and sexual assaults. This is not a joke.
You say: "My opponent drops that alcohol is a social lubricant whereas weed makes you anti-social, which makes you less happy." No, society makes you seclude, not weed.
Cartels, not relevant because this is because its illegal.
So, I am not saying weed is all good, indeed I almost forgot that the argument is about whether it is better than alcohol. From the indiv. point of view and the society in which it is used.
So to conclude weed: 1. It is not in itself a gateway drug, it is only because of its classification as a 'illegal drug' that makes it seem that way.
2. No evidence is conclusive about brain damage, only correlations that are easily explained. So it may slightly influence somebody's chance of mental illness, but because we don't understand mental illness properly, or genes, or the societal factors, we cannot say that weed causes these things with any credibility.
3.Motivation, again a weak point, not any proven evidence. Many contradiction and exceptions, maybe slightly true/maybe not, not that much of a big deal even it is true.
4. Addictive? well no, as addictive as anything that pleasurable and easy would be addictive, and as addictive as anything else used to the same extent as a force of habit. Itself not addictive.
5.Illness. None. Only if smoked, like any plant matter, even tea. So no, itself its not detrimental to health in any way. Indeed its regenerative and medicinal.
Addictive? 15% of Americans are problem drinkers. (4). When you compare that to the 67% that drink (5), that makes for just less than a quarter of the people that drink are alcoholics. "Researchers from the University of California in San Diego have found that the lifetime risk of alcohol-use disorders for men is greater than 20%." (4) So alcohol is very addictive. Indeed, unlike cannabis, you will get physical withdrawal symptoms for trying to quit.
Physical damage to the individual, long term? "Alcoholics are 10 times more likely to develop infections, cancer and problems with platelets and blood clotting." (4) Cannabis 0 health effects.
Effect on the individuals life. I smoke more cannabis than anybody, all day, every day, for 6 years. I have been a chef, doing 12+ hour days for 9 month before I have come to university. Now I am getting firsts and holding down another chef job, still high 24/7. So I ask the reader, could this be done if I was a comparable alcoholic (all day, heavy)? could I achieve what I am doing? Obviously the answer is no, so cannabis makes it far easier to function than alcohol. So if your a cannabis addict, your life will be nowhere near as difficult as if you where a alcohol addict.
Active effects. Cannabis, chill, sleep, philosophise. Alcohol, loud, aggressive, impulsive, un empathetic, dangerous.
These stats will hopefully settle the argument that alcohol is far worse for society from the perspective of its active effects.
"15% of robberies
"27% of aggravated assaults, and
"25% of simple assaults
40% of violent crimes. (6) All as a result of alcohol consumption. Compare this to the vague correlations my opponent makes regarding sperm count, munchies and the gateway effect. This evidence cannot be overlooked.
So alcohol is far worse for your health, far worse for your immediate danger, far worse for society around you, and far worse for your life in general. Alcohol actually causes crime, for its active effects are that of a criminal. (impulsiveness, care-free, excitability, aggression) I would be much more relaxed knowing my kid was high rather than out drinking. Also you say drink makes you sociable, well that's not what I get at 4 in the morning walking past my window, they are anything but sociable. Smokers however just chill, play Xbox and have conversations about deeper things, alcohol can make you stupid and silly. An army of stoned people would beat an army of drunk people ! that might be my next debate.
So basically I argue that alcohol is far worse than cannabis overall for society and the individual. It causes people to be aggressive and criminal, it is addictive and very bad for your health and it is potentially destructive to your life in many ways. Cannabis abuse, like any drug abuse, is not beneficial, but its far less destructive than alcohol. It is worlds apart.
The resolution is "alcohol is far worse for the individual and society than cannabis." My opponent says that the resolution is not limited to this society, which means theoretically, I can argue the negative effects of marijuana in any country in the world. The fact that marijuana is legal in the Netherlands does not somehow negate the negative effects from marijuana"s illegality in the United States. Therefore, the drug"s effect on society includes the effects both from the drug itself and from its illegality (in those jurisdictions where it is illegal). My opponent can try to argue that the positive effects in the Netherlands outweigh the negative effects from illegality in the United States. But he cannot deprive me of that argument entirely, based on the resolution.
My interpretation of the resolution is more predictable because it argues the present tense. No one knows what the United States will look like in the future or what unintended consequences might stem from legalization in this country, so it is unfair to make me argue a future that does not exist.
My opponent"s only response is that "correlation is not causation." However, correlation plus a plausible explanation of a *does* equal causation. I explained multiple mechanisms for causation: peer pressure and yes-ladders ("want a hit of this weed? // okay now, want a hit of Ecstacy?"), the false inference that doing other drugs will be similar to doing marijuana (in terms of addictiveness and self-control), and the illegality problem [that marijuana introduces people to drug dealers]. My opponent only attempts to negate the third explanation " by saying he does not have to defend illegality. But he does (see above) and he drops the first two causal mechanisms.
Since marijuana is the gateway for most people into hard drugs, it is responsible for the collateral consequences. Illicit drug use costs the American economy $193 billion a year.  In addition, drugs cause 38,000 deaths each year due to overdose. 
My opponent claims that my brain damage studies are just correlation, not causation. However, the MRI study I cited last Round does not rely on correlation. The MRI study showed severe damage to the thalamus in regular marijuana smokers and damage in schizophrenic marijuana smokers. This study is proof that marijuana causes brain damage.
The impact of this brain damage is two-fold. First, it has a negative effect on normal Americans as both workers and students. The damage to the thalamus combines with the long-term damage below to contribute to marijuana smokers because unproductive workers and poor students. The impact of this is quantified below in C3.
Second, by triggering schizophrenia, marijuana is very damaging. Schizophrenia costs the US economy $ 63 billion per year. 
My opponent cannot dismiss my dopamine study by saying that he "knows one guy" who smokes weed and is highly motivated. My opponent cannot answer the fact that this individual may simply have started with abnormally high dopamine levels. In addition, even if marijuana only reduces long-term motivation in 90% of the population (because a rare few people are unaffected), this is still a serious effect.
There is other evidence to corroborate the effect on motivation. A student who smokes marijuana is four times more likely to be a straight D-student than a straight A-student.  Low-grades contribute to the achievement gap in the United States, which costs us $2.3 trillion per year in lost productivity (because " among other things - we produce too few engineers). 
In addition, drugs like marijuana decrease people"s productivity and increase absenteeism. Drug-related absenteeism causes $120 billion in lost productivity each year in the United States. 
Extend this argument. My opponent dismisses it out of turn, but obesity is a serious problem in the United States. I will attempt to quantify how much money the U.S. could save if everyone quit smoking weed.
One study (Foltin 1998) found that "[s]moked active marijuana significantly increased total daily caloric intake by 40%."  In addition, the study found that "[i]ncreases in body weight during periods of active marijuana smoking were greater than predicted by caloric intake alone." 
12% of Americans smoke marijuana regularly.  Thus, 12% of Americans would reduce their calorie consumption by 40% if they stopped smoking weed.
Obesity costs the United States $160 billion per year in obesity-related health care costs  and $73 billion in lost productivity per year.  A 12% reduction in obesity would therefore save the United States $ 28 billion per year. Over ten years, the United States would add $280 billion to its economy if people simply stopped smoking weed.
My opponent concedes addictiveness. 1 in 12 light marijuana users were physically addicted, and heavy smokers were so physically and psychologically addicted that it was impossible to study the effects on them of cessation of smoking because they were unwilling to quit. Combining lighter and heavier users, It is therefore likely that at least 20 percent of marijuana users are addicted (if not more). My opponent says that about 20% of alcohol users are addicted, so at best this argument is a wash [which I am fine with].
My opponent claims this is weak because we have an overpopulation problem. However, this isn"t true. In fact, as people become wealthier, they decide to have fewer children, and many rich nations are facing a "demographic time bomb" because their birth rates are in free fall. It takes 2.1 births per female for a population to stay steady (meaning that the birth rate matches the death rate). Most European countries are at a 1.4.  The United States is around a 2.0, but only because we allow so much immigration. The reason a low birth rate is bad is because the basic premise of Social Security is that younger workers will support older workers. If the ratio of young workers to old workers declines too low, the retirement system collapses.
In addition, low sperm counts have another social cost. The need for assisted reproductive technologies costs the United States around $20 billion a year. 
My opponent makes a blind assertion that marijuana has caused 0 deaths and alcohol 80,000. Give these numbers no weight.
I provided a study which says that the carcinogens in cigarettes come from smoke itself, not the nicotine, and marijuana smoke is chemically identical to cigarette smoke other than the nicotine (sharing 6000 chemicals). If you think about it, you know this to be true. Food barbequed on a charcoal grill is also very high in carcinogens. It is the process of burning that causes cancer. Otherwise, electronic cigarettes (which are only water vapor and nicotine) would not hold any health benefits above cigarettes). Given that the smoke is chemically identical, marijuana will cause the same amount of cancer as cigarettes. 50% of smokers will get cancer, according to my previously cited (and dropped) source. If 12% of Americans smoke marijuana regularly, that means marijuana will be responsible for killing 6% of Americans, which is 19 million people.
Sources even indicate that marijuana smoke is worse because the carcinogenic compounds are found in most concentrated doses. "Marijuana smoke contains 50 percent to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke." 
I"ll admit this is a weak point, since my opponent is right that weed smokers are social in their own way. As my opponent points out, weed smokers have fun sitting around playing video games and watching TV. However, alcohol is more socially acceptable to do in public, which has a key impact:
Alcohol is essential to many business deals, according to a Silicon Valley strategy consultant.  If alcohol played a role in just 50% of foreign business deals, that means it is responsible for bringing $62 billion a year in foreign capital to the United States. 
My opponent claims he doesn"t need to argue this because illegality is not encompassed by the resolution, but I show above why it is. Both countries where it is illegal and countries where it is illegal are encompassed by the resolution, according to my opponent"s own words. Thus, my opponent drops 60,000 lives lost in Mexico"s drug wars due to marijuana. That"s a pretty big impact.
== Rebuttal to harms of alcohol ==
My opponent says alcohol is implicated in 37% of sexual assaults. However, in most of those cases, the victim was heavily intoxicated and the attacker was not.  There is no reason to believe that attackers would sexually offend any less often if alcohol ceased to exist. Attackers would simply target people who were heavily sedated on drugs instead.
In addition, turn: According to RAINN, marijuana is in fact the "most commonly used chemical in crimes of sexual assault." 
My opponent claims that 40% of violent crime is caused by alcohol. However, this is just co-correlation. "[A]buse of alcohol and a propensity to violence . . . stem from a common cause."  People who are violent simply have a higher tendency to drink because they are more "troubled" individuals with difficult pasts. They would likely engage in violent crime (like robbery) anyway, even if they didn"t drink.
Correlation can be used with marijuana too. Men who smoke marijuana are eight times more likely to beat their wives. 
My opponent also my study that marijuana is implicated in one-ninth of fatal car crashes [4,000 deaths per year]. Since next round is the last round (for summaries only), it"s too late to answer now.
One-fifth of marijuana smokers admit to driving high, which the above evidence proves is extremely dangerous.  At least people are more aware that drunk driving is dangerous.
Lastly, my opponent claims that alcoholics (a small subset of alcohol users) are more prone to infection. However, this is co-correlation. Alcoholics tend to be people that are less health conscious and don"t take care of themselves. This isn"t caused by alcohol. Even if it were, the cancers from marijuana smoking outweigh.
== Sources ==
I will try once more. You take everybody in the country and give them an average score (School grades). Now this is everybody, the good the bad, the poor the rich etc. Now if you just look at everybody who has smoked cannabis, you will get a skewed view of the population, there will be mostly poor people, deviants, lazy people, people prone to addictions etc. And this is because the kind of people who deviate from the norm (typically poor people) are more likely to do something illegal or seek enjoyment in unconventional ways, because they do not have the means (finance) for conventional happiness (holidays, materialism). So when you take their average it will be less. But this does not mean that it had anything to do with it at all.
Also I must add. You cannot set the terms of the debate when I was the instigator. Of course weed has many complications due to its illegality, but if we are short-sighted, we will not overcome problems. Slavery was economically damaging and destructive to abolish, but long-sighted people saw the bigger picture. So I cannot argue with many of your points for they are short-sighted and irrelevant to this discussion. Why would I argue that cannabis is better than alcohol for a society when its criminalized? It doesn't make sense, of course illegality will make it more destructive. And your philosophical point that in reality its legal, as if it couldn't be anything else, is nonsense. I hope you know that it was made illegal to stifle competition in the markets. It was a corperate agenda that had NO OTHER REASON. We made propaganda tapes, I urge you to watch them. Even somebody who is as 'innocent' as yourself in this matter, will find them embarrassing. I cannot believe that with such a history, there are still people that have been completely bought. Think for yourself!
Your point. "My opponent"s only response is that "correlation is not causation." However, correlation plus a plausible explanation of a mechanism for causation *does* equal causation"
Clearly your not a scientist. This is absurd I hope the readers don't need me to elaborate.
YP: "I explained multiple mechanisms for causation: peer pressure and yes-ladders, the false inference that doing other drugs will be similar to doing marijuana, and the illegality problem [that marijuana introduces people to drug dealers].
Illegality problem-irrelevant without illegality.
Yes ladders-same with alcohol if all drugs are legal. Worse with alcohol in fact, as a drunk person is more likely to say yes to a line of speed than a stoned person. Also more likely to be in the same vicinity as people doing them other drugs.
YP: "Since marijuana is the gateway for most people into hard drugs, it is responsible for the collateral consequences. Illicit drug use costs the American economy $193 billion a year.  In addition, drugs cause 38,000 deaths each year due to overdose."
Again, inaccurate and misleading because we dont know how much is resulting from its illegality. Also, alcohol costs 223 billion dollars, which is 30 billion dollars more than weed anyway, even though its legal! Just imagine how much less it would be if weed was also legal! (1)
You say my friend could of had higher dopamine levels anyway, while this may be true, I ask the readers if an alcoholic who was as severe as him could of achieved what he had?
You say: " a student who smokes marijuana if four times more likely to be a d grade student than a straight a student"
Again, criticise your research. I ask the readers if this statement sounds more likely-the type of students who get d grades are 4 times more likely to smoke weed than the type of students that get STRAIGHT A's ! It's obvious is it not?
You say: absenteeism cost's are 120 billion. sounds a lot! Probably because its concerning all drugs including alcohol. I urge the readers to check up the sources, for some are misleading. I apologise if I am mistaken. (I am aware that you used the word 'drug', but in the context it was misleading) .
My opponent does some maths, using the death caused by smoking and the amount of people that smoke cannabis, and their relationship with his knowledge of cannabis smoke. Don't be mislead, cannabis is harmless when taken in any way but smoking, FACT, also it is cancer fighting (4). (Bare in mind, this is when it taken thought the same biological mechanism as you take alcohol) Also (5) alcohol is proven to cause 5 types of cancer, and does very often, as well as 60 medical conditions, which result in aproximatly 100,000 deaths a year (5). In comparison, cannabis causes... Well look at the headlines a few days ago '2 men have actually died, scientists believe, from cannabis alone!' Its news! It's news that somebody might of died from cannabis alone! Do I need to say any more about health?
You say: Alcohol is more sociably acceptable to do in public, and that's a key factor.
I agree, that's my point. Cannabis is not bad for the individual of society by being un-sociable, the society has made it so. So you cannot legitimately argue that it is unsociable, based solely on this argument.
Rebuttals to alcohol.
You say that the victim was effected by alcohol more than the attacker. Firstly, is this still not a negative consequence of alcohol, to have half conscious girls walking about? But secondly, this was not the case, the attackers where drunk. It makes sense, if there was ever a mindset that would make someone more likely to do such an impulsive thing, its drunkenness. The stats show it-50%! Of sex attacks
Cannabis most common chemical in sexual assault. Totally false as the figures show. Question the sources readers I urge you.
You say, "8 times more likely to beat wives if smoke weed". Correlations! Up to 85% of domestic abuse is alcohol fuelled! (13)
YP: It causes schizophrenia. Don't forget what I keep telling you! In the general population, 1 out of 100 in the general population get schizophrenia. If you take just the cannabis smokers out of the population (like I said, the poorest, more deviant, addiction prone people) then 4.5 out of 100 get schizophrenia (2). Does this sound conclusive that cannabis has even anything to do with schizophrenia? I am sorry but you cannot argue with that, whatever MRI scans show. Do you know how they work? do you know what the Amygdala is and what its function is? Do you know how is plays its role in the limbic system? Or how neurons work? You must look at the definitive evidence, cannabis does not cause schizophrenia.
Summary, lets just put things in perspective here.
Deaths per year, as result of accidents: (5) (6): Cannabis 23 alcohol 8748
Death due to drug alone, and thus a representation of how physically damaging the drug is to the individual(7) (6): Cannabis 6 Alcohol 100,000
Driving (alcohol level is at the LEGAL level)(8)(9): Cannabis, twice as likely. Alcohol: 13 times as likely
Brain damage ect. Cannabis (schizophrenia) 4/100, Alcohol: hard to find statistics, much research done however, look at chart (9) alcohol is far worse for brain than cannabis.
Hospital admissions (uk) per year(5): cannabis (could not find any) Alcohol: 1.2 million.
Crime(5) : Cannabis (no crime, as a result of being high is found) alcohol: 47% of All violent crimes
Cost of crime because of alcohol, EVEN THOUGH ITS LEGAL ! 11 billion a year! (5)
Sexual assault (11): Cannabis (not even considered a factor) Alcohol 3 million sexual assaults a year
Risk of overdose, measured by fatality levels (10): Cannabis 1000, alcohol 10 . (To give people some perspective, heroin is 5)
Addictivness(11): Cannabis 8, Alcohol 23
So abuse of any drug is bad. But alcohol is far worse for the individual and society, than cannabis, in as many ways as I can think these abstarct cocepts could be measured in.
So alcohol as a substance, causes so much more death than cannabis it can hardly be compared. As a recreational drug to use, it kills an incomparable number of people to cannabis. It's far worse for driving, crime and violence, indeed again, I would say the figures are incomparable. And despite these figures, cannabis is illegal, imagine how much they would be reduced if it was legal-which the argument was actually concerning. So I don't know if i need to say much more, my opponent has been very articulate and concise, he has argued better in many ways and I would hand the grammar award to him. But these figures cannot be disputed and I have truth on my side, even if I didnt have the linguistics or argumentative skill.
Its been a pleasure arguing with you, thank you.
This debate is about which drug think is worse. In fact, I happen to agree with Pro in real life. This debate is about whether Pro has based on arguments and evidence in this debate that alcohol is worse than cannabis, as is his burden. I ask for your votes because I did a better job quantifying the impacts of my arguments and because I made more and better sourced arguments.
I am going to add up all the impacts I cited last round, so you can see comparatively who has proven more harm. Even if I win only a fraction of my impacts, they still outweigh because they are so much greater than Pro"s.
C1 - loss of $193 billion/yr + 38,000 deaths/yr
C2 and C3 - loss of $2.3 trillion/yr + $120 billion/yr + $63 billion/yr
C4 - loss of $28 billion/yr
C6 - loss of $20 billion/yr
C7 - 19 million deaths (lifetime)
C8 - $62 billion/yr
C9 - 30,000 deaths (lifetime)
rebuttal - 4,000 deaths/yr
Total = $2.8 trillion/yr + 42,000 deaths/yr + 19.3 million deaths (lifetime)
Over an average human lifetime (assume: 70 years), marijuana causes $196 trillion in economic losses and 22.3 million deaths. In addition, C6 also has a large qualitative impact - the collapse of the solvency of Social Security and Medicare. Thus, the impacts on the Con side are enormous. If I win any risk that such big impacts will occur, then I win.
Let"s compare Pro"s impacts. Pro says that alcohol causes 40% of violent crime. However, murder accounts for only 1% of violent crime, whereas assault accounts for 62% and robbery comprises 29% percent.  While robbery and assault are bad crimes, they do not result in death. It would be hard to weigh robbery (loss of a small amount of property) against a marijuana death from lung cancer. Therefore, only murders (in which the offender was drunk) are relevant for comparison. Alcohol - at most - contributes to 14,000 murders per year.  This number is easily outweighed by marijuana deaths from cancer, fatal car crashes, and drug overdoses caused by marijuana being a gateway drug.
== Rebuttal ==
I will try to go in the same order Pro goes in during his Round.
Pro goes on a long rant about how I still fail to grasp correlation and causation. However, I . I showed studies that people who smoke marijuana have lower dopamine levels (which affects motivation) and have a messed up thalamus (in MRI scans). Both these effects on the brain explain why people who smoke marijuana tend to be much worse students. So I do prove causation. Pro never responds to the dopamine or MRI study.
Pro claims I cannot change the topic because I"m not instigator. But he never responds to my resolutional analysis which says that he and I can argue any *current* society and the harm that marijuana has on it. It makes no sense to argue future or theoretical societies because these do not exist so there is no evidence to cite about them. My definition is more predictable and thus more fair because it was the topic I thought I was accepting. Prefer my definition for predictability, fairness, and ground to debate (because there is only evidence about the world as it actually exists today).
My opponent says that he only wanted to debate about whether marijuana was harmful, not whether its illegality had a negative effect on society. If this was the case, my opponent should have made the topic "marijuana is harmful to the individual." By adding "and to society," my opponent allows arguments about the collateral and broader effects from marijuana.
Regardless, only my gateway drugs and Mexican cartels arguments rely on illegality, and these are only a small contribution to the impacts I cited in my overview.
My opponent tries to respond to this now by saying that alcohol is just as likely to be a gateway drug because of yes-ladders. However, I have provided a study that proves correlation. My opponent provides a potential causal mechanism without proving that alcohol actually correlates with increased drug usage. In addition, marijuana is more of a gateway because of the other effects. Marijuana smokers are more likely to have other drugs available on-hand than people who drink alcohol [due to peer group effects from illegality]. If someone is out at a bar drinking, he is not one step away from doing LSD because it is unlikely that there is much LSD out at a bar. Anecdotally, when I hung out with friends who smoked marijuana, I was exposed to a lot more use of other illegal substances than when I hung out with friends that drink. A lot of people draw a clear line at drinking. There is something different about marijuana and yes-ladders because people consider smoking marijuana to also be "doing drugs." Couple that effect with the peer group of marijuana smokers being more likely to have other illegal drugs and you have marijuana being a worse gateway.
In addition, my opponent doesn"t answer the argument that marijuana leads people to the false inference that they can control their drug habit [when they fail to realize that their control over marijuana does not transfer to other drugs]. My opponent never answer this last mechanism.
First, disregard this. No new arguments in the last round. Last round is for summary of argument. This is completely new.
Second, Pro"s source aggregates all the costs of alcohol (health care costs, drunk driving, productivity). My total estimate for marijuana"s cost per year is $2.8 trillion lost per year from marijuana. My number is bigger and outweighs Pro"s.
Pro doesn"t really say anything new here. He still hopes that his one friend refutes my dopamine study.
Pro says that my $120 billion number includes alcohol. This is false. It includes illegal drugs, which marijuana is responsible for as a gateway drug.
My opponent basically just keeps asserting that marijuana smoke is magical and doesn"t cause cancer, which is basically just weed smoker rationalization. Very few long-term marijuana users ingest 100% of their weed. Edibles are usually a rare treat, but most marijuana users smoke their marijuana (using bongs, pipes, and joints). Smoking weed results in 50-70% more carcinogens than cigarette smoke. This means that the 50% estimate I gave before is probably rather low (since it is an estimate based on cigarettes). It is more likely that marijuana will cause cancer in 75% of long-term smokers because it is a lot more carcinogenic. But regardless, Pro fails to refute this.
Pro tries to bring up that 100,000 die per year from alcohol. Too bad his source (#5) doesn"t say that. The only mention of death is: That is far short of Pro"s claim.
Even if Pro could establish 100,000 deaths, the 22.3 million deaths from marijuana I prove above outweigh.
Pro"s argument here is somewhat incoherent and doesn"t answer my new argument that alcohol contributes to the economy by facilitating business deals.
Sexual assault: I don"t really know which numbers my opponent was referencing. I cited a source which said that when alcohol is deemed "responsible" for a sexual assault, it is more likely because the victim was heavily intoxicated than the attacker. This seems to make sense. Blacked out guys are generally too incoherent to be trying to rape anyone and would likely have "whiskey-d!ck." Blacked out girls make easy targets because they have no idea what"s going on. The fact that my opponent claims that alcohol somehow armed robbery proves that it"s silly to label alcohol the cause of everything with which it correlates. Bad people rape. Bad people steal. Alcohol"s effects are just a correlation and can be easily replaced by other drugs. RAINN proves that marijuana is actually the #1 drug of choice in inducing sexual assaults. It makes the victim feel silly and docile.
Domestic abuse: my opponent cited source 13. I check the source. "Source not found." My opponent has some sketchy statistics. Alcohol causes 40% of violent crime but 80% of domestic abuse? Those statistics don"t add up, unless alcohol causes very few murders and other types of violent crime.
My opponent just questions my knowledge about the brain. Studies show that damage to the thalamus causes schizophrenia. 
Gish galloping is a fallacious style of debating where you attempt to drown your opponent in statistics and half-truths without offering any real analysis. It should not be accepted. My opponent just cites a bunch of brand new statistics in a list, without explaining them or doing anything with them. I"m not going to go line-by-line through his sources to refute them if he"s not going to even bother doing the work himself to really make these arguments important in the debate. He copies and pastes off some website and I have to do all the work? Just ignore his long wall of text with a bunch of random numbers.
Let"s looked at all the dropped arguments and the total impacts. In the last round, Pro doesn"t really respond at all to (1) my arguments about marijuana"s negative effects on the brain and therefore its negative impact on people as students and workers, (2) my arguments proving that marijuana use worsens obesity, (3) my arguments that marijuana use will collapse Social Security [due to fewer children] and costs a lot money due to much lower sperm counts among users, (4) my argument that marijuana smoke causes a lot of cancers, (5) my argument that alcohol facilitates business deals, (6) my argument that marijuana funds cartels, which use the money to kill people, (7) my argument that marijuana is implicated in a large number of fatal car crashes.
The result of all these dropped arguments is that I win a strong link to all my impacts, which amount to 22.3 million deaths and $196 trillion in economic losses due to marijuana over the next 70 years. Regardless of the time scale you use, the impacts I have offered outweigh Pro"s. Because this debate is about who made better arguments, not which drug is subjectively better, vote Con.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Mikal 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
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