The Instigator
Dr.Thomas
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
mleitch
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Cannabis Legalization in the United States (Medical and Recreational Uses)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/11/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 250 times Debate No: 91119
Debate Rounds (3)
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Dr.Thomas

Pro

In my opinion, cannabis or marijuana should be legalized in the United States. I believe that it would have many useful medical, as well as recreational purposes. If the proper laws are instituted, cannabis legalization would prove very useful in the United States.
mleitch

Con

Thank you for initiating this debate I am looking forward to participating in it.

First of all I will talk about some of the dangerous effects of marijuana. Marijuana has several short term negative effects which include- panic attacks, anxiety, depression, sleepiness, restlessness, lowered reaction time and increased heartbeat by almost 50%- sharply increasing the risk of a heart attack However what makes the effects of smoking marijuana even more severe is the length of time that the drug stays in the body. In one smoking of marijuana- the drug stays in the body for around to 14 days and in smokers who smoke marijuana more often and more intensely, the drug can stay in the body for up to 3 months. This means that one smoking of marijuana stays in the body 56 times longer than 3 pints of beer, which is usually removed from the body within a maximum of 6 hours.
There are also several long term effects of marijuana which include-Respiratory issues such as- Reduced resistance to bronchitis, rapid destruction to lung tissues and fibres, potentially causing lung cancer. Marijuana also affects the immune system, causing abnormally low or high activity and in some cases the body begins to fight off its own "good" cells. It also causes abnormal growth in teen users, brain disorders and abnormal cellular structures, sometimes even the complete destruction of cellular matter. Marijuana negatively affects the urological system, it reduces male sex hormones, and can cause erectile dysfunction. Marijuana is also shown to cause testicular cancer in some cases. The most overwhelming negative effects of marijuana lie in the brain, it can cause permanent brain lesions, learning difficulties, depression, and other long term psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Here we can see a long list of violent, destructive long term effects of marijuana.

By legalizing marijuana, you are making it more easily accessible to many more people, thus meaning more people will be subject to the destructive effects of marijuana. Legalization of marijuana could lead to many more injuries, illnesses and potentially deaths.

May we make round 2 exclusive to medical marijuana so we can cover both medical and recreational arguments?
Debate Round No. 1
Dr.Thomas

Pro

I was wondering when I would get a response. I find this topic very important and enjoy debating it. As per your request, I will focus on medical as well as recreational purposes this round. To begin with, marijuana used medically has proven very useful for a medication. Your fact that marijuana has some negative side effects is true; smoking anything in general can harmful for your lungs. However, the panic attacks, paranoia, etc., are effected by the environment and you mood when smoking. To go along with that, what strain of marijuana smoked does matter. Certain strains will make you more tired and sluggish or active and energetic. A main use for medical marijuana is that it reduces pain. Medical marijuana advocates in other states have said that when diagnosed, they have tried pills or other "big pharma" recommendations. When these do not work, many turned to alcohol. Once medical marijuana was allowed, they reported that they had finally found a medication that worked and had less side effects along with the fact that they worked better for them. As for the recreational reasons, the U.S. has an incredibly high incarceration rate; the highest in the world. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 8.2 million marijuana related arrests, 88% of those were for simply possessing marijuana. If marijuana was decriminalized and legalized recreationally, the arrest rate would in turn drop. Another use of recreational marijuana would be that it would reduce the number of deaths from other, much more harmful drugs. In states with recreational use, especially with Colorado, deaths related to Opium, which can be made into pills or drugs such has heroine, have decreased dramatically. If we were to instate proper laws, like those in states with medical and recreation use, (age requirements, laws against smoking in public, issuing proper medical use licenses) along with creating proper laws making driving while under the influence illegal, medical and recreational uses will prove useful and helpful, as well as fun.

If it is alright with you, may we discuss the economic effects of legalization next?
mleitch

Con

Thank you for your arguments in round 2 of the debate.

I would like to begin with some rebuttal. Firstly you stated "Another use of recreational marijuana would be that it would reduce the number of deaths from other, much more harmful drugs". Marijuana is in fact proven to be a feeder drug for much more serious, harmful drugs. This is proven by a major study, conducted in 2011 which found that smoking cannabis daily 'sets users up for a lifetime of multiple drug use' and that 'Heavy users are more likely to resort to crime to fund their addiction.' By legalising marijuana you increase the availability of the drug, thus increasing the likelihood that people would go on to do much more serious drugs such as heroine and cocaine.

Medical marijuana I agree may be useful, however marijuana is comprised of over 400 known chemicals, many of these are cancer-enduring. Marijuana contains 6 chemicals which some organisations have claimed are medicinally useful. These chemicals are-Cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabavarin (THCV), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), delta-8-THC, cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabitriol (CBT). Surely the best way to use marijuana in a positive, effective way would be to extract these chemicals and create them in a tablet or liquid form. By doing this, the risk of nasty side effects is dramatically reduced and the whole 400 chemicals don't have to be smoked. I feel that instead of legalising medical marijuana, we should instead extract the 'medicinally useful" chemicals and prescribe them to patients as an individual prescription.

If marijuana was to be legalised, it would unfortunately increase the amount of minors smoking it. As in the Netherlands, schools didn't ban use until early this year and even now there is a big issue with the number of minors taking the drug. This is leading to many students failing exams and dropping out. These facts are backed up by a 2015 Dutch study in which they stated 'For low performers, there was a larger effect on grades. By not taking marijuana they had a 7.6% better chance of passing their course'.

Marijuana legalisation leads to increased ER visits. According to a publication by the NEJM- In Colorado, there was a 57% increase in marijuana related ER visits from 2011( when marijuana was illegal) to 2013 (after legislation passed legalising marijuana). In Colorado between 2012 (illegal) and 2014 (legal) there was a 44% increase in marijuana-related ER visits of Colorado residents. This evidence shows that legalisation of marijuana leads to increase ER visits, thus costing the health industry more.

My last pointbrings me nicely into the next round of debate, in which I am happy to dedicate to 'the economic effects of legalisation'.
Debate Round No. 2
Dr.Thomas

Pro

Dr.Thomas forfeited this round.
mleitch

Con

mleitch forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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