The Instigator
WilliamsP
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points
The Contender
Ryan_J_Pratt
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Decriminalization of All Drug Usage

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
WilliamsP
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 566 times Debate No: 90130
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

WilliamsP

Pro

One of the most heated and consequential endeavours of our time is the War on Drugs, which I am in full opposition against. In this debate, I will argue in favour of the decriminalization of all drug usage, even though I still would institute certain punishments for the actual production and distribution of some particular drugs, like krokodil for example, but the private usage must not be punished. my opponent will argue in favour of the War on Drugs in general.

Sources will be cited in the MLA format, and forfeiture will result in the loss of conduct points. I look forward to a long, substantive debate.
Ryan_J_Pratt

Con

I strongly support efforts to crack down on illegal drug usage. This includes criminal punishment for drug users. I look forward to hearing your point of view, and hope to enjoy a healthy debate.
Debate Round No. 1
WilliamsP

Pro

INTRODUCTION

Let me begin by thanking Ryan_J_Pratt for accepting this debate. I will organize my arguments in three points: a) origin and cause of the War on Drugs, b) actual effects of the War on Drugs, and c) a coherent case for the legalization of most drugs.


ARGUMENTS


Point One: Origin and Cause

The War on Drugs started out as a maneuver on political enemies of the Nixon administration, and interestingly, relatively recently, John Ehrlichman, former policy chief, actually admitted to its inherently sexist and bigoted origin.


“The Nixon campaign in 1968,” Mr. Ehrlichman told Harper’s Magazine’s Dan Baum in April, “and the White House after that had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” [1]. Because you cannot deliberately and openly target these people using the powers and resources of the federal government, a cause attacking the very lifestyle of these people under a seemingly harmless and self-explanatory label—a war on drugs, a term coined by President Nixon himself while in office—had to be devised. “"You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities," Ehrlichman said. "We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."


In simple terms, the antiwar left were hippies, and African-Americans—well, they were just political enemies of an apparently racist administration. Conventional wisdom was that these people used drugs at a higher rate than war-supporting Caucasians.



Point Two: Effects of the War on Drugs

The War on Drugs, simply put, is costly and wasteful. To enforce this war, the United States government pays fifty-one billion dollars annually [2]. About 758,000 individuals are arrested in a given year for a marijuana law violation. And, let’s keep it real here, most of us will unanimously agree that marijuana is one of the safest drugs and that it is hypocritical to criminalize it when tobacco and alcohol, which kill thousands more people, are still legal. Even though this is common sense to me, it might not be too common after all. Therefore, please look at these two sources:
1. https://www.ucsf.edu...

2. http://www.nbcnews.com...


70,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war since ‘06, and about 200,000 students have lost financial aid eligibility due to a drug conviction. And 87% of marijuana law violations were primarily for the mere possession of the drug.



Point Three: Case for Legalizing All Drugs

The projected tax revenue of drug legalization would be $46.7 billion annually [2]. And ten years ago, Portugal legalized all drugs [3]. What happened? Tony O’Neill wrote in 2011, “For those looking for clues about how the U.S. government can tackle its domestic drug problem, the figures are enticing. Following decriminalization, Portugal eventually found itself with the lowest rates of marijuana usage in people over 15 in the EU: about 10%. Compare this to the 40% of people over 12 who regularly smoke pot in the U.S., a country with some of the most punitive drugs laws in the developed world. Drug use of all kinds has declined in Portugal: Lifetime use among seventh to ninth graders fell from 14.01% to 10.6%. Lifetime heroin use among 16-18 year olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8%. And what about those horrific HIV infection rates that prompted the move in the first place? HIV infection rates among drug users fell by an incredible 17%, while drug related deaths were reduced by more than half. ‘There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,’ said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, at a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.”


Law Enforcement Against Prohibition writes, “History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.”


For certain drugs, though, I would advocate for the prohibition of their production and distribution but not their use. People tend to start using drugs either because a) they were peer pressured into it or b) they just wanted to experiment. You cannot treat drug usage as a criminal issue but rather a health issue. You cannot blame someone for a lifetime of drug use simply because of a stupid mistake.



CONCLUSION


I believe I have made a coherent case for the legalization of all drugs in the United States. I look forward to my opponent’s arguments, though, and await the chance to refute them. Might I also add, this is a curious article:http://www.theatlantic.com... put, the solution to gang wars and cartel violence: Legalize drugs so that illegal markets disappear over time.



SOURCES

[1] http://www.cnn.com...

[2] http://www.statisticbrain.com...

[3] http://www.alternet.org...

[4] http://www.leap.cc...

Ryan_J_Pratt

Con

Introduction:

I will begin by rebutting Pro's argument, specifically dedicating a paragraph to each point that he made. I will then argue my side of the story.

Rebuttals:

Point 1:

Pro makes clear that the origins of the War on Drugs had a discriminatory history. I will in no way attempt to deny this. I will, however, point out that a massive amount of landmark government programs have been discriminatory in nature. I will specifically elaborate on the electoral college, our country's method of electing the head of the executive branch. The founding fathers created a so-called democracy in which only 6% of its citizens could vote. Those citizens were white, land-owning men ("Expansion of Rights"). Many argue that people are still being denied the right to vote today. The electoral college is not the focal point of this debate, but my point in sharing it as an exampe was to demonstrate that much of America was based upon discriminatory policies. Such policies are viewed with merit though, and it is unfair to judge a law by its history.

Point 2:

In his second point, Pro made a very biased argument. The debate is discussing the War on Drugs which includes drugs besides marijuana. While marijuana likely should be legalized due to its low danger levels in comparison to alcohol and cigarettes, there are other drugs that remain very dangerous. Such drugs include the likes of heroin and cocaine, both of which are comparable to alcohol and nicotine ("Addictive Properties"). Pro seems to not understand the very real dangers of otherwise limited drugs being unleashed to a very wide audience.

Point 3:

Pro seems to have forgotten what the debate was about. The debate is entitled Decriminalization of All Drug Usage and yet Pro entitles his third point, "Case for Legalizing All Drugs". The difference is that decriminalization of drug usage would mean that criminal charges would not be pressed against users of drugs, whereas legalization of drugs would mean that the production, distribution, and usage of drugs would be acceptable before a court of law. I will allow Pro the next round to better define his argument and I will refrain from rebutting the other evidence until then.

My Argument:

My argument is that the War on Drugs needs to step back, regroup, and refocus. The American government is totally capable of winning the War on Drugs. The United States were able to stem cigarette use significantly through political strategy. See this: http://www.cdc.gov... a brief overview. A war has never been won by giving up and trying to reverse the ideals the war was started on. That is my argument. I hope it proves to be crystal clear.

Works Cited:

"Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Tobacco Use -- United States, 1900-1999." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <http://www.cdc.gov...;


"Addictive Properties of Popular Drugs." Welcome to Drug War Facts. Common Sense for Drug Policy, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <http://www.drugwarfacts.org...;

"Expansion of Rights and Liberties ~ The Right of Suffrage." The Charters of Freedom: "A New World Is at Hand" The National Archives, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <https://www.archives.gov...;
Debate Round No. 2
WilliamsP

Pro

INTRODUCTION

Forgive me, but I should have been clearer, and usually in my debates, I set up a format for each round. My opponent, Ryan_J_Pratt, has went ahead with his rebuttals, and because I did not specify in which round we would do that, it is just alright. Let me also note that I forgot to cite my sources in the MLA format. As I have already broken that, I see no harm in continuing it, as it will make this easier.



REBUTTALS


On the first point… My opponent makes a fair point as to the discriminatory and bigoted history of many laws and social institutions. But this particular federal program, this War on Drugs, is a more recent example, and it was created as a direct response to anti-Vietnam demonstrations and the Civil Rights Movement for African-Americans and other disenfranchised minorities. The Electoral College is ancient and has existed since the beginning of this country. (I happen to be opposed to it, but that is a whole other matter.) But it is clear and evident and true that, yes, the War on Drugs has been devastating and has hurt more people than helped and that in recent history, as well as right at this moment, there is a massive social injustice against minorities both on the streets and in our justice system. I do not believe my opponent’s rebuttal to be sufficient here.


On to the second point… Ryan says that “I [seem] to not understand the very real dangers of otherwise limited drugs being unleashed to a very wide audience.” Oh yes, I very much do understand the dangers of these drugs. However, it is the cartels operating underground and in the black market that are unleashing heinous, violent, dangerous, hostile, virulent drugs and narcotics in our cities and our streets. My proposition? Decriminalize, tax, regulate. This three-step approach can be taken towards most items.


On to the third point… Forgive me for using the wrong terminology. In that section, what I meant to say and should have said is “decriminalize.” It is black market distributors and cartels that I want to go after, but they will disappear on their own without an incentive, being the decriminalization of all drug usage. Decriminalize. Then let us impose a sales tax. And let us regulate. There are thousands of chemicals in cigarettes, for example, which are perfectly legal. Okay, we must regulate them more. But not make them illegal. Methamphetamines and heroin and similar drugs have devastating effects; therefore, the best solution is to decriminalize, tax, regulate.


My opponent’s argument is that the drug war “needs to step back, regroup, and refocus. The American government is totally capable of winning the War on Drugs.” Alright. How is it that we have not even barely won so far? What was the goal, wipe out all drug usage? Just look how that went. If we want these countless thefts to stop, and if we want the cartels to disappear, the solution is simple: Decriminalize all drugs.



CONCLUSION

I believe I have refuted my opponent’s points sufficiently. What reason is there to continue this futile, futile War? There is none.
Ryan_J_Pratt

Con

Ryan_J_Pratt forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
WilliamsP

Pro

My opponent has forfeited the last round, not giving me anything more to refute. I extend all arguments.
Ryan_J_Pratt

Con

Ryan_J_Pratt forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
WilliamsP

Pro

My opponent has forfeited again and has left me nothing additional to refute. I have to extend all arguments at this point and simply close by saying that I believe I have provided sufficient evidence against the War on Drugs and in favour of decriminalizing all drugs.
Ryan_J_Pratt

Con

Ryan_J_Pratt forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by jamccartney 9 months ago
jamccartney
"I will ... use the next round ... to better define my own argument." *Forfeits* lol
Posted by WilliamsP 10 months ago
WilliamsP
No, it is alright. I should have noted that.
Posted by Ryan_J_Pratt 10 months ago
Ryan_J_Pratt
In my defense, that was not stated in the opening. I will, however, not use the next round for rebuttals but instead better define my own argument. I'm sorry once again.
Posted by WilliamsP 10 months ago
WilliamsP
Ryan, you were not supposed to refute my arguments in that round.
Posted by Ryan_J_Pratt 10 months ago
Ryan_J_Pratt
Almost immediately upon submitting my round, I realize that my argument is severely lacking, I apologize sincerely, but it has been a very long day. I hope you'll understand my situation.
Posted by WilliamsP 10 months ago
WilliamsP
Oops, I forgot to cite my sources in the MLA format. I accept a penalty whenever the voting starts.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Conspiracyrisk 9 months ago
Conspiracyrisk
WilliamsPRyan_J_PrattTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by jamccartney 9 months ago
jamccartney
WilliamsPRyan_J_PrattTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Up until the point Ryan_J_Pratt forfeited, I would have said conduct points were tied, but his forfeiture has caused me to give WilliamsP conduct points. Both had good S&P, so points there are tied. Even though Con forfeited, I will tie the convincing arguments points because the arguments he did make were just as effective and convincing as Pro's. As for sources, both used them, and I say they are tied. Pro's sources included CNN and Alternet (some of the most sniveling and retarded sources mankind has ever managed to dig up from the visceras of Hell), while Con used government sources, the very institution that banned drugs in the first place and that benefits from giving one-sided facts. Had Con not forfeited, this would have been a good debate.
Vote Placed by ChristopherCaldwell 9 months ago
ChristopherCaldwell
WilliamsPRyan_J_PrattTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro neglected his own rule of the MLA source format, while Con forfeited two rounds. Due to this, I shall say conduct is tied. I noticed no mistakes in spelling or grammar, but Pro did call racism sexism in the second round. I believe Pro had more convincing arguments and found Con's rebuttals lackluster.