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

Drug Decriminalization

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/21/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 714 times Debate No: 68681
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




I would like to thank lannan13 for accepting this debate.

Decriminalization is the abolition of criminal penalties in relation to certain acts, though perhaps regulated permits or fines might still apply [A]. In this debate I will be arguing for the decriminalization of all drugs. Upon accepting this debate I will begin my arguments in Round 2.



I accept this debate.

Good Luck.
Debate Round No. 1


To be clear, decriminalization is not to be confused with drug legalization. The major difference between the two involves penalties: mainly rehabilitation vs. punishment. Legalization allows for the legal use and sale of drugs, whereas decriminalization does not [A]. I am advocating for decriminalization. That means I don't think all drugs should be allowed without restriction, but I do think the punishment for drug users needs to be changed. Instead of criminal records, I would encourage rehabilitation opportunities and/or mandates in lieu of jail time.

People have been doing drugs since ancient civilizations for a variety of reasons, ranging form spiritual enlightenment to sad instances of depression and abuse. History shows that prohibition laws do not serve as absolutely effective deterrents against drugs. Therefore we have to operate from the assumption that people will still continue to do drugs even with strict laws against them.

From that point, how do we best protect society? One option is to keep drugs criminal which has damaging effects. The black market is a breeding ground for drug cartels. Gangs recruit vulnerable members, mostly poor people with little to no opportunities or support. These dealers not only use drugs themselves, but often get hurt in gang violence. They wind up dead or in jail.

The prison industrial complex is highly related to the criminalization of drugs [B]. People get sent to jail for dealing or even just using drugs. This puts them at a disadvantage. It disrupts their school, work and home environment. It ruins relationships and one's personal record. People who go to jail for drugs become felons. It is much harder for them to find jobs [C]. In many cases they lose their voting rights, and increase the likelihood of their kids going to prison also [D].

Keeping people locked up for doing drugs is a great expense to the tax payers [E]. On the flip side what does society gain from keeping drugs criminalized? Laws do not stop people from doing drugs; they only make it harder when people get caught with them. Once inside jail people become hardened. They get further involved with gangs and more likely to repeat offenses [F]. Under the status quo, even kids go to jail for minor drug infractions. Studies show that teenagers who go to jail do worse off comparatively than their peers, meaning they are not "scared straight" but just disadvantaged from the experience [G]. If criminalization does no service to the individual or society as a whole, then what is the point of this moral and tax burden?

The U.S. has the highest prison rate in the world, mostly in part to the criminalization of drugs [H]. But not all drug users are violent and in fact most aren't, which makes you wonder why we are locking so many people up for drugs. In fact studies show that most violence related to drug activity is in direct correlation to the illegal drug trade rather than the drug use itself [I].

Just because you CAN hurt someone while under the influence of drugs doesn't mean that you WILL, the same way just because someone owns a gun and can use it irresponsibly doesn't mean that they will. Criminalization of drugs punishes people preemptively on the assumption that they will become aggressive even if they do not. On the other hand decriminalization discourages use by issuing penalties, but not ones that can significantly damage people's lives and does not cost the tax payers more than it's worth.

For-profit prison institutions are instigating a new type of slavery of sorts [J], particularly against people of color who are targeted for drug use at disproportionate rates even though white people use drugs just as much [K]. No other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens as the U.S. status quo. This benefits people who profit from these prisons including prison labor. 97% of 125,000 federal inmates have been locked up for non-violent crimes. The government treats its citizens like animals for non-violent offenses instead of promoting their well being.

Other countries that have decriminalized drugs, such as Portugal, provide examples and case studies of this policy's effects. Portugal's strategies for instance have reduced drug consumption, dependance, infection and promoted safety [L]. Thus we see that decriminalization is effective at improving the lives of individuals instead of ruining them as criminalization does.



I appologize for posting as late as I am as I have been busy with homework and other things. I'll post my Contentions this round (no rebuttles) and my rebuttles will come next round. I also ask my opponent to hold off on arguing until Sunday.

Contention 1: Economy

The DEA has connected the link between Marijuana and terrorist activities. Legalization will only increase it as the demand will go up while the Cartels will use violence to keep the supply down. Here is a quote from the DEA regarding this issue, "The bombers swapped hashish and ecstasy for the 440 pounds of dynamite used in the blasts, which killed 191 people and injured more than 1,400 others. Money from the drugs also paid for an apartment hideout, a car, and the cell phones used to detonate the bombs." (

Donnie Marshall, Congressional subcommittee on drugs has stated that legalization will not stop violence.

Marijuana is addictive and can increase your heart rate by a factor of 20 to 100. Smoking 1 joint is the equilivent of smoking 5 cigarettes. The 'High' fallowed by a crash that can cause fear and depression. These last forever while a 'High' will only last a few hours. (

We all know how expensive our health bills are. Well, when it comes to Marijuana in the year 2002, the ONDCP has found that the total cost of Marijuana injuries totaled over $52 billion, that's when it's illegal. Imagine if it were legal and opened up to the general population.

In the above graph we can see that the red line, representing violvence connected to drug trafficing is skyrocketing and is competing with homocide numbers by males. (

I would now like to point out what is occuring in Mexico with drug trackers and that the violence is increasing, but though they have a strong War against terror I would like to extend across the DEA evidence that I provided and that was not refuted which stating that legalization does not cut down on the violence. This is a key point of evidence is from a government agency (and yes I understand that my opponent does not live in Scotland, but this is still important.

The above series of graphs show the violence that the drug cartel has raged against the drug cartels and the average citizen and this shows the danger here. (

If you think that this war hasn't had an effect on the US then you are wrong as the US is opperating inside the United States and they have found one of the major Drug Cartel forwarding bases to be in none other than Colorado. (

Contention 2: Human Freedom

For this response to what Pro had said last round I have three responses; Gonzalez V. Rich, application of Thomas Hobbes theory, and finaly the rights of the individual.

In the Gonzalez V. Rich Supreme Court Case the Supreme Court ruled that the state law may not trump federal law. This case had to deal with medicinial marijuana in California, but since it could be shipped elsewhere for commerce and due to the Commerce Clause this makes what Colorado and Washington are doing unconstitutional.

Sigmund Freud has stated that humans are selfishly aggressive. You could have easily done it just so you can feel good about yourself. Here he is quoted.

"I have found little that is 'good' about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think."

Thomas Hobbes has also shown that humanity, by nature, is rotten. That we will rape and pillage everything unless we have a threat. This of course being laws and punishment. Otherwise we would end up in chaos and anarchy. ( This shows that both Hobbes and Freud show that humans are terrible creatures and make terrible choices, hence the phrase, “Only human.” This is why we need the government to regulate many of these things otherwise we wouldn’t be able to do many things, because we would be so dysfunctional.

Another piece of justification is that your rights end where the rights of other’s begins. Which would mean that all sale and purchasing drugs would lead to violation of other’s rights due to their bodily harm. ( Especially if they are any of the ones named in Contention 4.

Contention 3: Addiction

The accessability will actually lead to an increase of addiction and especially that of children. (

They report that there has been 3 confirmed deaths connected to marijuana. The USDEA has reported a major increase of hospitalizations from 3,200 to 13,000 in the span of 1 year. (

While in the United Kingdom legalization of marijuana in London in the span of one year has seen a 40-100% increase of hopitalization and has hindered the local economy by 80,000 Euros. The number for the Scotts is just as bad as they have seen a total of 50% increase in hospitalizations due to marijuana within the first year. (

I would like to point out that drugs are probably offered to you more since you live in Scotland and drugs have been legalized there, but here in the US it hasn't and it is more likely to be offered a cigarette more than anything else. Because this personal expierence holds no water in this debate I would like to extend this argument across.

Contention 4: Crazy Drugs that will be decriminialized.

I will leave this video here that details these drugs. (

My opponent agreed to that it will be all decriminalization, so let me get into some of these.

Devils Breath- this drug is used for amnesia (causes) them to do anything you want and they have no memory of it the next day. It’s a powder that you just blow into your vitiums face.

Dipted- This causes ringing in the ears, distorted music and sounds for three weeps.

Bromo Dragon Fly- This is like LSD but lasts three weeks, causes seizers, vein spasms and more.

Jankum- Made from fragmented poop for a week. This causes hallusenations for 3 hours. You are smelling the methane from your poop.

DNP- For weight loss, but this this raises your body heat from the inside to the point that you cook from the inside.

Etrophine- Like meth and morphine, so strong that 1/1000th of a gram can knock out an elephant. Can you imagine if someone drops this into your drink. This is like a date rape, but tons a time stro
Debate Round No. 2


East forfeited this round.


I'll pass this round and wait for my opponent to respond.
Debate Round No. 3


Sorry for missing the last round.


Con says "Legalization...the demand will go up while the Cartels will use violence to keep the supply down." Cartels cannot limit a legal supply through violence, the supply would be too high. With pot legal, anyone could grow it if not outdoors than indoors on their own property, or buy it from a local grower. Cartels would not go around killing everyone to stop the growth, the same way they didn't go around shooting public and private breweries when alcohol became legal. Con is using an appeal to fear, and ignoring that gangs and cartels control the drug trade specifically because it is illegal, the way the mafia controlled the alcohol trade through violence during Prohibition.

Criminalization encourages the illegal drug trade and fuels cartel violence, which I explained in the last round and sourced evidence to prove it. Con never disproved it. Con says terrorist activities happen involving the illegal drug trade. This already happens even when drugs are criminalized. If the drug trade were legal, terrorists would have to get into a different trade. Drugs would no longer be on the black market but on the regulated market, which eliminates their ability to control the supply. Therefore we can say criminalization encourages terrorist drug enterprises.

I have given citations and sources telling why legalizing drugs would likely decrease violence, because data shows that drug violence is mostly related to criminalization (fighting over the drug trade) which I sourced in the last round with evidence, and Con didn't reply. Con did not give us Marshall's explanation for me to refute, and he has not disputed my points or citations. Again criminalization fuels violence, not the other way around [A].

Con says marijuana is addictive, but 91% of people who smoke it do not get hooked [B]. He also says that pot can cause depression, but studies show that people who already have depression might be more likely to smoke pot as a way to cope [C], so it's not necessarily the pot that causes depression itself. What Con didn't mention is that pot is also known to have a ton of health benefits and medicinal uses, including reversing the damaging effects Con noted. He brings up pot as being "5x worse" than cigarette smoke, whereas pot has been known to reduce carcinogenic effects of tobacco and improve lung health [D]. Also it not only works to cure pain, but depression and anxiety as well [E]. It has different effects for all, but scientists are in overwhelming agreement about the many medicinal uses pot can have.

Economists agree pot legalization would do wonders for the economy. There are at least 14 ways it can boost the economy [F], including a surge in tax revenue to put toward schools, research and other helpful programs. Colorado, Seattle and other places have seen huge economic gains since legalization [G] along with LESS crime [H]. All violent crime went down in CO along with auto fatalities, though the link between the two is probably weak and will fluctuate.

While the info is tricky and the economic benefits of legalization can surely be exaggerated, there is no doubt pot legalization has by far been overall good for the economy according to ALL credible sources on the matter, and here are 4 of them [I] [J] [K] [L]. Economic concerns are just one reason former world leaders have called upon the world to decriminalize drugs [M], because indeed there is a huge economic case for legalization in addition to moral and practical [N].

Stanford Law studies and Yale University analysis confirms criminalization costs far more than it's worth [O]. Plus according to the World Bank, at least three-fourths of expenditures on drugs in the US goes toward punishing dealers and users instead of treating them [P]. This encourages more drug abuse and the cycle of crime I mentioned in the last round.


On human freedom, Con mentions a supreme court case and Thomas Hobbe's philosophy. He suggests that humans shouldn't be free to do anything they want, and I agree. However people should be able to do things that do not directly and definitively cause other people harm. For example, laws prohibit us from being aggressive or driving while drunk, but if you want to drink and you take measures to avoid hurting other people, then you are allowed to do so. The same logic should extend to taking drugs. If you hurt someone while under the influence, you should be punished, but otherwise you should be free to do what you please.

Alcohol has worse, more dangerous effects than legal drugs, so it makes no sense to say you can drink alcohol if you are careful, but not take drugs if you are careful. Alcohol is more dangerous than crack, cocaine and heroin [Q]. But alcohol is not the only analogy or point here, even though it proves we legalize things based on our desire and not what is the safest course of action. The supreme court and Hobbe's philosophy still value freedom and liberty for the individual, even if they consider the safety of others. Our laws should account for other people's safety in addition to our personal freedom.


For addiction, Con expects us to care about the alleged 3 deaths caused by marijuana, out of the millions and millions of people who have used it which is ridiculous. More importantly Con never sourced these 3 alleged deaths, because common knowledge is that ZERO people have ever overdosed on marijuana, so it's probably a weak link. Far more dangerous activities and substances are legal and regulated, especially pharmaceuticals which cause many more deaths and have far more damaging effects. But even sugar, caffeine and other things like gambling are legal despite being addictive and potentially harmful.

Studies show that countries that decriminalize drugs have a much better method of dealing with addiction and preventing it. In the last round I pointed out that Portugal's decriminalization strategies have reduced drug consumption, dependance, infection and promoted safety--but Con dropped this argument and these examples of course. Those places treat addiction as a medical issue and not a criminal issue, which has had positive effects and again turns Con's own argument against him. He must address how decriminalization has been successful elsewhere.

Countries all across Latin America are starting to decriminalize to follow in the footsteps of a better model [R]. Con focuses on drug violence in Mexico, but Mexico is decriminalizing drugs specifically to eliminate the violence! Mexico is begging other countries to follow suit and legalize to eliminate violence there [S] and studies show legalization here has already helped reduce violence there [T] so Con's graphics are useless.


Con's final argument is that "crazy" drugs will be decriminalized. Just because something is legal does not mean everyone will suddenly want to do it, especially if it is very dangerous and harmful to the user. Also, even if someone wants to do something dangerous, they should be able to (but penalized for hurting others). This argument is similar to the arguments against criminalizing guns. Yes, some people MIGHT hurt others with their gun, but most gun owners are responsible and not evil, and take measures to avoid hurting others. We cannot use the possibility of a crazy or evil user to take away the rights of other more responsible users.


I have refuted every single one of Con's arguments. He dropped ALL of mine--Drug criminalization encourages gang activity and violent crime, contributes to the prison industrial complex, costs tax payers a ton of money, does little for deterrence, and ruins the lives of people who get caught with drugs. Of course Con also dropped my points about decriminalization working elsewhere in the world, and the potential for harm not trumping other people's individual rights (like with guns).

Thanks for the debate!



I am unable to post this round due to time restirctions. I wish that the judges will vote on this debate as is. Sorry about that as I have returned late from a drill competition in Mountain Grove. I thank my opponent for the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
This is gonna be close. I won't be able to get computer access until Saturday night. I appologize ahead of time if that causes my forfeiture and if it does I hope that we can just judge the debate as is.
Posted by lannan13 1 year ago
I should be able to post my R2 arguments tomorrow evening.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:20 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro cited many more studies than Con, approx 30 to approx 10.