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Drug Legalization in North America

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/7/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,854 times Debate No: 61381
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




I would say worldwide but that would be too unrealistic. If my opponent is willing to debate against worldwide drug legalization, then even better! If not, then North America it is.

Obviously this wouldn't be as simple as saying "alright, it's legal; have at her!" So I will add a couple points.

-ALL types of drugs are legally sold by the government much like cannabis is being sold in Washington

-the government will keep track of who has what drug

-the harder drug (cocaine, meth, heroin, etc) users will have a police and medical sent to their house/residence occasionally, or when they are just on patrol

-drugs will not be sold to people who have a history of any form of attack on another person or social outburst that can be detrimental to another humans health/safety

-background checks will be enforced much like they are when buying a firearm or applying for a firearm permit

-legal safe injection sites [1] will be set up in some areas

-drug use is still prohibited in public areas unless authorized by the government

-drugs will not be sold to anyone under the age of 18

-taxpayers' money (who do not agree with this) will not be used for funding of any kind toward the legalization of drugs

-profits will go toward fighting addiction, mental disorders, and funding the territory (state/province) in any positive way

-much like alcohol laws, it will be illegal to be under the influence of drugs in public


Please present your opening arguments in the first round, and leave the last round blank or briefly present a closing statement.

Any questions, please feel free to ask in comments before accepting!

If you accept, please stay for the entire debate, I don't know how many times I've started a debate with someone and they forfeit 60%+ of the rounds.

Good luck!



I accept this debate. My arguments are:

-Legalizing drugs will make nations more in debt.
-There would be more deaths if drugs got legalized.
-Police would be burdened by having to check on harder drug users and would have to be focused on them instead of other crimes that need attending.
-Drugs are bad for you.

Let the debating begin!
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting and presenting your first arguments!

I guess I'll go over yours then bring up my own.


Legalizing drugs will make nations more in debt

I would like to understand how you come to this conclusion. According to Forbes, Colorado grabbed about $2 million in taxes in one month alone [1] in marijuana taxes. Imagine what can be generated in taxes if all drugs were legalized? About 9.2% of the American population uses illicit drugs [2], meaning that's almost 1/10th of the entire population of America that can be taxed even more, generating way more than the measly $2 million from Colorado in a month alone.

There would be more deaths if drugs got legalized

You need to prove that this is a bad thing. If someone is addicted to drugs, it's most likely because they already are a part of a criminal organization, and are a non-productive member of society. The ones that will overdose and possibly die from excessive drug use are most likely a non productive member of society and it may be better for them and humanity as a whole if they passed away. The current drug users out on the street do nothing more than harass innocent people and beg for money, as well as collect welfare; good, taxpayers' money. If drugs were legalized, and safe injection sites were initiated and implemented into society, less people would be on the street, as they now have somewhere to be to get their fix, and the spread of diseases would die down drastically, as sharing needles would not be a thing anymore.

Police would be burdened by having to check on harder drug users and would have to be focused on them instead of other crimes that need attending.

We need to understand that the police cannot be everywhere at once. A lot of the time the police are "on patrol," meaning just that - they are patrolling the area, checking for suspicious activity, making sure everyone is safe. If they are in the area of a known meth or cocaine abusers' residence, it would not be detrimental to quickly check in on them. Emphasis on quickly.

Drugs are bad for you

And people know this. If you chose to destroy your own body, that's your right. Go for it.

So to sum it up; there is no reason to believe any nation would go more into debt by legalizing drugs. If anything, their debt would quickly decrease. The non-contributing members of society, or really just the people who are detrimental to society, would cease to exist after a while. The police would not have a hard time quickly checking in on the drug users if they had the opportunity, it would be more to see if they are still alive and well than anything. If they are, great. If not, call the coroner. Drugs being bad for you lies in that same category; the abusers know it's bad, yet they chose to anyway. They want to use drugs, they should (and probably do) know the consequences, and that isn't anyone's problem but their own.


-Like I said before, it would decrease the debt of that nation [1] and actually increase jobs, as people need to work at the dispensaries.

-The $100billion yearly war-on-drugs figure would disappear (for the most part) and America alone would save about $15billion yearly [3].

-About 100,000 people are sentenced to prison yearly for drug related charges [4], which is approximately half of all inmates [5].

-The police forces would have much more time to focus on more important crimes than what someone is doing to their own body.

-Drug smuggling would be practically non existent, judging from how Colorado is dealing with the legalization or marijuana. Border security for drugs would be less necessary, and once again would lead to more police and military forces able to assist in actual crimes and violence against other people.

-The murder rate would lower substantially, considering at least 1,100 people are killed in the drug war yearly.

-We could possibly cut down on taxes, considering a large amount of taxes go toward fighting the war on drugs [7].

-Polititicians wouldn't run for office to extort people for currently-illegal drug related ideas.


These are just a few, I'd like to hear a rebuttal to these before I bring up more in-depth ideas. Glad you accepted, and I'm looking for a good debate!









I'll explain mine is greater detail:

Legalizing drugs will make nations more in debt.

You are saying that the government is going to make millions or even billions if we legalize drugs. Will that be enough to pay for the damage people who use drugs make? They usually don't have a job, cause traffic accidents, live off of welfare, increase domestic violence, and countless other things that would hurt our economy and make our government in even more debt.

There would be more deaths if drugs got legalized.

This would be bad. So you are saying that people who are useless to society would be better off dead? Almost everybody on welfare isn't helping the world in some way or another. But they don't help the world by dying. Who knows? What if someday in the future they become the person to think up some genius idea that saves thousands of lives?

And it wouldn't just be drug users dying. What if someone who was high gets in a car and crashes and kills the people in the other car he hit? They don't deserve to die, but they did. They died because drugs got legalized, causing someone to use them without getting stopped and making a bad decision because their mind wasn't thinking clearly.

"There is the Denver man who, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused Karma Kandy from one of Colorado"s new recreational marijuana shops, began raving about the end of the world and then pulled a handgun from the family safe and killed his wife, the authorities say."[1]

Innocent people don't deserve to die, and more of them would die if drugs got legalized.

Police would be burdened by having to check on harder drug users and would have to be focused on them instead of other crimes that need attending.

I'd rather have cops stopping robberies than checking on some heroine addicts to make sure they aren't taking too much. They shouldn't have to make routine checks on people. Plus, just think of how much more work it would be to keep track of every single person who has bought a drug. I'm sure there would be a few forgotten somewhere.

Drugs are bad for you.

But I'd rather not have people destroy their own bodies. I wouldn't want my neighbors to do drugs, legal or illegal. I want neighbors who I can call if I want to chat, get some help or advice from, and just have there for me. Also, meth labs are dangerous. I wouldn't want explosions to happen in the yard next to mine.

"Cocaine can kill the brain cells that allow users to get 'high' on the drug, say scientists." [2] I don't want a lot of people with low brain cells that are high voting in the next election. I don't think a lot of other people do either.

I will explain my thoughts on some of yours now:

About 100,000 people are sentenced to prison yearly for drug related charges, which is approximately half of all inmates.

There would still be lots of people going to jail that broke the laws like driving under the influence of drugs, being in public under the influence, and giving drugs to minors and people will a bad history for examples.

The murder rate would lower substantially, considering at least 1,100 people are killed in the drug war yearly.

Maybe the drug war deaths would cease to exist, but there would be and even greater number of people killed because of bad decisions druggies would choose when they aren't thinking clearly due to drugs.

We could possibly cut down on taxes, considering a large amount of taxes go toward fighting the war on drugs.

But then taxes would go up to pay for the damages drug users do to the economy. When you are high, there is no telling what you would do.

Politicians wouldn't run for office to extort people for currently-illegal drug related ideas.

We might get some politicians who are drug users, if that would be legal. Who knows what horrible decisions they would make for our countries?



I don't know how to bold and italicize text yet, so sorry if it is a little jumbled together. This is only my second debate.
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks for explaining in greater detail!

You'll have to provide some sources that say the money drug users take up or waste is greater than the taxes and revenue the government makes. Because that isn't the case in the states that have legalized Marijuana. However Marijuana isn't a horrible life threatening drug, it still is a drug and has not had affects that you have mentioned, regarding money.

The "what if" is practically irrelevant - you can say the same thing about abortion or even masturbation... "what if one of those sperm cells grew up to be the person who cured Cancer?" Draining money from society and destroying the economy is not beneficial, and the chance that those people who abuse drugs and abuse the welfare system and government and middle to upper class becoming something successful is quite low. $4.5billion (with a B) is contributed to the homeless population [1], so if they all (I don't know how to say this in a kind way...) went extinct... we're saving billions of dollars. Am I saying money is more important than people? It depends what kind of people those are. The people who leech billions of dollars from society, who harass and intimidate innocent citizens; yes. I've really got nothing against those people, but if they chose to destroy their body, it not only gets rid of someone who harasses innocent people, it saves the government a lot of money.

Like I said, it would be illegal in public - the same laws alcohol has. However this is a good point - something being illegal won't stop everyone from doing it, but considering how easy it is to get your hands on hard drugs now, and the low amount of car accidents caused from being high off it, it's safe to assume that if all drugs were legal, it wouldn't make a very big difference in the amount of car accidents caused by it. However one innocent death is bad, you're right, lots more are saved (gang wars over drugs go way down, less innocents die that way, smuggling goes down, less police and innocents are killed, less sharing needles, less shooting up in public places, etc.)

There will always be exceptions. There will always be people who break the rules. Legalizing marijuana or illegalizing it will not do much to the sickos who need to get some. However, crime in Colorado has gone down 10% since the legalization, assaults making up 3.7% of those crimes. This is taken from your first source, something you conveniently didn't mention.

If the war on drugs drops by, say, 80% because all drugs are now legal, less deaths (1,100 a year) will happen. Let's say it drops down to 100 a year in regards to drug activities. And maybe 50 or even 100 people die (innocent and non-innocent) because it's legalized. Mind you, this is the first death in five months of Colorado legalizing marijuana. That equals 200 people dead. Instead of 1,100. Is that a bad thing?

I agree, innocent people don't deserve to die. But so many innocent people are killed in gang wars over drugs currently. "In 2012, 63 people died in the course of US domestic drug law enforcement operations, or one about every six days. Eight of the dead were law enforcement officers; 55 were civilians." [2]

If cops had the option to just "stop a robbery," they would be doing so now. Cops can't just appear at a crime as soon as it happens. Would it be better not to check up on them and just let them do whatever? I didn't really know how to make this point, but I said to check up on them because that seems logical, to just see if they're still alive or not.

You act like if meth was legal, Tim and his son next door would be shooting up every day for breakfast. This is the same argument I get against gay marriage; I don't want to marry another man! Don't legalize it! - If someone is a drug addict, the chance that you would be hanging out and socializing with them is probably low to begin with. If someone wants to shoot up now, they can. Of course a few more people would if it was legal, but if it's the healthy people you're friends with you're worried about - don't be.

The drugs will be produced by governments in government labs, not Joe down the block.

Regulate the elections then. If someone is a known user, disregard their vote. Or don't worry about it; the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't going to become president; reasonable candidates will.

Thanks again for expanding on your explanations.


Drug possession charges would drop drastically. That's enough to say that the prison population would drop a lot, even if occasional people were arrested for driving under the influence etc.

It's hard to speculate actual numbers, but I highly doubt more people would be killed if there weren't any more wars over drugs. There would be deaths, yes, but not as many as if people killed each other over drugs.

You're just saying "who knows what will happen" - this isn't a great argument. $2million a month in one state from one drug can take care of a lot. What happens when every state in America and Canada, or every country, legalizes every drug? A LOT.

Once again - "who knows what will happen" - if a politician is elected, that means the general public likes him and what he will do. Most people are not (and most likely will not) be into hardcore drugs, and won't mindlessly elect some coked-out addict.


I can see the main concern is "they could screw up the economy, and possibly hurt innocent people." - If anything, the taxes generated from drug sales would do anything but screw up the economy; it would greatly benefit it. And innocent people are killed by drug wars now anyway. If drugs are legal, there's no more drug wars, and no more innocent deaths because of it. There could be innocent deaths from drug use, but the laws would stay the same on the streets and in public as it is today - because someone does drugs in their homes doesn't mean they would run out into the street and kill someone - they have the option to do that already, cops don't go knocking on everyone's door to see if they're using drugs.

Don't worry about italics or anything, I get what you mean! Good job for a second debate, I'm glad you brought up such good points and actually had a good argument. Looking forward to hear what you have to say next!




Maybe in Colorado they are making more money then they are wasting, but that is only one state and only one drug and only right now. Marijuana is known as the gateway drug, or the drug most people use to get into the drug world. It still harms your body and mind, but the effects aren't nearly as severe as other drugs such as meth, cocaine, etc. So the accidents, deaths, and damage done by marijuana users wouldn't be nearly as high as the damage that will come when hard drugs are legalized because it messes with your brain even more.

A high person off of marijuana is most likely going to make better decisions than a high person off of cocaine or meth.

I couldn't find any sources to really prove this because all drugs haven't been legalized somewhere in North America before, but I know anyone reading this would agree with me. I'm also pretty sure you won't be able to find any sources that prove that the income of taxes on drugs would pay for the damage done. If you can, I would love to see them.

If the government legalized drugs and set a price, I'm sure all those drug dealers are not going to be happy. They'll probably lower their prices too because they are not going to just get rid of their business. Then the drug wars would still continue, although I agree, they probably would be not as bad.

But I thought you said that druggies dying was not really a bad thing? So now why are you saying that less deaths is good?

Where would these government labs be set up? I don't want a drug lab next door.

What about all those people in the mountains or that live in the middle of nowhere? I highly doubt they'll go all the way to a drug store to get their drugs and then properly inject them at an injection site. Some people live hours away from the nearest city, and not every small town will have drugs for sale.

About 250,000 people die every year in the world because of illegal drugs, mostly in highly developed countries. [1] And those statistics are when drugs are illegal in most countries. I couldn't find any estimates on how many more people would die, but let's assume there would be a few more.

That's all for now. Sorry about the shortness and wait.

Debate Round No. 3


But that's what we have right now. A previously illegal substance is now legal, and is generating millions of dollars a month. To say "nah" is blatant ignorance. Sure, legalizing meth or coke or heroin could have zero effect or even cost money, but we have to take into affect what's happened in the past. When we look at how our Sun is expanding, it is reasonable to come to the conclusion that, judging by what other stars have done, ours will expand and eventually either explode or implode. We can't guarantee that it will happen, but we can say it's very possible or likely. Just like legalizing other drugs, by knowing the fact that previous drugs (marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, etc) have created billions in revenue, it's fair to assume or predict a large profit from legalizing more drugs. People are using now, and if the government taxed what people are using, it would generate money, without a doubt. We are unsure of the expenditures, but chances are they would be about the same as they are today, minus the "war on drugs," a multi-billion dollar campaign. I agree that harder drugs could have more of an affect on damage to property, or medical bills, but in the long run, it most likely wouldn't leave a large dent in the money generated by sales.

The effects of certain drugs sometimes rely on the person's current brain cell activity - some people can act differently on cocaine or meth than others. You could be right to a degree, but we'll need to see some sources that say someone high on cocaine or meth makes poorer or worse decisions than someone high on marijuana.

The damages caused by marijuana is next to nothing. [1] Crime has gone down, probably not related, but possibly related to the legalization of it, but millions of dollars haven't been spent per month to fix damages caused by people high on marijuana. I know this is not a very hard drug compared to cocaine or meth, but there you have it - the damages are not greater than the revenue.

I think we can all agree that marijuana revenue is extremely... should I say it... hiiiiigh... without really any government expenditure on anything marijuana related, and judging by this information, we can assume that legalizing all drugs not only wouldn't make much of a difference in the current government expenditure, other than getting rid of the multi-billion dollar war on drugs campaign, and it would (guaranteed) make a lot of money on taxes.

We have come to a conclusion that the drug wars will not be as bad! That's good! What about all the marijuana dealers in Colorado or Washington? Where's the uproar?

My opinions on death differ a bit. I'm not saying it's good that they as a person are dead; they don't deserve to die. What I'm saying is that it would benefit society if they did. I'm also saying there will (probably) be some clinics like the one I provided from the beginning, set up around the continent, to ensure "safe" drug use, so no shared needles or stuff like that, which stop the spread of infection like AIDS, throughout not only the druggie community, but the unfortunate people who happen to walk through there wouldn't risk catching some kind of disease.

The government isn't going to buy Tim's house and hire his son as a meth cook. They'll have isolated locations set up, like in Mississippi [2].

The people who live in the middle of nowhere will do their own thing. It won't be mandatory to buy and use heroin. The government/police currently really don't care what people do who are far from any kind of developed cities, so if they legalized all drugs, nothing would really change for the most part out there.

It's unfortunate that people die. But let's take into consideration who those people are. People who (for the most part) don't like life to begin with. They take drugs to escape reality and go somewhere other than this life. Maybe they don't think it's a bad thing if they died. If it was legal, (possibly) more people would turn to drugs to escape the reality they don't like. Death sometimes isn't a bad thing, especially if the deceased was suffering before their death. Would it be better for everyone if they weren't addicted to drugs? Maybe. Who knows. Some people are born addicted, some people try it and become addicted and lose everything. What happens if all of a sudden nobody was addicted? We would have millions of people all of a sudden looking for "proper" jobs, messing up the economy royally, possibly having to change minimum wage, college tuition, etc. Not to mention the incredible amount of housing needed to be built for the homeless addicts.

Some people "need" drugs to take their pain away - to escape their life that they can't stand and don't want. Making these drugs illegal only causes them to go through more hoops to get it - getting involved with gangs, shooting up with dirty needles, spending incredibly amounts of money - whereas legalizing these drugs would make them accessible to anyone over 18, at (possibly) a cheaper price than on the streets. That takes away infectious diseases and gang violence, while also funding our government and cities immensely.

Thanks for taking the time to reply, I've got a busy schedule too. Hope to hear some good responses from you!




SiriusTrekkie forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Unfortunate. I would love it if you could come back for the final round, so I'll be a nice guy and just sum up my main points.

- The revenue generated from taxable drugs will most likely be incredibly high

- The $40billion [1] war on drugs will come to a halt, and tax payers will no longer be paying to stop people from destroying their own bodies if they chose

- Gang wars over drugs will come to a stand still, and less innocents (as well as gang members) will be shot or injured

- The overpopulated prisons will have plenty of room for actual criminals instead of people looking to get high

- Diseases will be less rampant, as safe injection sites will open up, stopping the sharing of dirty needles/other devices

- Getting across borders won't be nearly as time consuming, as the border patrol won't have to search your stuff for drugs, or use dogs to sniff your car/person

- Some may not consider this a good thing, but I'll leave it here... The "unproductive" members of society may cease to exist after a while if they chose to abuse drugs

I think these are the main points I wanted to bring up, and considering you didn't have a fourth round, I don't want to give you 20 things compared to your zero.

Thanks for a great debate, this was probably one of the more intriguing ones I've participated in!



I'm sorry that I couldn't make it for the fourth round. I had a visit from some family I hadn't seen in a while! I had some good points I was going to bring up, so I'm a little disappointed too. I'll just sum it up.

-The productivity of the workforce in countries will lower since more people will be doing drugs, thus, the debt will most likely rise, even though it may seem good in the beginning.

-More innocents would die from accidents caused by drug users' poor decisions.

-Drug labs and injection sites would be set up, which are eyesores.

-The drug wars would probably still happen somewhat because of other countries still wanting to sell their drugs.

-People would be stuck with having drug users as neighbors and family.

-Diseases such as AIDs would still occur since there will be people who want to get high now instead of wait to get to a "safe injection site." And there's other ways to get AIDs...

-Overall, drugs are really bad for people to use and nobody wants a country with drugs and chaos. When drugs are legalized, then people are going to start to want more and more things legalized and pretty soon the whole country is spiraling downward.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 20 million Americans aged 12 or older used an illegal drug in the past 30 days. This estimate represents 8% percent of the population aged 12 years old or older. [1]

Just a quote to show an estimate of how many people try illegal drugs when they are illegal. Just imagine how many would try when it is legal. It is easy to get hooked on a drug even after one try.

Thank you for a great debate. That was only the second debate I've finished on DDO so far. And again, sorry that I didn't post for the 4th round!

Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Mister_Man 3 years ago
Thanks Mr. Grace, that's a good point - I have personal experience with what you're talking about, and not once have I felt like I want to try harder drugs than pot.
Posted by Mr.Grace 3 years ago
another argument as to the increase/decrease in overdose deaths would be that with greater regulation ( as there are currently no regulations concerning the purity or safety of illegal drugs) there would be less deaths. Also the "gateway" argument could easily be disputed. Oftentimes the gateway occurs because marijuana users are forced to buy their drug of choice from dealers of all types of drugs. Whenever there is a reduction in the supply of marijuana, (often due to a "big bust," the dealer says "but I got some crack if you want it." This wouldn't occur if the marijuana was available and bought from a supplier who was regulated by the array of government agencies.
Posted by Mister_Man 3 years ago
That wasn't my only resource.
Posted by funnycn 3 years ago
Whoever gets their resources from the "Huffington post" doesn't know where to find resources.
Posted by cheyennebodie 3 years ago
Before I would agree to this, I would defund all programs that treat people with drug problems.Why should those who do not make these kinds of choices pay the bills to clean up the mess they make of their lives.With every freedom there is a corresponding responsibility.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mr.Grace 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Much of the evidence supplied by Con was effectively dismissed by Pro. Indeed, the links provided by Con was "inconclusive" by their own account. Some even admitted to a lower crime rate since legalization in Colorado. The most authoritative evidence came from the UN, and according to its own numbers, illegal drug deaths pale in comparison to the legal ones-- namely alcohol and tobacco. I realize everyone has a busy schedule, however, when a round is missed, it should result in a reduction in the score.