The Instigator
prosandcons
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Rumsy
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Drug legalization

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,406 times Debate No: 9308
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (3)

 

prosandcons

Pro

I intend to here debate any opponent to drug legalization, with particular emphasis on marijuana, although I am willing to debate on any drug. I will now commence opening arguments.

1). Personal liberty.
Drug use is a personal choice, and as long as users do not infringe on the well-beings of others, it should not be illegal as a personal, albeit sometimes unhealthy, choice.

2). Gang use.
The majority of gang revenue comes from the production and sale of illegal drugs. Should we make these drugs legal, we could effectively cut gang sizes by over half. Imagine telling the mayors of New York or Los Angeles that you could halve gangs. The average drug user would quickly choose to purchase from the government as opposed to dealers. Would you rather get pot for $5 and a few legal forms from a reliable pharmacist or for $50 from a shady man in an alley who could have put anything in it?

3). Treatment.
A simple argument. All this consists of is that people would be more willing to accept treatment for an addiction if they new they would not be prosecuted for possession and use of an illegal substance.

4). Taxation.
Legalization and taxation of marijuana alone could generate revenues of $10-14 billion. This would, of course, inordinately help the economies of individual states. This money could be used in part for education, anti-drug, and drug treatment programs. We would end up with more money and fewer addicts.

Please respond with some good arguments. Lastly, a disclaimer. I am a high school student and have never consumed any illegal drugs, smoked tobbaco, or consumed alcohol.
Rumsy

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate as it will most definitely be an interesting challenge, and at the same time I apologize for not posting this sooner.

First off, I would like to ask my opponent that we should perhaps narrow the range of this debate, so we are not using semantics and arguing over common pharmaceutical drugs. So therefore, I suggest we argue over narcotics:

Narcotics - Any of a class of substances that blunt the senses, as opium, morphine, belladonna, and alcohol, that in large quantities produce euphoria, stupor, or coma, that when used constantly can cause habituation or addiction, and that are used in medicine to relieve pain, cause sedation, and induce sleep.

And so, let me open up Round 1 with my own arguments, and get to yours in Round 2. In proving that drug legalization is a good idea, I think it is important for my opponent to disprove these two arguments or effectively negate their importance:

Drugs and crime correlation:
Every major study, has affirmed the link between drug abuse and crime. A government study was released for 2008,
showing that just over 40% of arrestees at the test sites tested positive for marijuana at the time of arrest.[2] Another study shows that over 86% of people arrested show a dependence on these illegal substances. [3] In big cities such as Chicago and Atlanta, 27% of arrests involved criminals who admitted to using crack. And that's just crack, that's not even the statistic for the more popular cocaine powder. Even more crime is a consequence of bad transactions when buying, and with almost every drug, over 50% of arrestees reported failed buys.[2]

Marijuana is harmful:
Pot is the number #1 used drug in America, in a 2005 survey marijuana boasted 14.6 million regular users, and 95.7 million who have tried it.[5] Marijuana though complex, has been linked to problems with memory, lack of motivation, problems with adolescent development, and is strongly believed to even increase risk of cancer.[4] It has been found to have a direct damaging effects on DNA.[6]

I could go on but ill leave that for future rounds and I would prefer it if my opponent can prove how drug legalization would be a benefit to society.

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov...
[3] http://www.uq.edu.au...
[4] http://health.usnews.com...
[5] http://www.doitnow.org...
[6] http://www.sciencedaily.com...

Lastly, a disclaimer. I may or may not have consumed two or three of these substances.
Debate Round No. 1
prosandcons

Pro

I thank my opponent for his argument and apologize for my late posting.

I agree with my opponent's request, and shall confine my arguments to illegal "street" drugs.

I agree with my opponent's definition of narcotics.

I will now address my opponent's round one arguments:

Drugs and crime correlation:
"Every major study, has affirmed the link between drug abuse and crime."
There will obviously be a correlation between drugs and crime if drugs are illegal. But aside from that, all mind altering substances including alcohol has an effect on judgment and will therefore increase crime rate.
"Just over 40% of of arrestees at the test sites tested positive for marijuana at the time of arrest"
To begin, roughly 6% of all arrests are marijuana-related, so you can discount those immediately. But, more importantly, there are roughly 300 million Americans, and 92 million of them have smoked weed at least once [1]. Because there are only about 14 million US prisoners [2], and 40% of 14 million is 5,600,000 people who smoke pot are just barely overrepresented in court, and pot in no way guarantees criminal activity. However, if drugs were legalized, we would actually reduce drug related crime by regulating drug use and, for example, not selling to the mentally ill or those with a criminal record.
"Over 86% of people arrested show a dependence on these illegal substances"
As this study was conducted in Queensland, the results have somewhat less bearing on America, but aside from that, like your arguments on marijuana and crack, if we legalize it we will be able to regulate drugs and lower these statistics.
"With almost every drug, over 50% of arrestees reported failed buys"
If we legalize these drugs, then we can completely eliminate failed buys. This argument is entirely in favor of legalization.

Marijuana is harmful:
All of these arguments are irrelevant, if people want to harm themselves then in a free society they have a right to, and legalization would increase treatment for these problems by empowering people to seek medical help without fear of legal action. However, I will counter your arguments anyway.
"Marijuana... has been linked to problems with memory, lack of motivation, problems with adolescent development, and is strongly believed to even increase risk of cancer."
First of all, the dangers of marijuana are less than those of alcohol [3]. While marijuana does affect short-term memory, its users have been shown in experiments to have no problems recalling things that they already learned [4]. Although marijuana does slightly damage the adolescent brain, the effect is subtle compared to alcohol, and by legalizing marijuana we could help prevent teens from obtaining marijuana [5]. And as for cancer, marijuana has been proven numerous times to be less damaging to the lungs than tobacco, and not a cause of cancer [3], [4]. Lastly, the damage done to DNA by marijuana is also done by tobacco [6], but aside from that, just because something could be harmful is no reason to make it illegal, as in the case of alcohol and tobacco.

In conclusion, although there is a slight drug-crime correlation and some possible dangers of marijuana, it is no reason to make them illegal, and in fact, if these drugs were legal and therefore regulated, we would have less drug related crime and less dangers from marijuana.

[1] www.ncadi.samhsa.gov
[2] www.drugwarfacts.org
[3] www.saferchoice.org
[4] www.drugpolicy.org
[5] www.norml.org
[6] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Rumsy

Con

To begin, roughly 6% of all arrests are marijuana-related, so you can discount those immediately. But, more importantly, there are roughly 300 million Americans, and 92 million of them have smoked weed at least once [1]. Because there are only about 14 million US prisoners [2], and 40% of 14 million is 5,600,000 people who smoke pot are just barely overrepresented in court, and pot in no way guarantees criminal activity. However, if drugs were legalized, we would actually reduce drug related crime by regulating drug use and, for example, not selling to the mentally ill or those with a criminal record."

That's all fine and well, but if you notice, my statistics were the result of an annual governmental study, so I am not so sure that these results should be necessarily "discounted". And your attempt to discredit the 40% is also irrelevant, because that too was referring to arrestees from that one particular study. And as far as regulating drug use so as not to sell to the mentally ill, we should probably only be selling it to them as medicine. Medically marijuana can be an amazing drug, and has helped people with things ranging from OCD, ADHD, ODD, PTSD, tourrettes, etc.[1] And yes, considering that over 6 million people have been arrested on marijuana related charges between 1992 and 2001, needless to say it would reduce crime rates.[2] But as for other narcotics, legalizing it would in no way decrease crime rate, other than the obvious amount of people arrested for possession, sales, and manufacturing. And as far as selling to people with a criminal record, what makes you think that this would make marijuana any less obtainable to known criminals? It just means they can't go out and buy it for themselves at the local convenient store, which isn't what they were doing before anyway.

"As this study was conducted in Queensland, the results have somewhat less bearing on America, but aside from that, like your arguments on marijuana and crack, if we legalize it we will be able to regulate drugs and lower these statistics."

Marijuana is legal in Queensland, Australia. Where do you think the government will be looking when deciding whether or not to legalize marijuana? Governor Schwarzenegger has even said that he believes it is important to examine effects of legalization in other countries.[3] And I doubt that regulating the narcotic or any narcotic would decrease crimes committed while being on these substances, all of your arguments are mere unsupported speculations.

'"With almost every drug, over 50% of arrestees reported failed buys"
If we legalize these drugs, then we can completely eliminate failed buys. This argument is entirely in favor of legalization.'
It isn't. While you could in fact decrease the number of illegal sales in general, there would still be illegal sales of the drug. And these failed buys aren't necessarily crime, they consisted of either the buyer not having enough money, the seller not having enough product, or there not being an ideal meeting, and did not end in violence and arrest. These questions were simply asked to people arrested.

"All of these arguments are irrelevant, if people want to harm themselves then in a free society they have a right to, and legalization would increase treatment for these problems by empowering people to seek medical help without fear of legal action. However, I will counter your arguments anyway."

While you say you will counter my arguments anyway, you base your own on speculation and no supporting evidence. The debate about whether or not people should be allowed to harm themselves by smoking is a completely different topic. But the DNA damaging effects I cited in Round 1, were not solely from smoking marijuana, but from the smoke itself. So it would be fine if it harmed only the smoker, but it majorly harms the people around the smoke.[4]

"And as for cancer, marijuana has been proven numerous times to be less damaging to the lungs than tobacco, and not a cause of cancer."

Like I said in the previous round, marijuana is a complex drug, that has yet to be fully understood by researchers. I noted that it was known to strongly increase the chance of cancer, I did not say it caused it. And you can hardly prove that it doesn't cause cancer, with what is left to discover about marijuana.

"Lastly, the damage done to DNA by marijuana is also done by tobacco, but aside from that, just because something could be harmful is no reason to make it illegal, as in the case of alcohol and tobacco."

That is precisely a reason to make it illegal, and is why so many narcotics are illegal. Some drugs have more severe effects than alcohol and tobacco.

"In conclusion, although there is a slight drug-crime correlation and some possible dangers of marijuana, it is no reason to make them illegal, and in fact, if these drugs were legal and therefore regulated, we would have less drug related crime and less dangers from marijuana."

Keep in mind that there is more than a slight drug-crime correlation. There is a reason why all of these narcotics are illegal. And restating what I said before, you would naturally have less crime rates due to the amount of people arrested for the pure act of possession, sales, manufacturing. Less dangers from marijuana how?

"legalization would increase treatment for these problems by empowering people to seek medical help without fear of legal action."

I can't see how it would empower people any more. People that sign themselves into rehabilitation to my knowledge have no legal actions taken against them.

[1] http://rxmarijuana.com...
[2] http://skeptically.org...
[3] http://www.nbclosangeles.com...
[4] http://www.sciencedaily.com...
Debate Round No. 2
prosandcons

Pro

First of all, I would like to thank my opponent for his arguments

I would like to establish that the debate here is not about medical marijuana, but recreational use of currently illegal street drugs.

"That's all fine and well, but if you notice, my statistics were the result of an annual governmental study, so I am not so sure that these results should be necessarily "discounted". And your attempt to discredit the 40% is also irrelevant, because that too was referring to arrestees from that one particular study. And as far as regulating drug use so as not to sell to the mentally ill, we should probably only be selling it to them as medicine. Medically marijuana can be an amazing drug, and has helped people with things ranging from OCD, ADHD, ODD, PTSD, tourrettes, etc.[1] And yes, considering that over 6 million people have been arrested on marijuana related charges between 1992 and 2001, needless to say it would reduce crime rates.[2] But as for other narcotics, legalizing it would in no way decrease crime rate, other than the obvious amount of people arrested for possession, sales, and manufacturing. And as far as selling to people with a criminal record, what makes you think that this would make marijuana any less obtainable to known criminals? It just means they can't go out and buy it for themselves at the local convenient store, which isn't what they were doing before anyway."

The fact that this study was conducted by the government in no way ensures it's accuracy, but it doesn't matter because I never denied the study. All I did was demonstrate that because about 33% of the country has smoked marijuana (see citing in last argument), they are overrepresented in arrests by a mere 1% when those charged with possession, sale, or manufacture are discounted. And I agree with you about the medical marijuana, but the subject of this debate is not medical marijuana. And as for your arguments about those with a criminal record and others who could be banned from buying, no, they could not buy drugs elsewhere because illicit drug salesmen would be completely driven out of business by the government. The remaining customers would be too few and too far spread to support the illegal sale of pot.

"Marijuana is legal in Queensland, Australia. Where do you think the government will be looking when deciding whether or not to legalize marijuana? Governor Schwarzenegger has even said that he believes it is important to examine effects of legalization in other countries.[3] And I doubt that regulating the narcotic or any narcotic would decrease crimes committed while being on these substances, all of your arguments are mere unsupported speculations."

No, as a matter of fact marijuana is not legal in Australia [1]. And I agree with you and Governor Schwarzenegger on the effects of legalization in other countries, which is why I looked at the Netherlands. In America, where these substances are illegal, we have a higher marijuana prevalence, a higher heroin prevalence, a higher cocaine prevalence, a higher incarceration rate, and a higher homicide rate then in the Netherlands [2]. Now, it would be idiotic to assume that the legality of pot is the cause of all of these statistics, but as you yourself said, there is a correlation between drug use and crime, and when drugs are legalized, crime goes down.

"It isn't. While you could in fact decrease the number of illegal sales in general, there would still be illegal sales of the drug. And these failed buys aren't necessarily crime, they consisted of either the buyer not having enough money, the seller not having enough product, or there not being an ideal meeting, and did not end in violence and arrest. These questions were simply asked to people arrested."
So if the failed buys don't end in violence, then why do you care? What's the point of this argument? According to you, all of the failed buys only resulted in the buyer not getting drugs.

"Like I said in the previous round, marijuana is a complex drug, that has yet to be fully understood by researchers. I noted that it was known to strongly increase the chance of cancer, I did not say it caused it. And you can hardly prove that it doesn't cause cancer, with what is left to discover about marijuana."

In this and his other arguments on the health value of marijuana, my opponent is partially correct. Marijuana is a complex drug, and it is hardly understood well. However, as he himself will admit, there is a fair amount of doubt as to pot's affects, and marijuana has been linked to many health problems as well as benefits. The arguments surrounding it are comprised as much of myth as truth, and much that we believe about it is not true.

"I can't see how it would empower people any more. People that sign themselves into rehabilitation to my knowledge have no legal actions taken against them."

It doesn't matter whether those in rehab have legal action taken against them, what matters is the stigma that exists against drugs. If people are addicted to drugs, then they believe that coming out about it will garner legal action and negative consequences, whether true or not, which is why many choose to remain addicted.

-Closing Arguments-
My opponent seems to believe that drug regulation would not work if drugs were legalized. I propose a simple system in which anyone wishing to consume drugs would go to a pharmacy or other government run building, where they would present an ID and go through sufficient checks to ensure their legality, at which point they would go to a bar-like room in which you would consume the drugs while being watched over by a sober government employee or employees. That way, no drugs leave the pharmacy, and no crimes are committed. It is a system modeled on the Netherland coffeehouses.

Lastly, my opponent and I have presented our arguments and outlined our points. I believe that a carefully regulated system of legal drugs would be a safe and easy way to curtail gang revenue, ensure drug treatment, recieve economic bonuses from the taxed drugs, and end the wasteful spending of the war on drugs, as well as ensure people their liberties, something a conservative like him should be in favor of. My opponent would have you believe that because there is a drug-crime correlation, and because drugs are bad for you, we should not allow their legal retail. I thank my opponent for this stimulating debate, and I thank all of our voters for helping to decide it.

[1] www.health.nsw.gov.au
[2] www.drugwarfacts.org
Rumsy

Con

And yes, before I begin this round, thank you for quite the interesting debate.

My opponent seems to have hung himself up on the medical marijuana phrasing I used briefly, to wittingly combat his "regulate them to keep them from the insane" remark. You act as though I got stuck on it throughout the second round. I brought it up in one sentence, and in no way have gone off topic, and will no longer waste any more time on it.

"the fact that this study was conducted by the government in no way ensures it's accuracy, but it doesn't matter because I never denied the study."

I'm fairly sure the Office of National Drug Control receives enough funding to ensure the accuracy of their studies. And no you didn't deny the study, that would be impossible, you just attempted to discredit all of its results.

"All I did was demonstrate that because about 33% of the country has smoked marijuana (see citing in last argument), they are overrepresented in arrests by a mere 1% when those charged with possession, sale, or manufacture are discounted."

If you are referring to the study again, then sure, 33% of the country has smoked marijuana. The tests were on people who were high at the time of arrest, and not results of prisoners who have smoked at some point in their lives.

"And as for your arguments about those with a criminal record and others who could be banned from buying, no, they could not buy drugs elsewhere because illicit drug salesmen would be completely driven out of business by the government. The remaining customers would be too few and too far spread to support the illegal sale of pot."

You seem to have a bit of a naive view on how the world works. If there are criminals or anybody for that matter who need to obtain marijuana illegally, then there will be a business for it. And what makes you believe that a large number of people wont just buy it from dealers like always, at a lower price. Taxing it would increase the price of marijuana. And by legalizing marijuana, you are not bring drug cartels to their knees, not even close. They have well established and working routes to smuggle drugs into the States, and will continue to do so, the only thing that will come of ending the drug war, is you will allow these cartels more leisure to operate.

"No, as a matter of fact marijuana is not legal in Australia [1]. And I agree with you and Governor Schwarzenegger on the effects of legalization in other countries, which is why I looked at the Netherlands. In America, where these substances are illegal, we have a higher marijuana prevalence, a higher heroin prevalence, a higher cocaine prevalence, a higher incarceration rate, and a higher homicide rate then in the Netherlands [2]. Now, it would be idiotic to assume that the legality of pot is the cause of all of these statistics, but as you yourself said, there is a correlation between drug use and crime, and when drugs are legalized, crime goes down."

You're right, that was my fault I phrased that wrong. Marijuana is decriminalized in most regions of Australia, meaning that if you are stopped for some reason and an ounce or more is found on you, they ticket you, as if you were speeding. They rarely enforce this, and the fines are quite small.[2] And as for our higher rates, keep in mind that Netherlands has about %5 of the United States population. And I thoroughly read through your source, and while I found Netherlands drug prevalence charts, I could not find any statistics on United States drug prevalence. Only that Tobacco is America's #1 Killer. :D

I did say there was a correlation between drug use and crime, but you tried to say it was minimal. And yes when drugs are legalized, crime rate* goes down, violent crimes are something else entirely. Just because the crime rate goes down, does not mean the streets are any safer, considering these arrests were made for possession.

"In this and his other arguments on the health value of marijuana, my opponent is partially correct. Marijuana is a complex drug, and it is hardly understood well. However, as he himself will admit, there is a fair amount of doubt as to pot's affects, and marijuana has been linked to many health problems as well as benefits. The arguments surrounding it are comprised as much of myth as truth, and much that we believe about it is not true."

That seems like an unnecessary paragraph, I covered the same thing twice. And it was a university study, which seems like it should warrant some acknowledgement for being far more truth than myth.

"It doesn't matter whether those in rehab have legal action taken against them, what matters is the stigma that exists against drugs. If people are addicted to drugs, then they believe that coming out about it will garner legal action and negative consequences, whether true or not, which is why many choose to remain addicted."

I'm sure the stigma and fear of legal action is a very small factor in an addicts choice to enlist in rehabilitation. But allow me to make another argument, which I am trying to refrain from doing as you will not be able to properly address.

-Closing Arguments-

The amount of money that could stimulate the economy from such a tax, would be in the shadows of the billions spent to fund rehabilitation centers. Here's one example of an areas $10 million dollar spending.[1] The more available these drugs become, the more rehabilitation is required. I will not even go back to emphasizing that legalizing street drugs for recreational use is a horrible idea, because it has no benefit to society, you cannot prove otherwise, and it poses a danger and puts the rights of other citizens at risk.[3] Do you really think we need more addicts running around our streets? The country would also have to pay the cost for regulating these drugs, which would come from government funding thus the tax payers. Alone the economic gains are just not there, and any small gains that could be there as a result of taxing the sale of drugs is not worth the safety of the public. You can not end the sale of illegal drugs in the U.S. by regulating them, there will still be a large portion of illegal vendors. I'd have preferred it if my opponent hadn't made the judgement that because my profile says I am a conservative, that I actually am, or for that matter necessarily agree with everything they believe in. Personal liberty only goes so far and when it becomes a risk to other people, poses a threat to society. Marijuana poses a threat to others health and safety, no matter how directly or indirectly.

I'd like to thank my opponent again for not allowing this debate to center solely on marijuana, even though we lingered there for quite a while. The only criticism I have about this debate was that there was too many sources cited to disprove one anothers arguments, and not enough supporting our own.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com...
[2] http://www.articlesbase.com...
[3] http://www.mpp.org...
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rumsy 7 years ago
Rumsy
Thank you again for the debate! My classes started up again monday, so it is very unlikely I will find time for many more debates. And concerning the conservative thing, in almost all of my debates, I argue against my own beliefs, I find it more challenging and rewarding. Also, im sorry ahead for not mentioning the entire "Gateway drug" argument, which is wielded by opponents to marijuana legalization. I felt it was irrelevant.
Posted by Rumsy 7 years ago
Rumsy
People have a right to feel safe, and when you legalize narcotics, you increase the risk for bad situations.
Posted by Julius_Caesar 7 years ago
Julius_Caesar
it doesnt invade anybody elses rights and its a personal choice... so quite frankly im pro
Posted by Rumsy 7 years ago
Rumsy
Mhm, it's true.
Posted by Rob1Billion 7 years ago
Rob1Billion
Wow there is a drug/crime correlation. You wouldn't expect that, with drugs being illegal and all :P
Posted by Chase_the_Bass 7 years ago
Chase_the_Bass
"Would you rather get pot for $5 and a few legal forms from a reliable pharmacist or for $50 from a shady man in an alley who could have put anything in it"
While this applies to practically every other drug I've always said that this doesn't apply to pot. Marijuana is just the flower from the cannabis plant. If a dealer were to put something in it he would be losing product and money and would be easy to detect in most cases. Some especially nasty growers (usually criminal organizations) add glass to the pot to make it weigh more but this is very rare (was a lot worse in the UK than in the US). On the lower end some dealers have been known to pour orange juice on their pot. It dries up, gets all sticky, makes it sweet and weighs it down. This too is rare though.
Posted by Rumsy 7 years ago
Rumsy
I will probably post my arguments a little later in the day today, I have someone things to do today.
Posted by prosandcons 7 years ago
prosandcons
when i say anything, i mean any drug, prostitution and gambling
Posted by ilovgoogle 7 years ago
ilovgoogle
Prosandcons are you willing to make this debate again? You say your willing legalize ANYTHING so I'd like to put hat to test.
Posted by prosandcons 7 years ago
prosandcons
wjelements: The cost would decrease by a large amount but the tax would only drive prices up slightly
Rumsy: Go ahead, I think we should legalize everything
theLwerd: Just wanted to congratulate you on your crushing performance in that gay marriage debate
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by BlueNotes 7 years ago
BlueNotes
prosandconsRumsyTied
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Vote Placed by Rumsy 7 years ago
Rumsy
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comoncents
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