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

Full Drug Decriminalization and Legalization

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/15/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,243 times Debate No: 31343
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Drug legalization is an often shot-down idea, however solely due to ignorance. First of all, the Federal Government does not have the constitutional authority to prohibit a substance. A law of that nature can only legally be put into effect by the states. (1) That said, consider the consequences of this poorly thought-out law. The crackdown on drugs generates violence, theft, and criminals. It indirectly funds cartels, ensuring their place in power. If drugs could be bought in a conventional manner, they would be run out of business, along with drug dealers. This would in turn cut down crime because those seeking the currently illegal substances would opt not to buy from dangerous sources.
Along with reduced crime, legalization would offer extraordinary economic benefits. Millions of people would buy the new line of products (2), boosting business and lowering prices. Taxes would significantly decline because prisons would house less drug users, who make up around 25% of the prison population (3). The resulting lower taxes would also boost the economy: everyone would have more money to spend.

(1) "Constitution for the United States of America." Constitution for the United States of America. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
(2) "II. AmericaÂ’s Drug Abuse Profile." II. AmericaÂ’s Drug Abuse Profile. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
(3) "Lowering Non-Violent Incarceration Rate by Half Would Result in Billions in Savings for Cash-Strapped State and Local Governments | Press Releases." CEPR. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.


Greetings, and thank you for allowing me to debate on this topic.

Let me first say that i understand Pro has good intentions in mind, but Pro has not considered at all the negative implications of such an action. Not only is Pro suggesting the legalization of every illegal substance, but also promotes the sale and regulation of these harmful substances to "boost" our economy and "lower taxes". This is a very naive solution to our economic problems.

I strongly disagree that the proposed action would lower crime rates, dissolve violent drug cartels, or save our economy. On the contrary it would lead to a rapid deterioration of our society. If the federal government were to regulate and sale not just cannibis but opiates and hallucinogens the trade off would be condemning our future generations to addiction, poverty and suffering for a small cutback on our ever growing deficit spending.

I will present my argument in greater detail in round two. I am eager to hear Pro's opposing argument.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for entering the debate with me. Your response was well thought-out. However....

I am absolutely not proposing a trade off of common safety for a better economy and lower taxes, as Con has claimed. These are simply a couple of benefits that would derive from legalization. If anything, drugs would be safer when legal because they would have limitations and restrictions on potency and quantity. When the government bluntly outlaws a substance, they essentially surrender all control over said substance and it is therefore accessed with greater ease. This explains why minors can obtain pot easier than liquor (1). Although counter-intuitive, being able to purchase a substance lawfully (when age-restricted) lowers the availability. But perhaps I am taking too much of a mechanical approach. Allow me to touch on a more moral standpoint.

Each individual has the right to put whatever they want in their bodies, may it be alcohol, tobacco, or junk food. Why should drugs be any different? The population should be able to make their own choices regarding their bodies and be responsible for their own actions. It is not the government's job to take care of us. If the freedom of choosing what we can consume or smoke is not defended, freedom itself is at risk. All of the arguments supporting the current prohibition can be applied to alcohol and cigarettes, but generally, drinkers and smokers will argue against their own regulation because they say the government should stay out of their lives and personal habits, which is completely correct, albeit hypocritical.
Beginning in 1984, prisons in the United States began to privatize (2), which means the government did not operate them, despite the fact that they funded them. These private prisons are still around today, and run like businesses, and the businesses are paid per inmate. This obviously sparks an incentive for more inmates (because the ultimate goal of a business is to make as much money as possible). So in order to keep their jails full, the owners will lobby for harsher drug laws. Do I need to explain how this is corrupt? As detailed in the previous round, 25% of the prison population in America are non-violent drug-offenders. These people hurt no one but themselves, yet their lives are ruined, their families are torn apart, and they are viewed as the scum of society. As if throwing them in jail would help the situation. Alcoholics are not incarcerated, even though alcohol poses a much more deadly threat than marijuana, or even cocaine (3). Even some individuals using medical drugs that are illegal are jailed. What kind of society can allow the imprisonment of someone going blind from glaucoma?
Con has stated that he "strongly disagree[s] that the proposed action would lower crime rates, dissolve violent drug cartels, or save our economy." I did not say legalization would "save" the economy, just that it would inevitably boost it. I also find flaw in Con's claim because his theory is not factually-rooted. It is an assumption entirely. Legalizing drugs in America would kill business for cartels because it is their primary source of revenue (4). Not only would legalization slow down immigration, it would give many South American countries a chance to regain their footing.

I am interested in hearing your response and the remainder of your debate.

(1) "Press Releases:." News Room: National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIII: Teens and Parents. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.
(2) "Sociological Images." Sociological Images RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.
(3) "SAFER Campuses Initiative - Alcohol vs. Marijuana." SAFER Campuses Initiative - Alcohol vs. Marijuana. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.
(4) "Study: US Marijuana Legalization Could Cut Cartel Profits By 30% - InSight Crime | Organized Crime in the Américas." Study: US Marijuana Legalization Could Cut Cartel Profits By 30%. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.


MRReadme forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


The Conclusion:

The drug war is a failed attempt to keep potentially unsafe substances away from us. As many point out, the government cannot even keep drugs out of high-security prisons with armed guards. So what it boils down to is a multi-hundred billion dollar project funded on American tax money that counter-productively makes drugs more prevalent, potent, and unsafe. It provides cartels and criminals with funding and therefore power. As the United States Government should have learned during the early twentieth century prohibition, if the people want something, they're going to find ways to get it. This is how the Mafia took shape.

To add insult to injury, the Federal War on Drugs has undermined our individual rights. Not only does the government tell us what we can and cannot put into our bodies, they throw non-violent drug offenders in jail and benefit from incarcerating more. Remember, the government does not have constitutional authority to wage their “war.” So everything affiliated with drugs that the Federal Government enforces is illegal on their part. Keeping drugs illegal also hinders our economy. To put it into perspective, imagine if tobacco was outlawed. The economy would drop significantly.

The modern man remains apathetic to what he believes does not concern him. The crackdown implies that the government knows how to live our lives, and they don’t. Prisons have been given incentive to jail more people in exchange for money. Those who require illegal medical drugs, like marijuana, can be imprisoned for using them. The drug war creates more crime and affects everyone, including those of us who don’t want anything to do with them. It’s time to dismantle the Federal War on Drugs in order to kindle a safer, more controlled society.

By the way, not everyone that advocates legalization are uneducated pot-heads. There are legitamate, intelligent reasons to decriminalize.



MRReadme forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Brycekinney 4 years ago
oops, i didnt mean to make the voting time 6 months
Posted by Brycekinney 4 years ago
@MRReadme - Yes, I am suggesting that every drug be legal; however, not necessarily sold everywhere restriction-free. The government would definitely regulate the availability of certain drugs, which I have no problem with.
Posted by MRReadme 4 years ago
Just to be clear, you're suggesting every illegal drug be made legal, and sold in convenient stores?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF