The Instigator
16kadams
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Thaddeus
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

In the US, All drugs should be legalized

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Thaddeus
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,552 times Debate No: 22147
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (3)

 

16kadams

Con

First round acceptance, clarification, and definitions.

Drugs:

illegal drug

Definition
A drug whose production or use is prohibited or strictly controlled via prescription.
http://www.businessdictionary.com...

Basically I argue the current illegal drugs SHOULD NOT BE LEGALIZED. My opponent argues for total drug legalization.

Format:

first round acceptance
second round arguments (refutations if pro feels the need)
Third refutations more arguments if needed
Fourth refutations and closing.

Pretty normal format. I hope this debate is fun XD
Thaddeus

Pro

I accept. I trust there won't be any semantics and hope that we both enjoy the debate.
Also no-one with more than 3 "x"s in their username may vote on this debate. If they really want to, they must pm me a video of them hopping on the spot singing "St Elmo's Fire" in its entirety. Anyone who wants to do this of their own volition may also do so.
Debate Round No. 1
16kadams

Con

That's an interesting voter rule... Anyway I also hope this debate will be enjoyably.

C1: Drugs are unhealthy and legalization will lead to more users

It is well known these illegal drugs are some of the worst things for you on the planet. Meth, for example, has long term effects of severe dental problems and AIDS/HIV for injection users. [1] Some users that inject the drug face hepatitis problems too. [1] (all illegal inject able drugs face these problems) Heroin has the same problems of meth (AIDS) but causes other malfunctions in breathing and poses a major overdose problem. [2] Although alcohol sage is far more common then drug usage, the numbers of people dying from illegal drugs and alcohol isn't that far apart. [3]

M opponent and I will likely agree on the part where I claim drugs are harmful. The part we will disagree on is the decrease users part. Before one can determine whether or not legalization will increase users, one must look at deterrence theory. Deterrence theory states harsher punishments and consequences deters people from committing acts with these punishments in place. [4] If this is true one can assume that legalization that brings less punishment will increase overall users, but does this correlate with the facts? Yes, it does.

When opium was legal in the US there where twice as many opium addict as there are today. [5] The 1914 Harrison Act was the first major anti drug legislation, this bill lead to a large decline in narcotic users. [5] When 11 states decriminalized Marijuana they say an increase of users by about 51%. [5] When tougher laws on marijuana came about they say a 57% decrease in marijuana users. [5]

According to these statistics legalization leads to more drug usage, and tougher laws lead to less usage of these drugs. This indicates laxer laws lead to more usage. [5]

---> Sub Point: Teen Drug Problems

Illicit teen drug usage for 12th grade is 52%. [6] (52% of them have used drugs). 9.9% of children use marijuana before the age of 13, and 40% have tried it in their high school years. [7] Almost 8% of kids have used meth! [7] There is a drug problem in this country, and as I have stated legalization would increase users. If legalization would increase users, then why legalize it and make the drug problem worse?

C2: Would not stop illegal smuggling

One common argument is legalization would stop the drug cartels. This is actually quite false. The drug cartels could actually enter the legal market to sell to older people. They would likely stay in the illegal business for adults as well as we would likely have a hefty tax on the drugs and they could sell it illegally for much lower costs. They could also change their marketing more towards young people. There would likely be an age limit of 18 and older, those in the younger sector would likely be a hug profit to the smugglers would also then focus on the younger crowd. As young people are more addictive, and them getting hooked young increases the chances o adult drug usage [7], them focusing on the younger age group flooded with new users (legalization increases users) their attention would even WORSEN the youth drug problem and trafficking would not stop.

C3: International law

The UN has passed international legislation made to fight a drug war against narcotics. [8] The US and several other countries have actually signed this legislation, hereby forced to follow its provisions. [9] As we have already signed these treaties to keep these substances banned, it is technically illegal to allow drugs, unless we call for a UN to repeal this legislation. I highly doubt this will happen anytime soon, therefore we CANT legalize drugs.

C4: legalization would increase crime

1/5 murders are actually linked to drug usage. [10] Drug usage is linked to hundred of crime every year. [10]


http://www.justice.gov...

If legalization increases users then crime would increase.

"According to the 1999 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) study, more than half of arrestees for violent crimes test positive for drugs at the time of their arrest." [11].

Conclusion:


Drug legalization would increase users and crime through the increased usership. And we technically CAN NOT legalize drugs due to international law that we signed. Vote Con.








[1] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[2] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[3] http://www.justice.gov...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.justice.gov...
[6] http://www.teendrugabuse.us...
[7] http://www.justice.gov...
[8] http://www.unodc.org...
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[10] Jeffry Rogers, "Heroin: The Shocking Story," April 1988
[11] http://www.justice.gov...
Thaddeus

Pro

Thank you 16Kadams. I hope this is an entertaining round.

Introduction
My opponent uses three main arguments to support his case that drugs should be illegal in the US; legalization leads to more users, that it would not prevent smuggling, and that it would increase crime.
I shall rebut each in turn, and the provide counter arguments to demonstrate why legalizing drugs is the only tenable position.

I would note at this point that con's argument is well sourced generally by con, but severaly lacking in the vital areas. His arguments also contain many non-sequitors and assertions without warrant causing his contentions to fall flat and offer no credible weight.

I would also like to discuss the BoP. Every law must have justification otherwise it is pointless and profligant. Therefore if Con fails to make any susbtantial arguments, it must be assumed that drug legalisation should be considered the logical option.

Before getting to the meat of the arguments I would like to address C3. To give it a place with the rest of the arguments would be to give it credence far above its station.
To those who are reading this late at night (or early in the morning - in which case go back to sleep), the argument that since the US government is incapable of legalizing drugs so therefore shouldn't is irrelevent and false for a multitude of reasons.
The first is that the resolution clearly states the drugs should be legal in the US, not that the US government should make them legal. Therefore the mechanism by which this occurs is utterly irrelevent. Secondly the assertion that because something can not happen, it should not is a fallacy, namely the"is-ought" fallacy[1]. Thirdly, the assertion that it is impossible is unwarranted. To repeal the agreement would be perfectly possible for the US, considering its rather significant influence on the UN. (In addition the treaty is mostly concerned with legal protection for the states which make it illegal for the purposes of extradition or other international concerns [2])

C1
My opponent argues that more people would use drugs if they are legal
My simple response to this: is so what? This argument is begging the question. Why should the state be concerned with people choosing to harm themselves freely? All my opponent has shown is that the governments interference with this industry is causing significant market distortions. My opponents reference to detterence theory assumes that detterence is beneficial or desirable. This is a completely unproven assumption.

C2
This argument was incredibly weak. Con makes several unproven assertions which fly in the face of basic economics and common sense. His conclusive assertion is that making drugs legal would not prevent smuggling (read black markets). For the record I do not support a tax on drugs so the assertion that there would still be a black market for drugs is bizarre. The black market would be completely unnecessary. Even on fairly heavily taxed goods like alcohol, the black markets are relatively limited [3]. Black markets can only exist if there are significant barriers to the "white" market [4]. In this case the barrier is the legality of the drug. Therefore cartels which rely on the illegality of drugs to ensure their existence in the black market, would either have to become legitimate corporations, or they would fail to compete in the market.

C4 - Drug legalisation would increase crime
Actually it is trivial to demonstrate the opposite being true. In fact seeing as non-violent drug related offences accounted for 1,663,582 arrests in 2009, it seems rather obvious that there would be much less crime (for those who haven't had their coffee, legalizing drugs would mean these people are no longer committing a crime by using drugs and thus the crime stats would fall).
My opponent also makes the hilarious assertion without warrant that "If legalization increases users then crime would increase". He is suggesting that because a certain number of people who committed crimes used drugs, that this suggests that the drugs caused the crime. This is known as a post hoc fallacy [6]. I am pretty sure that most of those criminals breathed oxygen, but it would be foolish to determine this as a causual agent of their crimes.

Counter arguments
These shall be split into two halves: why it is practical to legalize drugs and why it is ethical to legalize drugs

Economic Costs

Cost of the war on drugs
Every year the war on drugs costs the US taxpayer 44 billion dollars[10]. It is estimated that the opportunity cost of keeping drugs illegal is 76 billion dollars [11]. This is an unnecessary burden on the US tax payer. One could afford to buy every American a decent amount of weed with that kind of money.

Cost of keeping so many non-violent individuals in prison
As stated earlier, a huge number of people in jail (22% of prison population [9]) are there on non violent drug related offences [5]. The costs of keeping so many people in jail would be significant. Given that the total cost of the prisons is $68,747,203,000 [9], being able to reduce the prison capacity by 20% would result in large cost reductions.

Cost to the users of drugs
Heh. Making drugs illegal allows the black market to impose higher prices than normal market influences would dictate. This creates unnecessary costs for the drug user population.

Ethics
The basis of the ethical system I shall be using is the non-aggression principle. For reference I derive this from argumentation ethics. For time reasons I shall not go into great detail here, unless my opponent contests these ethics as unreasonable.
The Non- Aggression principle (here's a trippy song for a fun explanation [7] or here for a slightly more comprehensive explanation for those not fond of trippy videos [8])
The non-aggression principle states that, simply, that it shall be legal for anyone to do anything he wants, provided only that he not initiate (or threaten) violence against the person or legitimately owned property of another. That is, in the free society, one has the right to manufacture, buy or sell any good or service at any mutually agreeable terms. It is trivial to see why drug usuage is not inherently unethical. One has self-ownership, and usuage of any susbstance on oneself, no matter how harmful, is moral.
However, for another agent, in this case the government, to employ physical force against someone despite them not violating the non-aggression principle, would be unethical.
Hence making drugs illegal is unethical.

To conclude, my opponent has made no compelling case for keeping drugs illegal, whilst I have demonstrated that there is a strong moral and practical case for legalising drugs.

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.wisegeek.com...
[5] http://www2.fbi.gov...
[6] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[7]
[8] http://www.lewrockwell.com...
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[10] http://blogs.reuters.com...
[12] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
16kadams

Con

My opponent claims my C3 is irrelevant as the resolution does not say the words government. Legalization is defined as to make something lawful, aka repealing a law. [1] And a law is a rule made for the community by some authority, and is enforces by legislation or a judicial process. [2] As we are not an anarchy in the US, and it is done by some authority through legislation, the resolution implies that this is about the government. So C3 stands.

D1: Legalization will increase users

My opponents argument is basically conceding the point to me, and then asks so what? To prove this will have an effect is show how drugs are unhealthy, and have effects on the people around the users. First, parents who are on drugs are afraid to seek help in fear their children will be taken away. [3] Now why is this a problem? If legalization increases users there will be more parents on drugs not getting help therefore hurting the youth. My opponent will likely counter this by saying the reason they are scared is because it is illegal. Even f it was legal child protective services may take away the children regardless. So if legalization increases users more of these cases will occur. The effects drug users family or close friends is depression, and it also may harm the way the family is set up. [3, 4] Drugs not only effect the users, but also effect everyone near him/her. The point is drug legalization will harm many more people then it already does.

D2: Smuggling

My point here is enforcement is the best way to fight smuggling. Banning it may hurt the black market overtime as its goal (and has been working ok so far) has been to discourage people from using drugs, and this constricts black market profit. [5] Also the black market argument is true for tobacco. In NY the higher cigarette taxes are luring people to the black market for cheaper tobacco. [6] The point is my argument stands as it is simple... nature. If it costs a lot we will go to the lack market. Society and the goverment will tax and regulate the business therefore raising prices, then people go to where its cheap: The black market. Legalization WILL NOT end the black market for currently illegal drugs.

D3: International law

See above.

D4: Crime

My opponent claims there have been almost 2 million drug arrests, but what he hasn't forgotten is those people where arrested for other reasons, and then the drug charge was slapped on to seal the deal. Only 700 people where arrested for solely drug usage. [7] Also, as one can see from my argument, I was mainly focused on violent crime and robbery. Drug usage changes behavior, and therefore makes you more likely to commit a crime. [8] Increased addiction rates will happen when we legalize drugs, [9] which it is now logical to assume they will now commit more crimes with the newly found increased addiction rates.

--> Quick summary of my arguments:

1. Drugs hurt the user and everyone around him, legalization will increase users, this means more people are negativity effected by drugs
2. Legalization may not end smuggling.
3. We can't legalize drugs by treaty.
4. Drugs cause people to become aggressive and cause them to commit crimes, and increased users from legalization would increase crime.

--> His case

Rc1: ECONOMIC COSTS

The case here is it is a huge portion of spending. Drug war spending seems high as people are really bad with visualizing large numbers, they hear the billion/million and jaw drop. But if you look at it, drug spending is a very minor part of the budget. [10]



(see source 10)

It is only 11 billion dollars, welfare for example is almost one trillion, pensions one trillion, and defense is near one trilion. [11] Drug spending is minor compared to everything else.

Rc2: Jail costs

As I have stated the number of people in jail only for drug usage is a mere 700 people. And most of these non violent drug users get treatment (rehab) and jail time. [12] For visial aid I will have a grap showing how rare it is to have only drug posssion as your only offense (data from one state)


(see source 12)

As we can see there are very few soely drug usage crimes. And the majority of them get treatment, [12] something drug legalizers say they support.


Rc3: Cost to users

The market would still exist if legal.

Rc4: Ethics

The argument here is the non-agression principle. people that belive in this are against all crime. [13] (robbery and such) As drugs cause crime one could argue banning it is now in their interests. (that video is stuck in my head agh!!)

As the non-agression principle as my opponent states is against violence, they should be pro drug illegalization as drugs cause people to commit these acts of violence, and as it is bad for famly and freinds.

My opponents argument also lies upon it is my right to use drugs etc. Well first basic civil rights argue or prohibitive drug laws. Also there is no right if it infringes on life or pursuit of happiness. well see this:

"The notion that illicit drug use is a victimless crime and that everyone should be free to do what they want with their body disregards the web of social interactions that constitute human existence. Affected by an individual’s illicit drug use are children, parents, grandparents, friends, colleagues, work, victims of drugged drivers, crime victims, elder abuse, sexual victims, patients made sicker by medical marijuana etc. Illicit drug use is no less victimless than alcoholism." [14]

As it unfiringes on this there is no right to drugs, and banning it is ok.

Vote Con. (sorry if I was short)





[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...;
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3] http://www.mqi.ie...;
[4] Barnard, M (2005) Drugs in the Family - The Impact on Parents and Siblings. University of Glasgow
[5] http://www.justice.gov...
[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[7] http://www.sarnia.com...
[8] http://www.justice.gov...
[9] http://www.justice.gov...
[10] http://www.justice.gov...
[11] http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...
[12] http://www.justice.gov...
[13] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[14] Drug Free Australia "arguments for Prohibition"
Thaddeus

Pro

Introduction
Generally a pretty weak round from con. He ignores substantial parts of my arguments and continues to make non-sequitors despite them having been exposed to him. He also insists on using C3 (no matter how poorly he argues for it) as an argument. I have complied and organized it with the others.
Repeatedly my opponent makes the egregious error of assuming that non-violent drug crime is limited only to drug usuage. Obviously it applies to drug selling too.

C1
I conceded that many drugs can be harmful and that removing market distortions will increase demand. These are basic facts. However, what my opponent has utterly failed to do is demonstrate why these facts mean that drugs should be illegal. He merely iterates that drugs have harmful effects. I ask again; so what? He has not demonstrated that any body has the right to intervene to prevent an individual making a free choice which may have consequences for themselves. The individuals are choosing the utility gained from using the drugs over the utility lost from the health risks. Any body deciding that they can make that choice for other people and then forcibly enforcing this decision would be acting unethically (see ethics arguments).
There are many products which are legal which are harmful to the individual; TVs and digital devices with small LCD screens can harm the eyesight, the bag of pretzels I am eating right now contains a dangerous amount of salt, Jersey Shore has caused premature mind rot in thousands and alcohol ismarvellous is very harmful. These are well documented dangers, yet the products remain legal.
Should these be made illegal the number of users would decrease. Does this mean they should be illegal? Of course not! People should have the freedom to harm themselves in any manner they please.
This argument must be considered completely irrevelent.

C2
Here my opponent shows a worrying lack of knowledge of how black markets work, despite my explanation provided last round.
Black markets are formed by some sort of government artificial market distortion being imposed upon a market. This could be tax or a law. If there was no law decreeing the use or purchase/selling of drugs to be illegal to provide this market distortion, a black market could not exist, as it wouldn't be profitable and therefore smuggling cartels could not exist.
My opponent makes a bizzarrely ignorant assertion:
"Banning it may hurt the black market overtime as its goal (and has been working ok so far) has been to discourage people from using drugs, and this constricts black market profit."
As explained before, the oposite is true. Banning drugs is the only thing that keeps the black market in existence.
If we do decide to legalize but not tax (a position I do not support, and a proposition utterly irrelevent to the debate at hand), it would still reduce the size of the black market massively, as they would only be able to charge market prices, rather than at inflated costs as a result of the removal of some of the market distortions.
This argument must be considered utterly false and self-defeating in that it is easy to demonstrate that legalizing drugs would reduce smuggling.

C3
My opponent drops my second and third reasons why this argument is irrelevent. This alone would be sufficient for me to consider this argument dropped.
However, I shall also point out the foolishness in my opponents counter argument. He makes the non-sequitor leap that laws must be made by an authority to; that authority must be the government in this resolution. If the legal entity prevent legalization is a UN treaty, then that is the mechanism by which the resolution pertains. This is obvious, and frankly it is disappointing that my opponent keeps persuing this line of argument.

C4
The latter two of con's links do not work, so I cannot see to what "facts" I am responding. The first link is an essay with no direction as to where the facts can be found. However, I managed to find the supposed statistic; its source was "40. "MTV Show Favors Drug Legalization," Drug Policy Report 1 September 1994.". This source does not corroborate the supposed foundings. Therefore, in this case my source should be given preference.
Furthermore, it is irrelevent whether only 700 where arrested for drug usuage only. It does not take into account the vast many more numbers who were arrested for selling drugs only - these crime figures would fall vastly.
Con's latter two points are irrelevent; the violent acts commited under influence are the acts which should (and are) be illegal. If it were found that wearing a cone on your head made you more prone to violent acts, would it be sane to ban cones? Of course not! The violent acts are already illegal. We punish the act, not the conditions.
My opponent has also dropped my argument that he is using the post hoc fallacy.

At this point we can consider every single on of my opponents arguments thoroughly refuted.

Counter-arguments

Ethics.
My opponent claims that because drugs cause crime (an assertion totally unproven - he has still dropped my false causality argument) people in support of the NAP would be against drugs. I believe there are two ways of considering my opponent now:
a) he did not read my argument, which is quite rude
b) he is practicing some odd form of trollery, in which case I take my hat off to him.
To reiterate in the hope he reads this time; any act which does not initiate force against another or his property can not be considered unethical. To initiate force is unehtical. There is no way that the use of drugs can fall into the unethical catagory, and no way the prevention of use of drugs can fall into the ethical catagory.

His next argument also demonstrates a sheer lack of comprehension:

"My opponents argument also lies upon it is my right to use drugs etc. Well first basic civil rights argue or prohibitive drug laws. Also there is no right if it infringes on life or pursuit of happiness"

It should be obvious that at no point ever on the planet in any sane persons mind could the NAP be advocating a positive liberty as my opponent suggests it does. His argument here is incredibly bizarre. The NAP advocates negative liberties; that there are things you don't do to others, such as initiate force. As drugs do not fall into any form of iniation of force they must be ethical.
I would heavily recommend my opponent reads my argument carefully for the next round if he wishes to have a chance of winning.

Practicality
1. Economic - percentages are irrelevent. If it is doing something bad (see above), we should be spending no money on it. Furthermore, your source does not include all costs of the drug war - the 11 billion statistic is not true as of 2009.

2.
700 statistic only refers to drug users. Everyone else referred in my statistic was (by process of elimination) a drug seller. They would be out of jail too.
Thus the savings here still stand.

3.
The additional cost to users caused by a black market price distortions. The black market wouldn't exist if there were no taxes on the drugs (as has been trivially proven above). If it were legal and taxed (again something irrelevent to the resolution and something I don't support) the black market would charge at under the white market prices.

Conclusion
Overall, the last round from my opponent was notably poor. His arguments were weak and his counter-arguments a mixture of red-herrings and poor reading comprehension.
Debate Round No. 3
16kadams

Con

yeah its going to take an act of god for me to win this debate, as my last round was a fail :P. As I doubt a miracle can happen to let me win this debate, so I concede. Vote Pro.
Thaddeus

Pro

Fair enough. I respect that.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
Zaradi
Thaddeus, I will let you know I shall be making a multi-account with seven 'x's in them so I can send you a video of me hopping while singing "St. Elmo's Fire".
Posted by Thaddeus 2 years ago
Thaddeus
God, I'm easily distrac... bunny!
Posted by Thaddeus 2 years ago
Thaddeus
Righty ho. Time to write my round.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
but yeah I am losing ^__^
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
I did in fast :P
Posted by Thaddeus 2 years ago
Thaddeus
16K, I'm not going to sugarcoat this; that was pretty poor.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
pretty pictures :)
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
good :)
Posted by Thaddeus 2 years ago
Thaddeus
K. I'm not going to be able to post tonight (or if I do it will be lateish). However, do not worry - I will not forfeit!
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
Ok
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
16kadamsThaddeusTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 2 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
16kadamsThaddeusTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: I picked up on Con's fallacies even before being aptly eviscerated by Pro. Con had generally weak syllogisms, many of which only included assertions. Pro did a good job of making sense of the entire debate, putting economic reality and moral consequences into perspective. Con used a source from 2004 to argue about a drug war being waged in 2012... He used mostly government sources, which are usually pro-drug war and anti-reality. Big government loses the argument yet again.
Vote Placed by TheDiabolicDebater 2 years ago
TheDiabolicDebater
16kadamsThaddeusTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded at the end.