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The Contender
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In the United States, Marijuana should be legal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,535 times Debate No: 10851
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




I debated this in class recently and it proved to be a really interesting topic that people got into, so thought I'd try to replicate that on here. You know unless koopin goes and accepts the debate without arguing at all...

First off the definition of Legalized is a tricky one, however for this debate I will define it the same way tobacco is, available at age 18 but illegal until then.

With that I'll move onto my contentions on the high and unnecessary cost, the beneficial effects of legalization and that the current prohibition causes more hard than good.

First off we have to look at the current cost of marijuana prohibition. (1) According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron we are currently spending roughly 13 billion dollars on the enforcement of marijuana prohibition per year. (1) In addition, if it were legal and taxed comparably to alcohol and tobacco the US would receive an estimated 6.7 billion in additional tax revenue. This means more money for public spending and less money for the drug dealers and international suppliers, something I will expand on in my third contention.

Second, the beneficial effects of legalization. (2) John DiNardo, an economist now at the University of Michigan performed a study as states changed the drinking age to 21 that compared use of other drugs as the drinking age was increased. In the study it was shown that among high school seniors there was 4.5 percent decrease in drinking and a 2.4 percent increase in getting high. This experiment suggests that an availability of marijuana could lower alcohol consumption. While another study showed a 30% increase in cannabis use lead to about a 10% decrease in alcohol use. However alcohol use leads to thousands of deaths in the US each year, with barely any from cannabis, so trading one for the other seems like an alright deal. This is in addition to the tax revenue and the benefits from a whole new industry opening up.

And third, the current prohibition does not protect this country but in fact aids criminal undergrounds and invites in more gangs and illegal activity. The lack of legitimate marijuana supplies has lead to several problems, its led to massive plantations forming in our own public forests (3), an increased presence of drug cartels in the US and more and more smuggling from foreign countries, especially Mexico. (4)

In summation the current prohibition is irresponsible and give us nothing but wasted money and increased crime. We need to reform the current laws to ones that will actually benefit the US.



I would like to first begin by thanking my opponent for raising a rather current, and interesting topic. I have participated in many pro arguments for the leagalization of cannabis, and thought I might give the other side a try. I will first lay out my case, which will refute some of my opponents points.

Contention 1: Marijuana leagalization has failed in other countries that have attempted its leagalization.

Contrary to my opponents claims based off of theoretical studies, and mathematical calculations, I have provided interesting results from countries that have attempted this leagalization of cannabis, and have failed. As reported in a article, rates of the use of cannabis in European nations with less restrictive laws regarding use of cannabis have increased. Some European drug prevention experts, such as David Raynes (National Drug Prevention Alliance in Great Britain ) reject cannabis legalization after seeing the impact it has had on the Netherlands. "No country alone, (as the Dutch have found to their cost) can operate a policy which is substantially more liberal than neighbors, without suffering from "drug tourism" or, as in the Dutch situation, a larger pool of cannabis-linked criminality than it would otherwise have. There is the big lie that legalising drugs will take the criminality out of supply. What nonsense. Illegal traders who pay no taxes of any sort can always undercut legitimate traders."

Contention 2 - The failure in other countries suggests a bleak fate for the United States if cannabis is leagalized

This report suggests what will happen if the United States leagalizes cannabis.

The leagalizing of cannabis in the United States will do absolutely nothing to stop illegal development and sale of cannabis. If nothing, it will encourage it. If less tolerant laws are made in the US regarding cannabis leagalization, there will be less investigation into illegal sale and distribution of cannabis. As a result, this will increase, and the money spent on regulating a legal from of cannabis sale and distribution will go to waste, as cannabis consumers will go to the illegal route (as they currently are) to purchase cheaper, and larger quantities of the drug. Now, if the United States government decides to pursue the illegal sale of cannabis, which due to its leagality would be much easier to hide from authorities, then the United States would be spending the same amout of money they do currently investigating illegal sale/distribution of marijuana, along with providing support and regulation to those companies that would produce cannabis. Therefore, abiding by either potential scenario the United States would actually LOSE money by leagalizing cannabis. In addition, seeing as marijuana is in fact a narcotic, with that leagalization would come a new force and press for the leagalization of all drugs; which effects would be catastrophic on the US.

In addition, as seen in the prohibition on alcohol, once cannabis is leagalized, there will be no turning back for the United States, if the plan fails (as it clearly will), it is irreversable, this is not the way to jump start the United States economy, a country that was built from innovation and freedom, a country that is seen as much more on a global specturm, one with large influence on the world economically, and militarily, a nation that has everything to lose, and on that can not afford the unecessary risk of leagalizing marijuana.

Other attempts at cannabis or drug leagalization:

The Swiss Experiment: Tolerant drug policies in Switzerland have resulted in an influx of drug users. In 1987, the Swiss Government permitted drug use and sales in a part of Zurich called Platzspitz, or "Needle Park." By 1992, over 20,000 drug users congregated in the park, and the surrounding areas were overrun with crime. The park has been shut down and the experiment has been terminated.

The Canadian Experiment: The aggressive decriminalization effort in Canada has resulted in the highest levels of pot use in 25 years. The Canadian Government released a report indicating that marijuana usage had increased to the same levels as the late 1970's. Kids were getting mixed messages about the dangers of marijuana during the 1990's when the decriminalization discussion was going on. According to the November 24, 2004 Canada Addiction Survey, marijuana use among Canadians has doubled since 1994. A decade earlier, 7.4% of respondents indicated they had used marijuana; usage levels are currently 14%.

In Ireland, the number of children treated for mental disorders caused by smoking cannabis has quadrupled since the government downgraded the legal status of the drug, according to an article in the Sunday Times (September 18, 2005). Addaction, an Irish drug charity, told the Times that "three months after police stopped arresting anyone found in possession of small amounts of the drug, the overall number of users treated for such conditions rose 42%."

Debate Round No. 1


applesnacks forfeited this round.


Seeing as my opponent has forfeited this round, there is little for me to add; As my opponent commented that he would post an argument respondng to mine, I will anticipate my opponents cooperation throughout the rest of the debate.
Debate Round No. 2


applesnacks forfeited this round.


Seeing as my opponent has once again forefit a round, I can only assume he will not conted in the remainder of the debate, therfore I urge a vote in the Negation.
Debate Round No. 3


applesnacks forfeited this round.


Seeing as my opponent has, in a sense, given up on this debate, I must urge a vote in the negation of this resolution.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by alyssa_16 8 years ago
ha i agree
Posted by Koopin 8 years ago
BigBird wins..
Posted by applesnacks 8 years ago
FYI i fully intend to complete this debate, just trying to find time to write it all out
Posted by Freeman 8 years ago
Only a fascist would take this.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
Was going to take this if opponent was CON, but alas!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by BigBird 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Koopin 8 years ago
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Total points awarded:04