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Legalization of Marijuana

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/13/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,188 times Debate No: 34758
Debate Rounds (3)
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Hello all, I will be arguing for the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in the United States (to at least a level equivalent to that of alcohol's) . I will begin by presenting a few main statements and their subset points if they apply. I respectfully request for my opponent to refute them, then I will challenge their arguments. This is simply to establish a sense of organization, please and thank you. Also feel free to add any points you may have or to not address any of mine that you choose (if you don't however, I will assume you either acknowledge my point or cannot refute it). I do not wish to focus on other drugs besides cannabis although I intend to mention them for argumentative purposes if necessary. If you do not understand anything I say, simply ask and I will clarify, no need to be rude.

My Arguments
1.There will be little to no negative effects to the country/society from marijuana's legalization.
a) Marijuana is not addictive.
b)Marijuana is physically impossible to overdose on
c) Marijuana's supposed "negative" effects, whether long term or short, are negligible, and many of which cannot credibly be declared true.
d) The Gateway theory is fundamentally flawed
e) Marijuana's intoxicating effects are not harmful to the users or others within itself (i.e. causing aggressiveness or other adverse changes to mood or perception), and therefore responsibility is placed on the user.
f) Youth's access to marijuana will not be increased by legalization but will in fact be decreased
g) assuming it is true that marijuana's potency has increased since the 1900's, it is an irrelevant fact seeing as how the negative effects remain unchanged.

2. There will be a plethora of positive effects resulting from marijuana's legalization.
a) The revenue saved and made from marijuana's legalization will be substantial and much needed to the country
b)The medical benefits of marijuana would benefit many of its citizens, saving lives and creating a greater quality of life for many
c) Legalization will allow regulation of cannabis and therefore a greater degree of damage control. (i.e. preventing child access, stopping drugged driving)
d) Legalization will improve society by ending prosecution and punishment of responsible, contributing citizens simply for committing the victimless crime of consuming marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.
e)Cannabis integration would benefit our culture and uphold our rights as a nation under the constitution.
f ) Violent crime revolving around marijuana will cease.

3.Marijuana Prohibition altogether is a colossal failure.
a)The whole purpose of prohibition is to prevent use nationwide, yet, marijuana use is still very prevalent.
b)Because of point a, the adverse societal effects of marijuana (however miniscule) are in effect despite of prohibition, therefore prohibition is purposeless.
c)It is exactly the same as the 20's alcohol prohibition save for the failure to end it.

4. It is not the governments place to tell us how to live, but to protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all.
a) Proof of the government's failure to do this is how a constitutional amendment was needed to sign alcohol prohibition into law (and is now beng used to prohibit marijuana). This proves that the views this nation was built on differ from those that allow/support prohibition.


Before I begin, I would first like to thank Pro for this opportunity and I would like to point out that my personal opinion on this is non-partisan (meaning I can see both the good and bad in the legalization of marijuana). As I have done in previous debates, I will begin with my refutations and then make my claim.

"1. There will be little to no negative effects to the country/society from marijuana's legalization."
A) "Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction; that is, people have difficulty controlling their drug use and cannot stop even though it interferes with many aspects of their lives. It is estimated that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. The number goes up to about 1 in 6 in those who start using young (in their teens) and to 25-50 percent among daily users. Moreover, a study of over 300 fraternal and identical twin pairs found that the twin who had used marijuana before the age of 17 had elevated rates of other drug use and drug problems later on, compared with their twin who did not use before age 17." (1) This statement ipso facto disproves Pro's absolute claim of addiction.

B) The term overdose in this sense asks "if used too much, can you die?" The answer is no, but there are severe side affects such as anxiety attacks and psychosis (2).

C) The effects of marijuana have been proven and the effects, while at first minimal compared to continued use, are not exactly negligible (3).

D) While there have been several studies observing the idea behind Gateway Theory, it is still a theory, and thus cannot necessarily be coined as "fundamentally flawed." That being said, there have been successful studies finding that - to an extent - the theory has been useful (4).

E) The "intoxicating effects" of marijuana can harm the user if overused (as mentioned before), however the "responsibility" of the user and the non-harmful effects on others are both points that are evident and agreeable.

F) The claim that legalization will help decrease the youth access to the drug is a slippery slope and cannot be regarded as true. That said there have been studies that have shown youth has received more access to the drug (5).

G) "The negative effects remain unchanged" is incorrect and is also a contradiction to the previous statement of increasing potency. Look at the history of marijuana and you will see why (6).

"2. There will be a plethora of positive effects resulting from marjuana's legalization."
A) In a 2010 Cato Institute study, they show how the government would create rough $8.7 billion upon the legalization of country (7). While this is a good idea consider two items: 1) the government and its resource allocation throughout the last thirteen years alone have been all over the chart and have spent on unwise resources that have affected the economy several ways [8] and 2) the liabilities far outweigh the benefits within the context of the government.

B) While there are medical benefits of marijuana, the process of receiving medicinal marijuana requires a fee as well as a condition that allows for medicinal marijuana (9). The idea that it would create a "greater quality of life for many" cannot be determined.

C) The legalization would allow for the regulation of cannabis, but that does not necessarily mean it will be regulated and by extension create a greater degree of damamge control.

D) The legalization and legality of marijuana fall hand-in-hand, but the fact remains that certain states still consider it illegal and is thus prosecutable unless for medicinal purposes. Regardless of the reasons behind recreational use, marijuana is illegal - under set guidelines - in many places. If the reason for putting this under the economic activity is due to the lessening of litigation, refer to point A above in regards to government spending.

E) "Cannabis integration" and its benefits are continuing factors in the debate for legalization, but are variable and few. As for the rights of the nation, that can be a completely different topic for discussion and I will not refute it here due to make this debate more consistent.

F) Claiming violent crime will cease with regards to marijuana is an absolute and cannot be accounted. It is possible that some, or much crime will end, but to claim the absolute is fallacious.

"3.Marijuana Prohibition altogether is a colossal failure."
A) While I agree marijuana use is "very pevalent," the definition of prohibition is not to "prevent use nationwide," prohibition is defined as "the act of prohibiting by authority" (10).

B) In extension to point (A), prohibition is not "purposeless" because it is not limited to marijuana, alcohol, or any legal matter.

C) To say that marijuana prohibition is similar to the alcohol prohibition is both irrelevant and fallacious. Marijuana and alcohol are two seperate entities and both have their own effects and defects.

"4. It is not the governments place to tell us how to live, but to protect the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all."
A) While I completely agree with you on the above statement, the government has been telling how to live even before the alcohol prohibition (i.e. slavery, ownership of land, etc.) and there is no doubt that the Founding Fathers would be shocked (for many reasons) at how America has evolved.

The legalization of marijuana is one of the few legal arguments that I, personally, do not lean to one side or another; but rather, I hold the belief there is a fine line between the prohibiting of marijuana and its legalization and how it is detrimental and how it it can be beneficial. There is no doubting that marijuana is beneficial in its medicinal purposes (9) and that the legalization can very well create a vast income for the nation (7). However, as I mentioned earlier, the government has made many expenditures in the past (e.g. defense vs. budgetary, health vs. defense, etc.) where many have become upset. Even with the legalization of marijuana, there is still a risk for the youth access regardless of regulation or not, and there will continue to be both postive and negative effects. A main question at hand is how much will the benefits outweight the liabilities and vice versa. With all that has been mentioned, there will still exist the argument for how much legalization can be made and where, when, and why. It is thus that I believe the government should weigh the liabilities and benefits and take in to account the results and make a decision based on all that has been mentioned by Pro and and myself.

Debate Round No. 1


I would like to first apologize for the delayed response. I thank con for accepting this debate. In response to your comment on my previous debate. I simply wish to debate multiple people on the same subject (because I feel strongly about it). I hope this is not a problem. Also, many of your reference sites have a not found error, please try to make sure you are giving the correct links as to allow for clearer communication.

A) Firstly, there are many reasons to doubt the accuracy of your studies. There are several underlying reasons that can cause the study results to be inaccurate with regards to the actual rates of "addiction.""There is only scant evidence that marijuana produces physical dependence and withdrawal in humans. When human subjects were administered daily oral doses of 180-210 mg of THC - the equivalent of 15-20 joints per day - abrupt cessation produced adverse symptoms, including disturbed sleep, restlessness, nausea, decreased appetite, and sweating. The authors interpreted these symptoms as evidence of physical dependence. However, they noted the syndrome's relatively mild nature and remained skeptical of its occurrence when marijuana is consumed in usual doses and situations. Indeed, when humans are allowed to control consumption, even high doses are not followed by adverse withdrawal symptoms. Signs of withdrawal have been created in laboratory animals following the administration of very high doses. The most avid publicizers of marijuana's addictive nature are treatment providers who, in recent years, have increasingly admitted insured marijuana users to their programs. The increasing use of drug-detection technologies in the workplace, schools and elsewhere has also produced a group of marijuana users who identify themselves as "addicts" in order to receive treatment instead of punishment (1). Even assuming the credibility of your studies, it is proven that marijuana is less addictive than caffeine at a physical level (2) (10). Therefore, the issue cannot be against physical dependence, but physchological dependence. However, it is possible to become physchologically addicted to almost anything (i.e. sex, internet, candy). Unless all these things are also to be deemed "illegal and dangerous," I fail to see the relevance of marijuana's psychological dependence with regards to it's legalization.

B) Yes, that is what I meant and thank you for agreeing. With regards to the adverse side effects. "It is conceivable that excessive use of cannabis sometimes contributes to acute schizophrenic episodes. But it is difficult to believe that cannabis is a strong risk factor for this disorder, because there is no evidence that the incidence of schizophrenia has risen dramatically over the past 50 years, in parallel with the huge increase in cannabis use. Young schizophrenic patients are often heavy cigarette smokers too, but no-one would suggest that tobacco causes schizophrenia (3)." This source comments similarly on psychosis,"Cannabis psychosis is self-limiting, disappearing in a few days with or without medical treatment. Toxic psychosis probably occurs more commonly in individuals with preexisting psychiatric disorders (4)."

C) Your linked page was "not found." until you provide a working link your claim of the effects not being negligible is not credible.
While many of the supposed serious adverse effects are questioned (5), the actual side effects are negligible (i.e. slight paranoia, short term memory loss).

D) I was refering to the gateway theory as a statement, and it's logical foundation, as being flawed. It's basis is, afterall, a logical fallacy (Faulty Cause, the first one (6)).

E) By "intoxicating effects," I am referring to changes in mood or perception (i.e. calmness, coordination). You have yet to touch on such effects being inherently harmful. And, thank you for agreeing with me on the other points.

F) My claim cannot be a slippery slope fallacy seeing as how it is based on fact. Fact provide by studies from a country with much more sensible cannabis policies (7). While the credibility of your provided study is questionable seeing as how there is no way to accurately study youth use of a legal, age restricted, substance in a country where it is illegal.

G) My statement cannot be considered a contradiction since the potency of cannabis's euphoric effects is not neccesarily linked to the negligible negative effects. Also, I found nothing on your site supporting your point, please quote what you specifically are pointing out.

A) 1) What should happen and what has happened are two completely different things. Meaning that the government's misuse of revenue is irrelevant to the fact that the nation needs it. Besides, it could'nt hurt. 2) Within the context of government? Explain please.

B) I fail to see the relevance of current procecess of receiving medical marijuana with regards to full legalization. And, it can in fact be determined that an increase in quality of life results from use in patients (8).

C) It is strongly suggested by evidence that damage control is in fact more prevalent with more permissive policies leaning towards legalization (7) (9).

D) How exactly does stating current policies and noting the government's mishandling of revenue refute my claim?

E) Given that this debate has yet to be concluded, dubbing legalizations benefits as "variable and few" is presumptious. Especially if you have yet to refute my claims. And I am agreed with your second statement.

F) You are corrcet as I misstated my point. Violent crime with regards to the black market dealings and underground cartels of marijuana would cease since they would soon loose there customers upon legalization. Consumers would much rather prefer a friendly neighborhood store to a dark alley (10). But glad to see you at least acknowledge the possibility for reduction.

A) The specific definition of prohibition is irrelevant when considering the word's use on a political level. Marijuana prohibition was birthed from the war on drugs, the purpose of which was clearly to prevent use nationwide.

B) When I said purposeless, I was referring to marijuana's prohibition in the United States, not the word prohibition.

C) Regardless of the respective "effects and defects" of a drug, societal and political impacts of legalization/prohibition remain consistent (10). Marijuana prohibition pushed the drug into the underground market (because there will always be demand) exactly the same way it did with alcohol prohibition.

A) Agreed, however, I must again stress that the past error's of the government have nothing to do with what should be.

Contention Response
An interesting standing, I firmly beleive that no adverse effects can come from marijuana legalization. This is not only because of the lack of risk or danger associated with marijuana but also because nationwide marijuana use is still very prevalent despite prohibition (as con agreed). Therefore any adversities legalization would present are already being presented to us through marijuana prohibition (as stated in point 3C).

P.S. The videos are sources (8) (9) and (10) from top to bottom.

(3) Colin Blakemore, PhD, ScD, Chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of Oxford, wrote in a Dec. 27, 2002 email to
(4) Lynn Zimmer, PhD, late Professor Emeritus at the Queens College, noted in her 1997 book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts:


I post on behalf of current affairs going in my life, and I would like to formerly forfeit my segment of the debate in order to receive more time. I apologize to Pro for not being able to stay on very long, for I am very busy and I will have closing statements rather than have new arguments in the final round. Once again, I apologize.
Debate Round No. 2


While this is both surprising and dissapointing, I understand that life happens and will give my opponent the benefit of the doubt. Due to the forfeiture my arguements stand. I will be gld to debate you again any time. P.S. Voters, please keep in mind my inability to respond to con's "closing statements" should you decide to vote, thank you.


dylwal92 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Legitdebater 3 years ago
Just a pointer: Your arguments aren't legitimate if they can't be back up by sources. Use sources if you want any hope of winning this debate.
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