The Instigator
LimeJello_yummy
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
blamonkey
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Legalization of recreational marijuana in the U.S. would benefit the economy

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2016 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 501 times Debate No: 91290
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)

 

LimeJello_yummy

Pro

Rules:
First round is acceptance.

Debate the topic.
Forfieture will result in conduct points being awarded to the other position.
Obey the character limit (no google docs)
BOP is split.

I will be taking the stance that the legalization of recreational marijuana in the U.S. would benefit the economy.

To whoever accepts the challenge, I wish them good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
LimeJello_yummy

Pro

Thanks to blamonkey for accepting the challenge. Let's jump right in.

Legalization of recreational marijuana in the U.S. would benefit the economy in the following regards.

Taxes:

The legalization of recrational marijuana would generate billions of dollars in taxes for the government to spend on other beneficiary programs that might also benefit the economy. Legalization would generate tax revenue of an estimated $46.7 billion annually [1].

The cost of incarceration:

The cost to keep a prisoner incarcerated is an absolutely enourmous burden on taxpayers. It is estimated that it costs taxpayers a whopping $15,921,896,814 to house marijuana related inmates [2]. Although my own research shows that it may be even more, because source [2] bases this on the assumption that it costs $21,006 to house one inmate for a year, I hvae found other sources that state the value closer to $30,000 [3].

Decline of Organized Crime / Corporation and trading benefits:

Similar to the decline of organized crime following the repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933, legalization of recreational marijuana would cause the marijuana trade to cease in America entirely, causing gangs and other organizations to disband. This branches off into my next point.

The commercial availability of marijuana would cause business boom, employing countless citizens, getting people to spend money (always good for the economy), and generating a massive amount of revenue. Also since America is most definitly a world power, America's decision to legalize recrational marijuana has a good chance of causing a domino effect, making other nations see the benefits of legalization (employment and revenue) and legalizing it themselves. This would cause an international market to be crerated, opening up the U.S. to export it's recreational marijuana to other legalized nations, further increasing government profit and corporation revenue. With tons of foreign money being paid to the United States, we would inevitably see a increase in value for the dollar, which is good for everyone in the U.S.

*************************************************************************************************

I turn the argument to con.

blamonkey

Con

Contention 1: Employment

When looking at the debate at face value, we obvious harms in employment when legalizing marijuana. We are considering the effect of drugs on one’s ability to succeed in school, as well as prospects in the job market diminishing. The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank states in 2011, we can see clear signs of drugs being highly correlated with unemployment. The article utilizes a graph showing that the most popular drug of choice for those unemployed is marijuana. The article goes on to explain that the unemployed are more likely to report having consumed some form of illegal substance within the previous month. My opponent may ask, what if the user is a casual one who does not abuse the drug and simply consumes it recreationally for the desired effect without an addiction. This idea is optimistic and deeply flawed. If we were to observe Al Jazeera in 2013, we would see that 1/6 unemployed Americans are abusers of drugs and alcohol. Given the popularity of marijuana, as shown from my last statistic, among the unemployed we can assume that is the main issue. What needs to be realized is that the working class is the backbone of our economy which creates products and services for consumers to buy. This is the basis of the economy, and with higher rates of marijuana use, we can see less productivity in the workplace, which will inevitably affect the GDP and the amount of revenue that is generated from income tax. Not only this, but there would also be another detrimental economic factor in today’s debate. The factor would be the dependence on welfare. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there has been a recent study conducted in the Netherlands that shows that drugs in that region actually led to less scholastic achievement for those with the addiction to marijuana. Less scholastic achievement means fewer people entering the workforce and more people dependent on welfare to live. Welfare is costly, considering the fact that the government is basically paying for someone to live off of. According to the Cato Institute, the amount of money spent on welfare is over 600 billion dollars. With people becoming more dependent on the drug, this number could easily rise to a huge figure. However, I do understand that my argument at this point depends on whether marijuana rates will increase by affirming the resolution, which it clearly will. Let us look at CNBC in 2010 where we see an article that describes the legalization of marijuana in a specific state, which was Alaska. What occurred next was that marijuana use jumped to twice the national average. This is a problem because if we were to see a jump like this in use nationwide, we would see mass unemployment and less productivity nationwide, which produces a sour effect on the economy. Because of the many problems associated with the employment rate, vote con.

https://www.stlouisfed.org...
https://www.stlouisfed.org...
https://www.stlouisfed.org...
http://america.aljazeera.com...
https://www.drugabuse.gov...
http://www.cato.org...
http://www.cnbc.com...

Contention 2: Health Care

Health care today is a heavy price. However, if we were to legalize marijuana, we would be seeing heavier prices on the system as well. Remember, marijuana is illegal for a reason. That reason specifically being that the danger of marijuana is high. In fact, if we were to look at a USA Today article published in 2014, we would see some disturbing results. The statistics show marijuana to have nearly three times the THC in the status quo than in the 70s. This leads to complications within the body. In fact, if we look at the other graph in the article we would clearly see that the number of emergency visits has increased till today, where there have been nearly half of a million marijuana-related emergency visits to the hospital. Not only this but according to the same article cited, there are also increased chances of heart disease when one ingests marijuana. Why does this matter? Well, I will get to that quite soon. But first, I am going to guess my opponent has a clear counter-plan already. You want to regulate drugs, don’t you? If not, then pretend you do. This is because it is easier to see the cost to society estimated if we were to tax marijuana. I will directly quote it as well.

“Increased consumption leads to higher public health and financial costs for society. Addictive substances like alcohol and tobacco, which are legal and taxed, already result in much higher social costs than the revenue they generate. The cost to society of alcohol alone is estimated to be more than 15 times the revenue gained by their taxation.”

This quote is directly from the White House and shows exactly the amount of public costs that go into the health care system that targets drugs. If we are going to look at the debate with understanding, then we have to know exactly the costs to our government, and how harmful they will be to the everyday American. When the amount of health care needed goes up, so does the price of health care, leading to an already large price for health care to grow even bigger for the consumer. If my opponent would recall, we nationalized the health insurance industry partly with Obamacare. The reason for this was to give people health care who were unable to afford it. However, the program is paid through taxes which cover all of the costs for people who do not have health insurance, as according to CNS News in 2015. What we see by this is that increasing the amount of people who need health care for actions such as using marijuana would mean that everyday Americans are paying more for the medicine and care of others through taxes and premiums. To prevent this, we have to incentivize the private health sector, yet leave enough of a social safety net for those who cannot make it on their own. After all, according to the Keynesian system of economics, more taxes mean less money in our consumers pocket to buy things with, decreasing the purchasing power of the American citizen with unneeded taxes. Negate.

http://www.usatoday.com...
https://www.whitehouse.gov...
http://cnsnews.com...

Rebuttal 1: Taxes

I have already used a statistic directly refuting that notion in my second contention where I sight the White House stating the following:

“Increased consumption leads to higher public health and financial costs for society. Addictive substances like alcohol and tobacco, which are legal and taxed, already result in much higher social costs than the revenue they generate. The cost to society of alcohol alone is estimated to be more than 15 times the revenue gained by their taxation.”

Even if we were to accept my opponent’s plan for taxing and regulating marijuana, there would be harms.

Rebuttal 2: Incarceration

This is where my counter plan comes into play. Why don’t we decriminalize the use of marijuana instead and try to prevent use through education and therapy for those who need it? We would decrease incarceration this way while still not having the poor effects on other things I have mentioned.

Rebuttal 3: Crime/ Corp.

My opponent is under the assumption that there are no other ways to decrease drug crime. We could end it with my counter plan by making drugs seem less attractive to people.

Post your sources.

Debate Round No. 2
LimeJello_yummy

Pro

Sorry about my citation fiasco. References for argument 2 are in the comments.

Rebuttal 1: Employment

Your argument hinges on the fact that all users under the legalization of marijuana would be abusers. This is not the case. You state that this is optimistic and deeply flawed, but allow me to elaborate. Do you assume that all alcohol users are alcoholics? Of course not. However, instead of looking at the situation theoretically, let's look at it expirementally, by drawing the comparision that we've both made from marijuana to alcohol. Alcohol abuse is on the rise, up more than 17% since 2005 [1]. So according to your conclusion drawn, we must have seen a decline in GDP from 2005 to now, alongside sharp increases in unemployment. However we have never seen such a decrease in GDP [2], and unemployment is currently resting at a healthy 5% [3]. So on an expiremental level, an increase in drug abuse (alcohol is a drug) did not cause any decrease in GDP or increase in unemployment. To also address the fact that 1 in 6 unemployed Americans are abusing alcohol or drugs. This is simply social darwinism, showing that people who abuse, will end up on the streets, and as I already covered, not all alcohol users are abusers, and you cannot make the assumption that marijuana will only be abused, because alcohol and marijuana are both very similar drugs.

Rebuttal 1: Healthcare

Assuming that I am in favor of regulation is correct.
It is crucial to see that the "cost to society" is not a cost to the government or the economy in general. The amount that the government makes taxing alcohol is all profit. It can be clearly seen from the ajpm source that the White House page uses [4], that these losses are economic cost. But what is economic cost? The best example of economic cost is, let's say, a cafe chain allows all employees a free 10 dollar lunch on 6 to 8 hour shifts. There are 10,00 employees, all taking free 10 dollar lunches. The amount of money the business will lose giving their employees free lunches over a year per say is the economic cost. The business still turns a profit, and all is well and fine. There is nowhere in that scenario the government takes a loss, and neither is the alcohol scenario. The amount that is lost due to the use of alcohol is a loss society takes for having a legal drug, but the economy still remains sound. Businesses still turn huge profits despite the fact that they may lose a bit of money due to employees' alcohol abuse, same with marijuana. As I stated in my previous rebuttal, the economy still manages to grow despite increase of alcohol abuse, what's to say marijuana will cause an national economic decline? As I've clearly shown in Rebuttal 1, alcohol abuse has not caused economic decline. While business may have problems with more employees possibly not as productive, they will still generate enough to keep the economy growing at it's current rate, and the extra tax dollars the government receives will prove to trump the 'economic cost', as this cost is not a government loss.

Contention 1: Taxes

As stated, these costs are not costs to the government. The government is still making an insane amount of tax money and has the ability to funnel it into other economic beneficiary programs.

Contention 2: Incarceration

I have already proven that incarceration puts an incredible financial stress on the government. Making marijuana legal is an absolute solution to this issue. Your proposed plan is not. The thing about therapy, so many people who attend them suffer relapses [5]. People are expirementally increibly likely to turn back to whatever drug they abused, leading them back to being a strain on the system. Plus this therapy in itself would be very costly, so it's not an as effective solution.

Contention 3: Crime / Corp.

1 in 13 Americans abuse alcohol [6]. I don't know what programs you're thinking of that can make drugs less appealing to people, but whatever it is, it would be expensive, and most likely ineffective. People want their drugs.
You fail to address the remainder (second paragraph) of my third argument, so I extend all arguments previously stated.

1 - http://www.nbcnews.com...;
2 - https://www.google.com...
3 - http://www.bls.gov...
4 - http://www.ajpmonline.org...(11)00538-1/fulltext
Number 4 isn't hyperlinking properly, so just go back to your white house page, the page is cited as xii.
5 - http://americanaddictioncenters.org...
6 - http://www.projectknow.com...;
blamonkey

Con

Rebuttal 1: Employment

My argument has very little to do with the connection with alcohol in this case. In fact, I will concede that there are major differences. However, what I did bring up was the connection between marijuana and unemployment. I have provided clear correlations which my opponent has yet to address. Not only this, but my opponent has brought up a red herring by including the link between alcohol and unemployment. However, allow me to address another part of your argument. You state that my argument hinges on the fact that all people on marijuana would be abusers. This is actually becoming a reality. If we were to observe the impacts of legalization and use we would be able to come to a conclusion, which is what I will do. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2011, the likeliness for abuse in states that simply legalized drugs for medical use will increase by 12%. We would be seeing more people addicted and trying marijuana for the first time. As shown before with the high correlation between marijuana use and unemployment, we would be seeing obvious signs of endangerment to our economy.

http://www.nber.org...

Rebuttal 2: Health care

My opponent has yet to attack anything but my one source. This can be easily supplemented with another.

“The authors note that the 6 to 9 percent increase in frequency of adult binge drinking, along with an estimated increase in the probability of simultaneous use of marijuana and alcohol of 15 to 22 percent, suggests that legalization could result in "considerable economic and social costs from downstream health care expenditures and productivity loss."

This is from the first citation in this argument. I have already efficiently explained why healthcare prices will increase substantially and why covering everyone with an addiction who happened to relapse or need some sort of medical service due to their usage would be costly. However, my opponent has offered a rebuttal about costs. While I do admit that the original statistic I cited was flawed in the way I used it, I will not say that the effect on health care costs would be minor. The symptoms of marijuana use include heart diseases according to a previous source I used in my first argument as well as increased likeliness of binge drinking, according to the only statistic used so far in this argument. My opponent has yet to prove that my effects will be minor given the fact that my evidence and explanation suggests otherwise.

Rebuttal 3: Taxes

My opponent has stated that the tax revenue coming from legalized marijuana will be huge. However, we need to see that if there are more users, there are going to be more people addicted and abusing marijuana, which will decrease the economy. Not only this, but with the health costs I mentioned before, we can see that the costs far outweigh the amount of tax revenue we receive. Not only this, my opponent has not provided a model that would accurately show the effects of legalizing marijuana for the general populous. In short, we see that regardless of the tax revenue from the marijuana, we see that the loss of workers would prove more substantial as we see the loss of the already disappearing private sector. Not only this, but considering our current deficit, it is unlikely that the government would use that revenue for anything important to the American people that does not line their pockets with money. Keep in mid this as well, simply increasing revenue for the government will not always increase economic gain for the people, who are most important in the debate because of the previous fact stated, that the government does not usually have the working class in mind when enacting economic reform. Also, my opponent’s counter plan involving funding toward entitlement programs does not work. If we were to fund entitlement programs we would be seeing no gain whatsoever economically. According to the Cato Institute statistic I used earlier, we already spend over 600 billion dollars annually to try and counter poverty to no avail. This system is inefficient ad will not be the best system possible to build an economy. Regardless of what revenue is generated, let us negate.

Rebuttal 4: Prison

I will explain why my opponent is right and wrong at the same time. My opponent is right in the way he states that prison costs are high. However, he is not right to say that the best way to fix this system involves completely legalizing marijuana. This is because all of my other points stand and show the effects of legalizing marijuana on a base level. Instead, we should decriminalize marijuana by reducing sentences and providing treatment for those with drug addictions. This would not incentivize the use of marijuana, but we could have more savings from the prison system. My opponent has finally said that the therapy mentioned in my first rebuttal is expensive. That may seem true until you observe the actual cost from the Justice Policy Institute which shows that incarceration costs 20,000 dollars annually, while treatment only costs 4,000 dollars. Not only this, but according to the National Institute of Justice, behavioral therapy is effective at reducing recidivism for both juveniles and adults.

http://www.justicepolicy.org...
http://www.nij.gov...

Rebuttal 5: Crime/Corp

My opponent is not sure of what type of programs I mean when I say that I want to make drugs seem less appealing. This is understandable, however, the ones I am talking about are the ones that target children at a young age in school. This program is easy to start and fund due to the fact that we have already started these programs in middle and high schools that target this problem as is. We also would provide therapy which, as shown above, is cost effective. We would not use the D.A.R.E model as it is ineffective, and instead we would come up with a new approach to drug education that is cost effective, like many other programs. If we were to look at an article from the University of North Carolina, we would see the following:

“Proven programs are available, such as Reconnecting Youth, Life Skills Training, Project ALERT, Project STAR, Alcohol Misuse Prevention and Project Northland, Hallfors said. These and other good programs offer schools a growing choice of effective drug prevention and education curricula.”

http://www.unc.edu...

Since very few schools utilize effective drug education, we would expand these programs instead to make the more universally used. Finally, we need to realize that by reducing the grasp of marijuana on today’s youth and by incentivizing therapy, we would be growing our private sector and helping thousands, if not millions of people.

Rebuttal 6: Forgot point

I was going to get to it here since I was running out of space for my argument. What my opponent claims is that by legalizing marijuana, we could produce it and expand our foreign market to other developed nations. This is unlikely. My opponent has stated that a domino effect will occur with drugs being legalized everywhere in the developed world. This is an assertion that is unsupported by any evidence, and my opponent has claimed it will just happen. We have already legalized marijuana in some states, yet this has not caused any country to legalize it themselves. Not only this, but America’s popularity is decreasing with our actions in the Middle East and foreign affairs in general. Thus, not many countries are going to be looking toward the US for policy.

Thank you, vote con.

Debate Round No. 3
LimeJello_yummy

Pro

LimeJello_yummy forfeited this round.
blamonkey

Con

My opponent has not been able to respond, but that does not mean he loses the debate. This means that that one should judge on who won the argument, and possibly dock my opponent for conduct. Regardless, I thank my opponent for an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by blamonkey 1 year ago
blamonkey
Don't worry about it, this happens.
Posted by blamonkey 1 year ago
blamonkey
Don't worry about it, this happens.
Posted by LimeJello_yummy 1 year ago
LimeJello_yummy
My sincerest apologies, please give the win to blamonkey.
Posted by blamonkey 1 year ago
blamonkey
That's ok, take care of what you need to take care of.
-blamonkey
Posted by LimeJello_yummy 1 year ago
LimeJello_yummy
Sorry if my next argument takes ages I've been swamped with schoolwork and I haven't been able to give this my full attention. I will most certainly have it done, but it probably won't be until the last hours are ticking down.
Posted by blamonkey 1 year ago
blamonkey
Never mind, sorry I forgot to look at this beforehand, ignore my last comment on the debate.
Thanks,
blamonkey
Posted by LimeJello_yummy 1 year ago
LimeJello_yummy
I'm so sorry I forgot to make my citations list in my argument so I will do so here.
1 - http://object.cato.org...
2 - http://mic.com...
3 - http://www.cbsnews.com...

Sincerest apologies.
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