The Instigator
LaissezFaire
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
feen
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Legalizing Drugs

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/4/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,497 times Debate No: 12691
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

LaissezFaire

Pro

Last time I tried to debate this, my opponent forfeited before finishing the debate. Please only accept this debate if you are going to finish it.

My position is that all illegal drugs should be legalized. I'll post arguments supporting this in the next three posts.

Definitions:
Illegal- Currently banned under US law.

Drugs- There are too many illegal recreational drugs for me to mention them all, but specifically, I will discuss heroin, cocaine/crack, meth, ecstasy, and PCP, and any other drugs my opponent wishes to mention.

Legalized- Currently illegal drugs would be given the same legal status as tobacco or alcohol.
feen

Con

Legalizing drugs is seen by both users and non-users of illegal substances as a way to deal with the problems they cause or to simply allow people to give themselves more freedom of action. However, it is for the greater good of people that governments must and should regulate this substances.
It is well known for decades the many effects that the use of drugs cause and that is the reason for their banishment.
The legalization of drugs would bring many bad consequences that we must avoid at all costs. Among them we can highlight:
1. The irreversible demand of drugs generated. If you look at the search for cigarettes and alcohol we see today, as a way for human beings to seek comfort, you can observe that a part of this demand would develop to a search for stronger drugs that would harm individuals. Demand generated for something as powerful as the current illegal drugs is dangerous.
2. The preservation of public health. As a way to avoid harm to the whole society, the society itself walked, along the time, toward better health conditions. Due to this research field, we have today sanitation and hygiene. For health purposes we also have some environmental laws and we are constantly verifying the conditions of establishments that provide food. The prohibition of drugs is also a matter of public health. It was decided to ban this substances (among other reasons) because cause diseases, damages to the brain, dependence and death.
3. The way to stop the leak is not to destroy the whole dam. It is well understood that drugs make their way to the society either they are or not legal and that this reach is a problem. We can not act towards this by simply allowing, as the fight goes much deeper. Education and strong law enforcement are a better way to the health and safety to the society.
4. Illegal drugs will become a product. Cigarettes and alcohol are well known to the harm they already cause, ranging from violent behavior, addiction, cause of diseases such as lung cancer and cirrhosis. This drugs are not as strong as the illegal ones, and is presumable that the harm that the banned ones would cause, if consumed as the currently legal ones, is enormous. Illegal drugs would be promoted, wide spread, part of the public consciousness. The access to them is a harm yet to be seen.
Debate Round No. 1
LaissezFaire

Pro

"It is well known for decades the many effects that the use of drugs cause and that is the reason for their banishment."
Actually, the effects of many illegal drugs have been known for centuries. Heroin and cocaine use were common in the US since this country's founding. It only seems that the effects of drug use were known for a few decades because most of the negative effects of drug use weren't 'found' (made up) until after the drugs became illegal.

The original drug laws were founded on racism and lies. In the 1930's, Mexicans were competing with whites for jobs. The government began a smear campaign against marijuana, because marijuana laws could be used to imprison non-whites competing for jobs. In 1936, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics stated that "prolonged use of Marihuana frequently develops a delirious rage which sometimes leads to high crimes, such as assault or murder. Hence Marihuana has been called the 'killer drug.' . . . Marihuana sometimes gives man the lust to kill, unreasonably and without motive. Many cases of assault, rape, robbery, and murder are traced to the use of Marihuana." [1] They also stated that "50 percent of the violent crimes committed in the districts occupied by Mexicans, Turks, Filipinos, Greeks, Spaniards, Latin-Americans and Negroes can be traced to the abuse of Marihuana cigarettes." [1] Similar campaigns resulted in the criminalization of opium (said to have caused Chinese to rape white women and commit other violent crimes) and cocaine (supposedly caused blacks to rape white women, etc).

[1] Bonnie, Richard J. and Charles H. Whitebread. The Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States. New York: Lindesmith Center, 1999 (reprint).

2. I, too, consider drug prohibition a matter of public health, although for entirely different reasons. Drug prohibition causes all sorts of health problems. You say that drug use causes disease. I would argue that it is drug prohibition, rather than drug use, that spreads disease. An example is the spreading of HIV through used needles. But heroin addicts only use dirty needles because clean needles aren't available to them, because of drug prohibition. You also mention brain damage. I personally can't think of any drug that causes significant brain damage other than alcohol. What drug are you referring to? As for death, this again is a problem of drug prohibition. Impurities in the drugs sold on the streets are often very dangerous. For example, someone created an extremely concentrated form of heroin that was so strong in it's pure form that a dose the size of a grain of salt would be fatal. This drug was sold to unknowing addicts, killing about 150 people before the manufacturer was stopped. If drugs were legal, things like that wouldn't happen.

3. You mention "strong law enforcement" and the "safety of society" as if the former helps bring about the latter. In fact, the opposite is true.

If drugs were legal, gangs in US inner cities would disappear. Latin American drug cartels currently killing tens of thousands and destabilizing governments would lose their source of income and dissolve. The Taliban and other terrorist groups would lose their main source of income. But what about increased drug use? Wouldn't an increase in drug users cause an increase in crime? No. In fact, crime among drug users would probably decrease. There would be an increase in drug users, yes. But where would these new drug users come from? The new users would have to come from the group of people that respected the law too much to use drugs while they were illegal. Those people are unlikely to become criminals. As I showed earlier, drug use does not cause violent crime. Violent crime committed by drug users is generally the result of people who were violent anyway. But what about addicts stealing to support their habit? If drugs were legalized, the price would fall to a fraction of the black market price. Marijuana, for example, is predicted to fall by as much as 80% if Proposition 19 passes in California. [2] Addicts would need less money to support their habit, so they wouldn't need to steal nearly as much.

Not only does strong law enforcement cause crime, they also often hurt law-abiding people in their anti-drug zealotry. Many innocent people become victims of corrupt DEA agents or police officers in the drug war. Particularly dangerous to every private citizen are asset forfeiture laws, (police can seize anything they believe is connected with any crime, without a trial or hearing. Innocence of the crime is usually irrelevant.), as the following example illustrates:
"The owner of a $5 million California ranch refused to negotiate with officials who wanted to merge the property into a park system. Subsequently a search warrant was obtained for a drug squad raid on the rancher's home. When applying for the warrant, police said an informant had reported thousands of marijuana plants on the property. Police did not tell the judge they were skeptical of the informant's credibility. In the application, one officer swore to what he was told by another officer, but the other officer's statement was false (by using this technique neither officer could be accused of perjury). Nor was the judge told that more than one secret warrantless search had recently been made of the ranch land without finding a single marijuana plant. Maps handed to all members of the strike team included handwritten notations saying '200 acres' and '80 acres sold for $800,000 in 1991 in same area.'" When the drug squad burst into the ranch couple's home, the wife started screaming, 'Don't shoot me! Don't kill me!' as team members manhandled her. The commotion apparently roused her sleeping husband who ran downstairs with a pistol. Squad members told him to lower the firearm, and as he obeyed they shot him to death. They ejected the woman from the house while she ran to her stricken husband. No marijuana was found in the house or anywhere on the 250 acres. The county prosecutor admitted the raid 'was motivated, at least in part, by a desire to seize and forfeit the ranch for the government.' Governmental desire to merge the ranch into parkland may explain the otherwise curious presence of U.S. Park Service agents in the drug raid team." [3]

[2] http://www.rand.org...

[3] Miller, Richard Lawrence. Drug Warriors and Their Prey: from Police Power to Police State. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996. Print. 105-106.

1+4. You say that illegal drugs are stronger than cigarettes and alcohol. How so? Crack cocaine is not physically addictive, unlike nicotine and alcohol. Physically, heroin withdrawal is no worse than a bad cold, while alcohol withdrawal often results in death, even in controlled hospital settings. Cigarettes and alcohol kill hundreds of thousands every year, while marijuana kills no one. You say that legalizing drugs would cause all sorts of problems in society. Where is your proof of that? If you look at decriminalization (removal of criminal penalties for drug possession and use, but keeping criminal penalties for trafficking) of drugs in Portugal, not only were the amount of drug related problems reduced, but even drug use itself went down. [4]

[4] http://www.cato.org...
feen

Con

feen forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
LaissezFaire

Pro

"Please only accept this debate if you are going to finish it."
"Please only accept this debate if you are going to finish it."
"Please only accept this debate if you are going to finish it."
"Please only accept this debate if you are going to finish it."
"Please only accept this debate if you are going to finish it."

Sigh...
feen

Con

feen forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
LaissezFaire

Pro

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feen

Con

feen forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by XStrikeX 6 years ago
XStrikeX
I am tempted to accept and not complete.
Posted by tkubok 6 years ago
tkubok
Kk, sorry for the inconvenience.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
I'm going away to college on the 12th, so I don't know if I'll have time. I'll open this debate up to any challenger for now, then re-challenge you later if I can.
Posted by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
I also think that the FDA shouldn't exist, but I'd like to limit this debate to illegal recreational drugs.
Posted by tkubok 6 years ago
tkubok
Oh, and what about prescription drugs?
Posted by tkubok 6 years ago
tkubok
Gonna go to new york for about a week. I dont think i could accept this challenge right now. Try challenging me in about a week, around the 12th would be nice. Sorry.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
LaissezFairefeenTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
LaissezFairefeenTied
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Total points awarded:70