The Instigator
ufcryan
Pro (for)
Winning
26 Points
The Contender
Beta
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

Marijuana Should Be Legalized

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
ufcryan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,398 times Debate No: 33478
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (6)

 

ufcryan

Pro

I would argue that marijuana, and probably some additional drugs, should be legalized because legalizing them would create more benefits than keeping them illegal has.

I am not arguing for the complete legalization of marijuana, but rather the regulated use of it.

My opponent:
Round 1) acceptance & arguments
2) arguments/rebuttals
3) arguments/rebuttals
4) rhetorical statement of choosing.

Me:
Round 1) terms and conditions
2) arguments/rebuttals
3) arguments/rebuttals
4) conclusion

May be done through political, medical, economic, or philosophical arguments.
No plagiarism.
Beta

Con

I accept the challenge and hope for at good and fair debate.

In the next round Pro should clarify precisely what regulations he means, otherwise it makes no sense to debate this. It should also be clear in which country or state this should happen if it has relevance to the regulations. This is an important point, and I shouldn't have accepted the debate before he made this clear. That being said, here are my arguments:

Marijuana as a recreational drug
The active substance in marijuana is called THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). It affects receptors in the brain called cannabinoid receptors. We have naturally occurring neurotransmitters similar to THC called endocannabinoids that play an important role in the brain development and function, and the highest amount of cannabinoid receptors is found in parts of the brain that influences pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory, time perception and coordinated movement. Marijuana affect us by overactivating the endocannabinoid system.

Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana's adverse impact on learning and memory persists after the acute effects of the drug wear off; when marijuana use begins in adolescence, the effects may persist for many years. Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains.” [1]

Overall it isn't easy to find unbiased sources when it comes to the effects of marijuana, but most studies show that the effects are overall negative when used for recreational purposes – not as a medical substance. Also, I think it's common sense to most people that smoking or eating marijuana is not exactly healthy. Arguing that it has positive health effects in some areas (see below) is not relevant in this case, since the negative effects are far greater.

Marijuana as a medical substance
The Food and Drug Administration has made a sorted list of drugs in relation to how dangerous or addictive they are. According to the FDA there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.[2]
Interestingly enough they approve THC as a medicine because it has certain beneficial effects such as relieving nausea associated with chemotherapy and also to help appetite in patients that won't eat. However, marijuana as a whole are not approved for a number of reasons:

First of all there haven't been sufficient studies to show that the benefits outweighs the risks in patients it is meant to treat.[3] Secondly, legitimate medicine must have well-defined and measurable ingredients that are consistent from one unit (e.g. pills) to the next, and marijuana does not live up to this criteria. It contains over 400 chemical compounds besides THC and research from 2009 shows that about 80 of these are biologically active cannabinoids, only found in marijuana.[4]

Thirdly, marijuana has negative effects on especially the brain, as I stated earlier. Remember that marijuana and THC are not the same, and here we are debating marijuana.

Conclusion
I have shown that marijuana, whether used recreationally or as a medicine, cannot be considered safe and for those reasons alone would be unwise to legalize. There are other reasons why one might not legalize marijuana, but since this is the first round I'll wait and see what Pro has to say about it.

[1] http://www.drugabuse.gov...

[2] http://www.fda.gov...

[3] http://www.drugabuse.gov...

[4] http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org...

Debate Round No. 1
ufcryan

Pro

Thank you Beta for accepting this debate. In regards to where marijuana should be legalized, theoretically it should be legal everywhere but this debate will focus on legalization in America. In regards to legalization, marijuana should be regulated similarly to alcohol and cigarettes.

Beta has done an excellent job of displaying how marijuana is bad for you. For the rest of this debate, I will even agree that marijuana and most other drugs are more certainly bad for you, but this alone does not justify keeping them illegal.

First, less address the philosophical arguments regarding the legalization of drugs. I originally came across these ideas from philosophy professor Michael Huemer. If you would like to read his original paper "America's Unjust Drug War," as well as his other published papers, please visit http://spot.colorado.edu....

America is a libertarian state, and arguably most other countries SHOULD be libertarian states. One of the core components of liberty is, theoretically, you are allowed to do whatever you want as long as it does not violate the rights of others. This means that even if you do something that is bad for you, you should be permitted to do it. For example, you have the right to sit on your couch for months on end, eating junk food, and altogether alienating yourself from your friends and family. This mimicks the stereotypical behavior of marijuana users, but most people would nonetheless say you have the right to become a "couch potato." It is perfectly fine to try to help that person and tell them what their doing is bad for the physical and social health, but nonetheless you he or she should be permitted to become a couch potato. Likewise, marijuana (and most illicit drugs) are bad for you, but as long as they are not 100% guaranteed to make you harm others, you should be permitted to take them.

Next, let's assume we are coming from a care based perspective. This means that the government and other people can be legally justified in preventing you from undertaking an action that is bad for you. This theory is problematic, since it could theoretically justify preventing people from drinking coffee in the mornings. However for the sake of argument let's say the government and others are permitted to directly intervene and prevent you from doing bad things to yourself.

Now we are faced with the difficult prospect of determining what is bad enough for you to merit intervention. If marijuana is bad enough to require intervention, then surely we must also prevent people from drinking, smoking, playing football, boxing, skiing, and probably other activities since these are all arguably worse for you health than marijuana is.

Now let's say we've somehow still justified keeping marijuana illegal. As a result of keeping marijuana (as well as most other drugs) illegal, we are permitting the direct funding of the illicit drug trade. This means that instead of distributing cannabis legally and collecting the tax revenue for schools, roads, and hospitals, we are indirectly funding the drug wars that result in American citizens (and children) getting killed by rival gangs fighting for distribution rights, as well as the drug wars in Mexico, Columbia, and South America to name a few. See:

http://www.progress.org...
http://projects.latimes.com...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

This prohibition of drugs has created similar results to the prohibition of alcohol, which funded crimes and gave Al Capone his power base. After alcohol was legalized, we actually saw a DECREASE in alcohol related crimes and alcohol abuse. Similarly, Portugal's drug decriminalization program resulted in a DECREASE in drug abuse and drug overdoses, since people were more willing to seek help without fear of going to jail.

http://www.albany.edu...
http://www.spiegel.de...

Next, the sheer number of convicts we arrest yearly based on marijuana charges every year is flooding our prison systems, costing taxpayers millions and sometimes requiring us to release other, more violent criminals early to make room for the practically harmless cannabis users. See

http://norml.org...

Therefore, due to the fact that more people are literally being killed as a result of keeping marijuana (as well as other drugs) illegal, because of the sheer tax its placing on our government's resources, because there aren't many soundproof philosophical arguments to justify preventing marijuana from being illegal, because we can actually decrease marijuana and illicit drug use by legalizing (or at least decriminalizing) these drugs, marijuana should be legalized and other drugs should be legalized or at least decriminalized.
Beta

Con

That's some very convincing arguments. Even though I'd like to come up with a good case against you, I really don't think I can. Having looked and found nothing that can match your philosophical arguments with reference to Michael Huemer (http://spot.colorado.edu...) who presents some very strong arguments for the legalization of marijuana, I hope it is acceptable for me to skip the third round - thus losing the debate.

Anyway, good debate.
Debate Round No. 2
ufcryan

Pro

Thank you Beta, given my background in philosophy and my research into this subject I understand I came into this debate with the deck stacked in my favor, but thank you for staying civil and being a good sport. I do appreciate you staying civil, and I hope you and anyone else reading this found this very informative.

If anyone else is interested in hearing more controversial issues I've discussed or wishes to debate with me, by all means send me a challenge and/or befriend me.

Other controversial political topics I've debated so far include:

Gun Control
Banning Assault Weapons/High Capacity Magazines
The Need for Guns to Defend Against Tyrannical Governments
Legalizing Gay Marriage
The Immorality/Morality of Homosexuality from religious and natural theory perspectives.

I would also welcome any debates in regards to:

Concealed Carry/Concealed Weapons on College Campuses
Morality/Immorality of Vegetarianism
Hunting Rights
Terrorism
Torture
Beta

Con

I appreciate the kind words.
Next time I'll be better prepared to give my opponent a more even battle - hopefully.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by GeekiTheGreat 3 years ago
GeekiTheGreat
This was a great debate.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for concession, and argument much for the same. Sources were not far enough outbalanced to earn that.
Vote Placed by MassiveDump 3 years ago
MassiveDump
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Not that it makes much of a difference, but I'm reinstating drhead's vote because concession does allow for a seven point vote.
Vote Placed by jackintosh 3 years ago
jackintosh
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: Obviously Pro wins, but I gave Beta the conduct vote because they bowed out respectfully! Have to reward behavior like that!
Vote Placed by LotusNG 3 years ago
LotusNG
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded.
Vote Placed by GeekiTheGreat 3 years ago
GeekiTheGreat
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Reasons for voting decision: Biased CVB
Vote Placed by drhead 3 years ago
drhead
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded.