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Marijuana Should Not Be Legalized

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,121 times Debate No: 66650
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




The American movement to legalize marijuana for regular use is on a roll. Or at least its backers say it is.
Several recent polls show stepped-up public support for legalization. This means not only lifting restrictions on use ("decriminalization"), but also on supply"production and sales. The [Barack] Obama administration, meanwhile, says the US Drug Enforcement [Administration] will no longer raid dispensaries of medical marijuana"which is illegal under federal law"in states where it is legal.
Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), recently told a Monitor reporter that three reasons account for the fresh momentum toward legalization: 1) the weak economy, which is forcing states to look for new revenue; 2) public concern over the violent drug war in Mexico; and 3) more experience with marijuana itself.
A harmless drug? Supporters of legalization often claim that no one has died of a pot overdose, and that it has beneficial effects in alleviating suffering from certain diseases.
Rosalie Pacula, codirector of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center, poses this question: "If pot is relatively harmless, why are we seeing more than 100,000 hospitalizations a year" for marijuana use?
Research results over the past decade link frequent marijuana use to several serious mental health problems, with youth particularly at risk. And the British Lung Foundation finds that smoking three to four joints is the equivalent of 20 tobacco cigarettes.
He adds that physicians in Britain and the Netherlands"both countries that have experience with relaxed marijuana laws"are seeing withdrawal symptoms among heavy marijuana users that are similar to those of cocaine and heroin addicts. This has been confirmed in the lab with monkeys.
NORML likes to point out that marijuana accounts for the majority of illicit drug traffic from Mexico. End the illicit trafficking, and you end the violence. But that volume gives a false impression of marijuana's role in crime and violence, says Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon [University] and a drug-policy adviser in the US and Australia.
Neither are America's prisons stuffed with users who happened to get caught with a few joints (if that were the case, a huge percentage of America's college students"an easy target"would be behind bars). Yes, there are upward of 700,000 arrests on marijuana charges each year, but that includes repeat arrests, and most of those apprehended don't go to jail. Those who do are usually large-scale offenders.
The California legalization bill proposes a $50/ounce tax on marijuana. The aim is to keep pot as close to the black-market price as possible while still generating an estimated $1.3 billion in income for this deficit-challenged state.
Legalizing marijuana is bound to increase use simply because of availability.
Indeed, legalizing marijuana is bound to increase use simply because of availability. Legalization advocates say "not so" and point to the Netherlands and its legal marijuana "coffee shops." Indeed, after the Dutch de facto legalized the drug in 1976, use stayed about the same for adults and youth. But it took off after 1984, growing by 300 percent over the next decade or so. Experts attribute this to commercialization (sound like alcohol?), and also society's view of the drug as normal"which took a while to set in.
As America has learned with alcohol, taxes don't begin to cover the costs to society of destroyed families, lost productivity, and ruined lives"and regulators still have not succeeded in keeping alcohol from underage drinkers.
Why legalize a third substance that produces ill effects, when the US has such a poor record in dealing with the two big "licits""alcohol and tobacco?
Legalization backers say the country is at a tipping point, ready to make the final big leap. They hope that a new generation of politicians that has had experience with marijuana will be friendly to their cause.
Maybe parents thought they left peer pressure behind when they graduated from high school. But the push to legalize marijuana is like the peer pressure of the schoolyard. The arguments are perhaps timely, but they don't stand up, and parents must now stand up to them.
Parents must make clear that marijuana is not a harmless drug"even if they personally may have emerged unscathed.
In the same way, a search for joy and satisfaction in a drug is misplaced.
Today's youth are tomorrow's world problem solvers"and the ones most likely to be affected if marijuana is legalized. Future generations need to be clear thinkers. For their sakes, those who oppose legalizing marijuana must become vocal, well-funded, and mainstream"before it's too late.


Thank you for this interesting debate.

I am planning on offering my opinion on the issue and offering rebuttals to your previous statements

Marijuana should be legalized due to the fact that it does no more harm to humans than other very legal drugs such as caffeine, tobacco, and school. Marijuana illigalization no longer a reasonable proposition just as Prohibition eventually ran its course. It like Prohibition has led to a spike in crime, unnecessary arrests, and a generation that flaunts disobeying the law. This is all to prevent a drug from reaching the market when other completely legal drugs are just as available. So I ask you why do you refuse to legalize a drug just as harmful as drugs that are currently legal.


1. Pot not Harmless

Correct Pot is not harmless the steam from the blunt can damage the lungs and high driving is dangerous. However, drunk driving but instead of banning alcohol we launched a massive social and legal movement that has caused the number of drunk driving cases to drop significantly. Alcohol is also create a physical dependency and can cause liver damage. Meanwhile tobacco damages the lungs more because their is no filters in marijuana blunt. if filters were added the damage would be minimized and would reduce the damage caused by smoke inhalation. However, if you do not legalize marijuana his type of standardization with never come about thus you are perpetuating health risks not helping them by keeping it illigalized.

2.withdrawal symptoms
That is also correct but monkeys have also been found to suffer withdrawal from caffeine so unless you proposes that you ban coffee the addictive nature of marijuana means little.

3.Prison sentencing not that bad
If you think that incarceration in the united states isn't wrong that's a debate for another time but if you think that only 700,000 people per year getting arrested isn't bad I really don'y know what to say. To see why mass incarceration i Its bad watch this phenomenal video on prisons in the United States.

4. Societal pressures of Marijuana
Can be problematic but once again misses the point that such drugs are already widely available so unless you insist on going on a purity crusade should we not extract sin taxes and help standardize it instead of creating a dangerous environment where people are imprisoned for upwards of 30 years, violence on the streets, and the issues of society are pushed under the rug of whether its legal or not. If so then I ask you to not grant special exception to marijuana as a drug and attack the "sin" industry equitably.

Thus if you believe marijuana should stay banned it ignores historical precedents and is dangerous to America.
Debate Round No. 1


I read with concern "Legalizing Marijuana Would Allow Regulation of Its Potency" (letter, Feb. 13). According to the writer, marijuana with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (the chemical that causes the psychoactive effects on the abuser), is not a new phenomenon, and this high potency should not be used as a reason to keep marijuana illegal.
I read with concern "Legalizing Marijuana Would Allow Regulation of Its Potency" (letter, Feb. 13). According to the writer, marijuana with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (the chemical that causes the psychoactive effects on the abuser), is not a new phenomenon, and this high potency should not be used as a reason to keep marijuana illegal.
This logic doesn't hold up. Why would a marijuana abuser opt for a less potent drug when stronger varieties are available? As health regulators distributed the lesser drug, illegal growers would be pushing their higher potency marijuana.
Marijuana contains known toxins and cancer-inducing chemicals, which are stored in fat cells for long periods of time. Scientific research relates marijuana use to damaged brain cells and respiratory systems, decreased hormone production in both sexes, acute memory loss, lowered immune systems and impaired motor skills. THC and marijuana smoke have been directly linked to miscarriage, in-utero fetal death, stillbirth and infant death just after birth, along with behavioral and biological abnormalities of offspring.
Marijuana certainly isn't a drug we want to put our stamp of approval on, no matter what the THC level. And we should beware of those who say "there is nothing new about strong dope." STEPHEN H. GREENE Acting Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration Washington, Feb. 17, 1994


Though you may think the logic does not hold up it does. For instance in prohibition people manufactured their own alcohol that dangerous standardized and led to thousands of deaths yearly. However, when alcohol was legalized even the more intense versions of alcohol became safer due to government standardization. Thus their may not be a logical connection that you see but the legalization of certain drugs that pertains to health risks has led to a reduction in deaths from "bad doses" the same could happen for marijuana with the only difference being their has never been a death related to too much marijuana use.

On your expansive list on side effects of marijuana many other legal recreational drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and even caffeine have the exact same side effects in at least some respects. So unless you plan to ban all of these drugs and force these industries underground which would cause the death of more american than currently due to a lack of standardization you need to stop treating marijuana as a ban of society and instead realize that the ban on marijuana is creating a double standard in which established recreational drugs can continue to damage the health of Americans but budding industries industries can not. Not only do you create a double standard but you actually hurt the health of America by refusing to standardize a health risk in American society by instead fighting a war on drugs that leads to a influx of 700,000 prisoners each year. So I recommend that you either accept the facts that marijuana is just as dangerous as other legal drugs. If you really think that marijuana is dangerous than I defy you to find a record of a signal death from a pot overdose.
Debate Round No. 2


As the saying goes, "there"s two sides to every story". In this world of 24-hour news channels, those with the loudest voices and most polarizing positions seem to get the most recognition regardless of whether or not they have their facts straight. And like sheep following the shepherd, people buy into the opinion because they"re too lazy to read up on the issue themselves. In the interest of fairness, and to educate myself on the issue, I did some research on why weed should stay illegal.
As I said repeatedly in the reasons weed should be legalized, I"ve never taken a single puff off a joint, pipe, bong, bowl, or any other contraption, so I have no dog in this fight. I also can"t say that if the day comes where marijuana is treated the same way alcohol is that it will sway me to give it a shot. My goal with both of these lists is to provide both sides of the argument so that you may be able to make an informed judgement for yourself and maybe learn something about the opposite side of the story if you happen to lean one way or the other. Let"s get started"
This may not be a deterrent for some. Actually, if you have absolutely no desire to have children, this fact may even drive you toward smoking pot. Let"s say for argument sake, you do plan on starting a family some day.
A WebMD report from 2003 on a study conducted by the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences says that marijuana makes a man"s "swimmers" super-hyper causing them to prematurely enter into what is called "hyperactivation". Generally, this part of the fertilization process doesn"t begin until sperm detect a woman"s egg. By starting the process early, the boys are exhausted well before that point and end up dying off.
A guy I went to high school with was a heavy pot smoker. One of those guys who used any amount of spare time to blaze up. As the years went on, you could see the toll it had taken on his brain. He was "burnt". Even when he wasn"t high as a kite, he spoke slowly, and had that stereotypical stoner-drawl to his speech. His eyelids were droopy like comedian and Saturday Night Live alum, Jim Breuer, and he just became very sloth-like.
Within minutes of taking the first drag, THC enters the bloodstream and gets to work on a part of the brain called the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory function. Citing research from McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, the ODEA says that regular users of marijuana "had impaired skills related to attention, memory and learning for up to 24 hours after they last used the drug. These students had difficulty in sustaining and shifting attention and in registering, organizing and using information than the control group."
Basically, if a goal in your life is to make it on Jeopardy!, don"t smoke the dope.
A great number of studies have been conducted in an attempt to correlate the use of pot and the onset of schizophrenia. The results have been mixed, however one common thread seems to be the age at which people start using marijuana and a family history of mental illness. The thought being that early use alters the development of brain receptors, known as endocannabinoid receptors, which control the brain"s dopamine systems. It"s believed that changing the way endocannabinoids influence dopamine during development could result in a chronically high level of dopamine in some regions of the brain, which may increase the likelihood of psychotic episodes.
Studies show that chemicals in marijuana cause the body to kick its production of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC"s) into overdrive. Like the United Nations of the human body, the job of these cells are to keep the rest of the immune system in check. They make sure that just enough force is used to fight off infection, but not too much. An increased amount of MDSC"s basically causes them to abuse their power so to speak and suppress the immune system to the point where it can"t effectively fight off infections. Kind of like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Researchers and scientists have had a difficult time finding a direct correlation between smoking weed and lung cancer. The reason being they have a hard time finding people who have smoked marijuana and marijuana only. Generally, weed smokers also tend to indulge in tobacco which is proven to be a leading cause of lung cancer. What scientists have been able to nail down is the similarities in tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke, and the results are surprising.
A slightly more recent study in 2009 showed that since marijuana users typically tend to take longer drags and hold the smoke in for an extended period of time before exhaling, smoking 3-4 joints a day is equal to "the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membranes as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day." Yikes!


My favorite saying in the entire world is those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it" and what you and millions of other Americans propose shows that America has leaned noting from the failure that is prohibition which gives a historical precedent that is still relevant today "if you illegalize something it often manifests it self into a more dangerous and unregulated activity". thus by illegalizeing marijuana you create a health problem that can't be mitigated by government regulation. for instance if the government legalized pot in the 1970s the slightly more dangerous high THC marijuana plants never would have been created. But we Americans are always bad at realizing our past mistakes and thus we fail to learn from them. You in my opinion represent the historical ignorance that America has because you fail to see that government regulation makes things safer. For instance alcohol poisoning killed thousands during prohibition because their was no regulation. Thus by keeping marijuana illegal you first of all provide revenue for criminal enterprises, secondly you case over 700,000 incarcerations per year which contribute to Americas growing health crisis, and you make a potential industry more dangerous than it has to be. Thus you are only perpetuating the problems you intend to solve. Not only are you perpetuating the problem but you are creating a double standard where marijuana is treated differently because of its mystique while other drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine go unmolested because they are the status quo.

I also notice in all the medical studies that you fail to mention a single study on how caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco affect your health. Tat is because they hold almost every side effect that marijuana has. Thus you are creating a double standard by cherry picking data that supports your claim while ignoring the potential side effects of other already legal drugs.

I also have never smoked nor intend to smoke marijuana or cigarettes. Thus I support legalization not because I want to puff the herb but because its foolish dangerous and hypocritical that we keep marijuana illegal while alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are not. Thus I am insulted that you insinuate that I am not of the material to have a family and I ask you to retract your insulting comment on my personal life. This is a formal debate not a insult forum.

Also for you experience with your friend that smoked pot are you implying that legal drugs can not have the same effect? A chronic smoker or alcoholic could exhibited similar symptoms and some that are even worse. Thus I say again unless you intend to go on a purity crusade to expunge all semi dangerous and dangerous drugs fine but don't create a double standard to support your social norms that you are used to.

Thus I ask you to stop continuing your ignorance of history which shows time and time again that illigaliztion does not work. You instead only perpetuate the problem and make the issue of marijuana a criminal issue rather then a surmountable social obstacle.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by rixxxxxx 3 years ago
I see a lot of "two wrongs make a right" here. I don't use it , never have. But, if users want it, it is extremely easy to get, legal or not!! As far as damage to the lungs, there are other methods of ingesting it. I'm neither for or against. Although I do lean towards the legalization. Both sides have valid arguments. A person must use responsibly, and remember, MODERATION is the key.
Posted by ofaraj97 3 years ago
I strongly agree, it shouldn't be legalized as its risks outweigh its pros.
Posted by Squirrelnuts57 3 years ago
I don't necessarily agree. It's the buyer's choice of how they use it, and it's effects are usually no worse than alcohol. Also, it can help medically with pain.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by gomergcc 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro committed plagiarism by quoting articles with out naming the author. Pro does not cite any of there sources. Pro does not capitalize many times more than Con, and starts sentences with and. Pro does not offer a rebuttal to the core of Cons arguments.