Marijuana ought to be legalized
Debate Rounds (4)
Thank you to whoever accepts.
Before legalising marijuana or any other currently illicit drug, the community must have an informed debate and an agreed educational strategy about the consequences of abuse and possible addiction to these drugs in people who are genetically predisposed. Public education, preventative measures and addiction treatment facilities should be agreed upon and funded by public health services prior to the change of law you are proposing.
I am aware that there are many good reasons to legally treat marijuana on a par with alcohol and I am happy to respond to any of those you may want to put forward to make your case. However, the cost of the legalised drug of alcohol to individual and public health (and the economy!) is enormous in our present societies. This in itself should be sufficient reason to not just legalise marijuana without first creating a social and political environment which reduces the health and economic impacts of drug use by people who are at risk (for example young people and people predisposed to drug abuse and addiction).
First I will bring my contentions to light, and then I will address my opponent's arguments against legalizing marijuana.
Before I introduce my case, I would like to make a pre-case observation. Since the resolutions uses the word "ought" it is implying that marijuana "should" be legalized, not that it needs to be legalized inste-facto, merely that it should happen.
Contention 1) Marijuana poses little to no health risks.
The only proven ill health effects seen in smoking marijuana seem to have to do with short term memory loss while intoxicated (similar to alcohol), and effects on the lung due to the smoke. Obviously there are ways to get past the latter such as technologies involving vaporizers which brings the THC out of the plant using warm water vapor rather than inhaling smoke. You could also bake it food like brownies, rice krispie treats, or butter. It can also be used in tea or a pill form. The fact is, marijuana is one of the safest drugs in the world, it's illegality completely disregarded. It is infinitely better for you than alcohol and if everyone stopped drinking alcohol and started smoking weed, that would actually INCREASE public health. People can be addicted to almost anything psychologically including fast food, television, and yes, marijuana. However, there is no evidence that marijuana, contrary to alcohol, causes physical dependence, heavily reducing its health risk.
Contention 2 Freedom.
If one chooses to become unhealthy by eating fatty, smoking cigarettes, or drinking liquor, that is their personal choice to do so. Who is the government to say that ones happiness can be intervened by a higher power because they claim the moral high ground by saving you from "yourself." Freedom ought to be protected as long as it puts no one else in danger, and smoking a joint in the comfort of ones home surely hurts no one. The only arguable statement is that it hurts yourself, but if that is true, which I am not willing to admit, than why is all fatty foods not made illegal? Why isn't alcohol illegal? WHY AREN'T CIGARETTES ILLEGAL? Because way too many people use them. The government has tried make alcohol illegal and it did not work because over 70% of the population still used alcohol despite it being illegal. In the same concept, I do not know the exact number, but many people continue to use marijuana despite its illegality. Marijuana is trafficked into our country more than all other illegal drugs combined. This follows into my next argument.
Contention 3 If weed will continue to be used whether its illegal or not, why not just benefit from it?
If weed is legalized it opens up a brand new market to capitalize on. With the government involved in the creation, taxation, and distribution of this product, prosperity would be close behind. Something we do not realize is that making a drug that is so popularly used like weed illegal even though it has very limited harmful effects, you are putting billions of American dollars straight into the pockets of the drug czars and drug lords who DEPEND on the illegality of this substance to take advantage of and make money off of. So much of our money IS GOING TO MEXICO because we, America, as a whole, are so ignorant that we have attached the stigma of "criminal" and "illicit" without even obtaining proper medical or scientific evidence to support such fallacious claims. In fact, in 1934 the court hearing that made marijuana illegal cited evidences from their main source, a blue collar media propagandist and said things about weed such as it "makes a negro look at a white woman twice" and it "makes white mans women lust for dark skin." Is this really what we have sunk to? We have no evidence supporting the illegality of marijuana that is not extremely fallacious and/or racist.
Onto my opponents case.
My opponent says that making marijuana legal will impact our health and economy in a negative fashion. I ask for him to explain this knowing that
1) If we taxed marijuana, our government would make billions and
2) If everyone ingested marijuana it would save countless lives if they used it instead of other legal recreational drugs.
My opponent also makes the statement that public health services need to be consulted before this is even proposed. I'm sorry, are they not making enough money on the misfortunes of other people? Do they need to keep every illegal substance illegal so they have enough money to keep these so called "criminals" institutionalized? Again, I am only arguing that marijuana SHOULD be legal, people will definitely have a problem with that, but that does not mean that it still should not be legal.
You also say an awful lot about drug addiction, this is irrelevant to marijuana because one cannot become physically addicted to marijuana. Even the government has admitted that they were incorrect about this foolhardy statement, as well as the fact that marijuana DOES NOT kill brain cells.
You also say that alcohol has had a negative impact on our health and our economy. First of all, please explain how it hurts economy when so many people purchase alcohol and the government relies heavily on its revenue. And on the negative health impacts of alcohol, yes I completely agree, alcohol is a devastating drug, and I encourage every person who drinks alcohol to smoke marijuana instead because, if this actually happens, their health risks decrease dramatically.
Therefore, if weed does not hurt me, and it does not hurt you, WHY THE F*CK IS IT STILL ILLEGAL?!?!
You say that marijuana poses little to no health risk. This is no doubt true, as it is for other drugs, if used in moderation.
However, your other statement, that dependence on and addiction to this drug is not possible, is not true. But you are not alone with this misconception: medical professionals and federal and local government health departments in my country (Australia) have also made similar statements to the one you quote from your country. However, I know, from my own personal experience with marijuana and from my experiences working in a treatment and rehabilitation modality for addicts, that addiction to this drug does occur. And, in a person in which dependence is established, serious physical, mental and emotional health issues arise, as they do with other drugs. Such health issues impose a cost on the individual (bad physical health, unsuccessful or no relationships, financial problems, dysfunctional family, emotional problems, shortened life-span, etc) and on society (lost productivity, provision of health services, etc).
Nobody could argue against a statement that says that a sense of freedom is desirable and in fact enjoyed whenever present.
However, the idea of freedom when talking about enjoying a sense of freedom, and the idea of freedom when talking about behaviours and the freedom to do as I want, are two very different things. Unless this distinction is made, the emotive attraction of the idea of freedom can lead to fallacious arguments in a debate of this kind.
Of course, I am free to overeat, to kill myself slowly by using the drug of nicotine via the smoking of tobacco, and all the other choices I can make that actually reduce the quality - and enjoyment - of my life. Society, over time and through laws and the traditional cultural values passed from generation to generation, has developed a framework to make the clash of all our individual freedoms manageable. Sometimes the laws that are implemented have unforeseen consequences or are later found to be ineffective. The prohibition of drugs is such a law: there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that 'the war on drugs' and making drugs 'illegal' do not work and create more and perhaps even more serious problems than they solve. And there can also be no doubt that laws that have a negative impact on the community, which they are meant to regulate to its advantage, should be changed.
So, why am I arguing that marijuana should not be legalised?
In short, I believe that legalising marijuana without revisiting the broader issue of drug use generally would be a missed opportunity and simply lead to the same outcomes as those that followed from the legalisation of alcohol and for which we are all paying very dearly. It may be necessary for you to do some personal and local research into the cost of alcohol use and abuse (which goes with the use of any mood or mind altering drug by the approximately 10% of Caucasian populations who are genetically predisposed to becoming addicted to them) and to break through the collective denial (which exists at least in Australia and the European countries I am familiar with) and purposeful misinformation by vested interests (including all news propagating media that depend on advertising). There is no doubt in my mind that the very serious problems created by the drugs of alcohol and nicotine in our present circumstances would be increased substantially if marijuana were added to the freely available and free-market-wise promoted drugs.
I didn't say that "public health services need to be consulted" as you quote me. I said "the community must have an informed debate and an agreed educational strategy about the consequences of abuse and possible addiction to drugs in people who are genetically predisposed" and that "public education, preventative measures and addiction treatment facilities should be agreed upon and funded by public health services prior to the change of law you are proposing".
The arguments that you have put forward have not led me to change my mind and the (above) statements from my first round remain my reasoning that the laws about marijuana should not be changed without first doing what I have stated.
mageist24 forfeited this round.
Perhaps I should not have accepted this challenge as I am not fundamentally opposed to the legalisation of all drug.
The reason I did accept it was that I think legalisation of drugs ought to be preceded by a 'cultural change' (ie a broad public debate to raise the level of understanding and knowledge in the community in order to get past the current uninformed and emotive prejudices; an education process to make everyone aware of the fact that there are two kinds of people in the world: people who can use mood & mind altering drugs socially and without abusing them and addicting themselves to them, and people who can't do that because of genetic predisposition or learned behaviours; and finally the creation of preventative and effective treatment modalities for the latter group).
mageist24 forfeited this round.
tandlj forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
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