The Instigator
Cunit0814
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points
The Contender
ewo2
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points

Marijuana should be legalized for both Medicinal and Recreational use

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,594 times Debate No: 13687
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (6)

 

Cunit0814

Pro

I believe that Marijuana should be legalized for Recreational use. I will let my opponent go first.
ewo2

Con

Hello, and thanks to Pro for giving me the opportunity to debate this important issue.

I will begin by stating my contention. Growing marijuana, possessing marijuana, and using marijuana for recreational use (medical marijuana should be legal) should remain illegal, but the penalties for each of these violations should be altered drastically. This is a much more reasonable policy than full legalization.

I would like to begin by stating that I agree entirely and will not attempt to refute many of the claims I anticipate that my opponent will make. I agree that marijuana has been proven to be an effective treatment for pain, that THC has been adequately proven not to have a direct adverse effect on the human body, and that the United States' policy on drugs is completely ineffective and has made no progress whatsoever towards their goal. If my opponent would like to present any other traditional arguments against the illegality of marijuana, chances are quite high that I will agree with them. However, Pro should not be disinclined to present them - just know that we are probably on the same page on 90% of issues concerning marijuana.

I will now give overviews of how laws concerning marijuana should be changed, and the reasoning behind why it should not be fully legalized. I will not extensively cite sources, as this is an overview of my position - I will use hard data more extensively in later rounds, after I see what my parts of my argument my opponent chooses to combat.

First, the so-called "War on Drugs" has been proven to be completely ineffective by both marijuana advocacy groups and neutral government research. Those who still agree with our current policies, which incarcerate thousands of people each year on non-violent offenses and cost the tax-payer absurd sums of money, are very few and far between. Instead, fines and other violation level punishments should be enacted to control and discourage the recreational use of marijuana.

Why should marijuana not be fully legalized? There are several reasons.

1. The fact of the matter is, while THC itself is not a harmful substance, there are still negative health effects associated with the smoking of marijuana. It is reasonable to assume that if marijuana were legalized, marijuana cigarettes would begin to be sold in stores. As such, people would purchase and smoke these cigarettes. Some studies have found that, while 'joints' do not directly cause lung cancer or emphysema, they do have some negative effects on both the lungs and the brain.

2. Additionally, THC is an intoxicant. Anecdotal arguments are made quite often to suggest that marijuana use does not effect driving ability. However, this is absurd, as marijuana is a psychoactive chemical which has numerous effects on the brain and has drastically different effects which depend entirely on the user. Drunk driving is currently responsible for a great number of car accidents in the United States. While it is a fact that people use marijuana regardless of whether or not it is legal, and drive under the influence, I do not believe that legalizing it would have any positive effect in terms of curbing 'high driving'. Instead, methods for road-testing suspected drivers under the influence of marijuana should be developed, testing technology should be implemented by police departments, and laws should be changed to punish high drivers in the same way that drunk drivers are punished.

3. If legalized, marijuana would being to be mass-produced and large companies would soon dominate the market. Today's massive tobacco companies are very rich, and as such, have powerful lobbyists that make it very difficult to change laws concerning the distribution and marketing of cigarettes. It took years just to legally force tobacco companies to display warnings on their packets, and to change advertising methods to stop targeting children. There is no reason to assume that marijuana companies would enter the market with the public's good intentions at heart. Instead, the same types of money-mongers who capitalize on the public's urge to drink and smoke would presumably take control of the market and gain similar deceitful legal power. There is currently little control over the dangerous pesticides and chemical additives in tobacco cigarettes - again, there is no reason to assume these large marijuana companies would treat their crops and products with a similar disregard for their consumers' safety due to mass-production and distribution.

4. While it is true that marijuana smuggling is responsible for a great number of unnecessary casualties of drug wars in Mexico, marijuana is by no means the only drug these black market cartels are responsible for. While legalizing marijuana would certainly decrease gang activity dealing with that particular drug, it would simply shift their focus to other drugs or illicit activities. It would take full across-the-board legalization of all drugs to effectively end these deadly battles, and that is not the resolution.

5. The culture of intoxicant use in America has a long history, and while views have shifted over the years, there is still a general attitude of reverence towards legal intoxicants, especially alcohol. The simple fact is that legalizing marijuana would cast it in a more favorable light. While alcohol is known to have detrimental effects on the human body, the fact that this is generally recognized does not diminish the drinking culture that is promoted in films and on college campuses nationwide. The fact that alcohol is legal means it is generally permitted, and endorsing yet another intoxicant does not seem productive.

6. Legalizing marijuana would mean that it would be easier to obtain. While those that seek it are able to find it, it is still more difficult and risky than simply walking into a store and purchasing it. This would mean that underage (if, as should be presumed, there was an age law associated with marijuana) people would also be able to obtain it more easily, and marijuana IS proven to have a negative effect on the developing brain.

Combining the above reasons, among others, I do not support the legalization of recreational marijuana use.

A pre-negation: the argument that marijuana should be illegal because alcohol is illegal is not valid. If brought, I will explain why. If not contested my opponent excepts the validity of this statement.

I look forward to my opponent's argument! I have a feeling we are going to agree on a lot, but there are going to be key differences. Thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to debate this issue, and I look forward to a productive, illuminating debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Cunit0814

Pro

Thank you to my opponent who has made a very good argument, with some valid points. I see eye to eye on some of those points but as stated they're some fundamental differences in both of our arguments.

1. This is in relation to your argument in which you state "laws should be changed to punish high drivers in the same way that drunk drivers are punished." I disagree heavily with this statement, while I recognize that driving while under the influence of Marijuana poses some danger compared to someone who is sober, comparing the punishment of Driving while high on Marijuana to driving while intoxicated on Alcohol is a lot worse. Numerous studies from different organisation that the effects on driving while intoxicated from Marijuana are relatively benign. A study from researchers based at Hartford Hospital reveals that marijuana has little effect on the group's simulated driving skills, but did find drivers were more easily distracted under the influence. This is significant in which it is not the effects of Marijuana it self that poses the most risk while under the influence, rather the actions of those while driving, now why make the penalty just as severe for someone driving under the influence for something they might do that causes them to be distracted. If this is the case than shouldn't the drivers who get distracted by the radio, or putting make up on be penalized on the same level? My point being, while driving under the influence is as safe as driving sober obviously; the penalty should not be up there with Driving under the influence of Alcohol. The test included "Volunteers responded to various simulated events, which were associated with automobile crash risk. Those risks included a driver who was entering an intersection illegally, deciding to stop or go through a changing traffic light, responding to a presence of emergency vehicles, avoiding a collision with a dog who entered into traffic and maintaining safe driving during an in-the-car distraction." Reference; http://www.wfsb.com...

2. "If legalized, marijuana would being to be mass-produced and large companies would soon dominate the market." Marijuana is already mass produced in mass quantities, in fact studies find that Marijuana cultivation in the United States alone is valued at approximately $35 Billion, which far surpasses our other major cash crops such as Corn which is valued at approximately just $23 Billion. I agree with you that a major threat to the legalization is marketing from companies interested in making money, but that is not necessarily the case. Marijuana is a different case other than Tobacco. Tobacco companies must put in all those chemicals in their product because Tobacco itself in raw form is very harsh and practically nobody would smoke it, Marijuana is also very special as it can be easily cultivated by an individual also each plant may yield large quantities of Marijuana for the consumer; eliminating the need to buy from Tobacco-like companies marketing Marijuana. Government and Regulation is the key in safe Marijuana, Such as the medicinal Marijuana today in states across the United States that are tested for potency, quality, ect. The mass public is not going to buy a product with the same qualities similar to cigarettes in terms of Addiction, Harmfulness. Companies money would best be spent selling clean, potent Marijuana to stores instead of adding in harmful chemicals. Clean Marijuana would be available everywhere you go anyways so the only way big name Marijuana companies could survive is if they combine Convenience with Potency and Cleanliness, Marijuana is fine to smoke right off the plant after Drying and curing which eliminates the need to add harmful materials into it, it would just be wasted profit at the money they would already be making.

3. 4. "marijuana is by no means the only drug these black market cartels are responsible for. While legalizing marijuana would certainly decrease gang activity dealing with that particular drug, it would simply shift their focus to other drugs or illicit activities." To a point I agree, then to a point I disagree. on October 18 when the Mexican Army and police seized 134 tons of marijuana, wrapped and ready to be smuggled from Tijuana across the border. This was estimated worth of $338 Million. While it is true that the Drug cartels would try to import heavier amounts of different narcotics such as Cocaine and Heroin, the drug market isn't as available as it is with Marijuana. Thus in turn severely crippling drug Cartels. As referenced on this link http://www.druglibrary.org... which states that " 8,000,000 and 12,000,000 Americans had smoked marijuana at least once." "25 percent (2,000,000 to 3,000,000 smokers) were "social users, smoking marijuana on occasion when it is available, usually in a group context." and "The remaining 10 percent or less (800,000 to 1,200,000 marijuana smokers) "can be considered chronic users who devote significant portions of their time to obtaining and using the drug." and as referenced in this article http://www.thecyn.com... states "A 1997 study found that nearly 1.5 million people regularly abuse cocaine" While that study is outdated I recognize, one of the main reasons Marijuana is not smoked regularly by many Americans is the fact its illegal, legalization would bring more people to Smoke Marijuana thus increasing the amount of money the drug cartels lose compared to the margin they would be making on heavier drugs such as Cocaine and Heroin. Marijuana would make a very big dent in drug Cartel industry.

4. " The fact that alcohol is legal means it is generally permitted, and endorsing yet another intoxicant does not seem productive." I generally agree with most of your argument in this section except the quote I just listed. Your statement is correct by logic, but you also are not thinking broader. They're many cannabis users who smoke/ingest Marijuana to genially enhance their senses, let them look at things in a different light, and also to have a good time. Most alcoholics tend to act rationally when under the influence and tend to do drastic things they wouldn't normally do, these side effects can be again enhanced with the use of many Medications to provide sometimes deadly results. I'm not going to turn this into a "Alcohol is legal so Marijuana should be too debate" I'm just stating that they're some people who use it for productive activities or to calm an illness they may have, but in many cases the legalization of Cannabis can cause a safer alternative for those who go to drinking as an alternative to breaking the law. But like I said I pretty much agree with most of what my opponent said their I was just making my view clear.

All the points I did not hit are because I have very similar beliefs to you.

I would like to thank you for reading my argument and I'm looking forward to your rebuttal.
ewo2

Con

1.The information you present on the effects of marijuana is definitely interesting, but I have to ask, would legalizing marijuana for recreational use have any impact on lowering the instances of driving while high?

2.Pro has very good points here. However, I believe that legalizing marijuana and allowing companies in the US to mass-produce it for recreational use would have a negative effect on the safety of the product. Pro makes a good point saying that marijuana is a clean plant, but so are oranges, apples, and grapes. You can eat these right off the plant. Now that food is mass-grown, however, each individual plant gets less important. Harmful pesticides are blanketed over the crops by plane. Additives are used to preserve plants and enhance flavor. Seeds are genetically modified to produce the types of fruits we EXPECT when we go to the supermarket – we want big juicy oranges and crunchy apples, and we want them to be the same every time we buy them. They should look perfect, taste perfect, be perfect. We want this enough that we are willing to allow these big companies to use potentially hazardous chemicals to meet our standards.
We have a couple of options, of course, to avoid these potentially hazardous chemicals. We can buy local (or sometimes organic) foods that are guaranteed to be free of the chemicals, or we can grow our own crops. However, these options come at a premium. They are more expensive. People without the resources or time to eat healthy are forced into purchasing the cheap, often less healthy alternative. The same standard applies to the inebriants on the market today. More expensive cigarettes, like American Spirits, are additive free. Cheaper cigarettes are not. More expensive liquors are purer.
With marijuana legalized, there is no question that the corporate mass-producers of marijuana would seek the cheapest way to produce and distribute their crop. If that means making it less healthy by using pesticides, preservatives, and additives, so be it.
Now, you might argue that legalizing marijuana would mean local growers and home-growers could grow without risk, dropping prices and making the safe product more available. However, using the previous example, it is legal to grow fruit, and yet local products are still more expensive. This is because the mass-producers are extremely good at making their product as cheap and available as possible. There is no reason to assume that the mass-produced marijuana would not also be less expensive, forcing consumers without a lot of resources into purchasing that cheaper, less healthy alternative.
Also, keeping marijuana illegal maintains that element of risk on the parts of both mass-producers and local growers. This means less concern is placed on making the product cheap than on finding viable ways to distribute the product. Therefore, illegal growers have less incentive to use harmful chemicals to cheapen the product. People are willing to pay a lot of money (and currently do pay a lot of money) in order to obtain marijuana, and prices are high mostly because of the risk involved. In my experience (and if Pro has counter examples, please bring them) I have never heard a dealer describe one product as being ‘safer' due to less chemical use than another. This is because, due to its illegality, dealers don't fly planes over their crops dumping pesticides. Keeping it hidden is the whole point. Legalizing it would open the plant up to a world of additives and pesticides that are currently of no interest to growers and distributers, as their focus is on keeping it out of view, not making it cheaper.
Additionally, large companies invariably release different varieties of their product. This means using the cheapest chemical flavorings available. Marijuana is currently available in many varieties, but none that I know of are chemically flavored. If mass-producers were to flavor their products, which is an inevitable eventuality, they would seek to use the cheapest method available, which is chemicals, regardless of their health effects.

3.I agree that marijuana is a great source of income for these cartels. I am still not convinced, though, that legalizing marijuana would be the best way to stop the violence between these cartels. Black markets find a way to sustain themselves. Instead of putting a dent in these cartels' business by removing one of their sources of income, we should be more active in our assistance to Mexico in battling these cartels. This sounds hypocritical – after all, I have already conceded that the War on Drugs has been ineffective – but the difference is that we should be shifting our focus to eliminating the source of these drugs rather than discouraging its use with insane punishments for users.

4.As Pro said we generally agree here. However, the fact of the matter is that alcohol (and marijuana, actually) use is praised in this culture. I agree that the stoned pose an immeasurably lesser threat to society than drunks, but the fact is that legalizing marijuana is a way of endorsing its use. Currently there are countless medications that should by all rights be illegal that are instead prescribed by doctors. Is relying on these medications to solve our sleep issues, our depression, or our stress the best course of action? Absolutely not. Endorsing the use of drugs of any kind is a bad policy, as it gears our cultural attitude towards seeking release in the form of substances rather than the many beneficial alternatives to substance use. Why get an endorphin release from exercise when you can smoke a joint and feel twice as good? In that same mindset, why seek healthy ways to relieve stress and depression when you can pop a pill? In short, endorsing the use of drugs is bad for our cultural mindset.
Thanks, and I look forward to your reply!
Debate Round No. 2
Cunit0814

Pro

I would like to thank con for his rebuttal. Reading over it, we see eye to eye on many things. I would like to stress that most of his points he is trying to make however are based solely on opinion with no legitimate sources to back up his arguments. That being said his opinions are relate very closely to mine but as stated in my previous argument they're again some fundamental differences that separates us.

1. No, would legalizing marijuana for recreational use have any impact on lowering the instances of driving while high? No, obviously, however having it illegal will not lower the instances of driving while intoxicated on Marijuana either. The point that I was making is its been proven in fact that driving while intoxicated on Marijuana is substantially safer than driving while intoxicated on Alcohol or other legal prescription drugs such as: Xanax, and Hydrocodone. I do not condone driving under the influence or implying that it is safe, however I am saying that it is significantly safer than other legal narcotics available, I am implying that the punishment for doing so should be no where near classified of that on the same level as Driving under the influence of Alcohol and I see no need for their to be implemented devices to check if someone is intoxicated on Marijuana while driving.

2. Con makes a very valid argument here where he states about his concern with the quality and safeness of Marijuana if it is mass produced by large corporations. I will begin my argument here by pointing out a section in your post in which you state: "it is legal to grow fruit, and yet local products are still more expensive." This is a valid point and by theory is correct, fruit and vegetables are legal to grow and yet big corporations still rule the market, by theory this is correct however I feel you are comparing Marijuana too much to Fruit and other foods. The reasons why more people do not grow their own fruits and vegetables is because of time and land. To grow a full sized Apple tree it takes approximately 2-3 years to grow and mature and require a significant amount of land to grow many trees. This plays a big part as Marijuana cultivation takes approximately 6-10 weeks from from seed to harvest and require little amount of land for a large amount of crop which also yields a significant amount of Marijuana. I am not denying the fact that pesticides will not be used in the production of legal Cannabis because they probably will and they are used today, the fact of the matter is they're not necessary to use as pesticides can actually harm the plant as any good grower would no. Cheaper alternatives such as bat guano (http://www.marijuanafertilizers.com...) are great natural non-toxic fertilizers. Con is also neglecting the fact of other alternative growing of Marijuana such as Hydroponics which involves growing the Marijuana in water. As I stated before I cannot refute the fact of Pesticides as a potential hazard in the legalization of Cannabis but I do not think it should have any matter in the fact of Legalization of Cannabis.

3. This is the biggest disagreement that I have had so far with Con's proposal. Where he has made several hypocritical remarks in which he states "War on Drugs has been ineffective" and then states "eliminating the source of these drugs rather than discouraging its use with insane punishments for users." Most of the illegal plants grown such as Marijuana, Papi (Which produces Opium), and Coca; are significantly grown in 3rd world countries in which we have no control over the production for political reasons, the domestic grow and the war on drugs has also been severely ineffective. The war on Marijuana alone has cost the United States an estimated $42 Billion and 738,916 arrests for simple possession of Marijuana (http://www.alternet.org...), Think of all the things that the United States government could accomplish with an extra $42 billion. turning non-violent offenders into harden criminals and filling up prison cells where violent inmates need to be housed. It takes approximately �31,106 ($42,000) to house these non-violent inmates on top of that $42 billion. On top of that law enforcement has confiscated and destroyed millions upon millions of plants throughout the year and have not made a dent. The fact of the matter is Marijuana will be cultivated, produced, and sold no matter what the government does, the War on Cannabis is a failure so might as well tap into the money that we would save to pay for more important things like Health care and teachers which we so desperately need. Legalization of marijuana would take billions of dollars away from these drug cartels in fact hurting them more than spending billions of dollars fighting this endless war on drugs which we will never win. We have already been working with every organization possible and it still has had little impact on anything.

4. Con makes a valid point here but is digging way to deep into this when he states that "Why get an endorphin release from exercise when you can smoke a joint and feel twice as good?" A recent Government study indicates that over 83 Million people over the age of 12 years old will try Marijuana before they graduate school, and an estimated 200 Million Americans smoke it; on top of another 200 million will try it for the first time, Con is trying to imply that legalization of Marijuana will lead to a nation of "lazy stoners" which is simply not the case. The legalization of Marijuana I believe will have little effect on the amount of people who smoke it (But will obviously increase slightly.) Legalization will simply take away the harsh punishments of smoking this benign plant freeing up billions upon billions of dollars, clearing up prison cells in our crowded prisons. I believe if we should endorse anything endorse something that has many benefits, that actually relaxes you, and something that will generate billions of dollars to the economy and have numerous positive effects on the nation as a whole, Prohibition doesn't work, it has never worked, thus why not take advantage of it.

Thank you to my readers and to Con, I have had a wonderful time debating with you so far and look forward to your future response. I urge my readers to look over my argument and see the facts that are clearly laid out and see that I am the correct side to vote for!

Thank you, I am looking forward to your rebuttal!
ewo2

Con

Great! Thanks for the quick response. Now it's time to rebut and wrap this up…
1.The fact of the matter is that "drug-driving" laws exist already in most states. (http://www.1800duilaws.com...) These laws include the legal drugs you mentioned. Legal drugs that impair coordination are required to state so on their labels, and violating that warning should and does result in a penalty. I still endorse these types of penalties on drivers under the influence of drugs, including marijuana. It's legality is really of no concern in this debate, and I brought it up solely as a way of demonstrating that laws regarding marijuana need to be changed to deal with the actual danger it poses to society, which is that it is an inebriant, not that it's damaging to the user. My entire argument revolves around the fact that marijuana should remain illegal, but the laws governing it should be massively overhauled. We should focus on the aspects of drugs that are actually dangerous and adequately equip our law enforcement with the tools and policies that will have a positive impact on the problem.
2.I also maintain that corporations if given the ability to legally grow and distribute marijuana commercially, would seek the cheapest method without regards to safety. Additionally, I maintain that, because of convenience and cost, most people would purchase their marijuana from these large corporations, thereby exposing themselves to the harmful additives and pesticides used in its production. In essence, legalizing marijuana would make it less safe to consume.
3.My opponent is actually agreeing with me on this point without realizing it. My contention is that we need to drastically change the laws concerning marijuana. As he states, we are jailing non-violent dealers and users, gobbling up resources that could be used much more effectively elsewhere. I agree. Instead of punishing the person who winds up with the product, we need to fight it at the source. The Mexican government is rife with corruption and cartel influence, which means their efforts are doomed to fail. The government may fight one cartel, but another cartel is making the campaign contributions that put that government in office. (http://bigjournalism.com...) What needs to be done to solve this problem? The US must immediately cease funding to the Mexican government for its War on Drugs, and must instead assist the government in gathering genuine intel and demanding that Mexico follow through on it. It is not just Mexico's problem – violence is bleeding over the border, so it's our War too.
4.Pro misinterpreted my argument here, perhaps because it looked like I was making that clich� reference to the lazy stoner. I was no attempting to make that correlation. I simply wanted to say that government-endorsed unhealthy behavior is not productive. My opponent agrees with me that laws need to be changed to keep users out of jail, and the absurd amount of resources we dedicate to this ‘problem' should be allocated elsewhere. While legalizing it outright is not the correct answer, analyzing what has and has not worked in our drug policy and adjusting laws accordingly would be of great benefit to the USA.
Great debate Pro, regardless of who wins. Thanks for the challenge.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cunit0814 6 years ago
Cunit0814
I don't understand, even if it is bias it doesn't mean its correct so if you had any debating skills what-so-ever you could try to uphold your own argument. Spelling Marijuana correctly would be a start ;).
Posted by joshuaXlawyer 6 years ago
joshuaXlawyer
I hate debating marjuiana because i have come to learn pot heads biasly vote for the side who uphold pot so yeah im not doing another one
Posted by Cunit0814 6 years ago
Cunit0814
Fair enough, I don't agree with some of them obviously but we'll let the other users decide.
Posted by ewo2 6 years ago
ewo2
Cunit, I voted honestly as well. I think I did a better job, so I voted accordingly. I don't see what the big deal is. It was a good debate, let's leave it at that.
Posted by Cunit0814 6 years ago
Cunit0814
I did self vote, however I tried to do it as honestly as possible to my firm belief on who supplied better conduct, not just to get myself votes.
Posted by ewo2 6 years ago
ewo2
I self-voted because my opponent did. I usually don't vote on my own debates.
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
@ewo2
I'm curious as to how/why you gave yourself the vote for sources. Pro obviously gave more sources for his information. They were unbiased for the most part as well. At the very least, you should change that vote to tie. I'm not a big fan of the self vote, anyway. I did it once when my opponent forfeit, but only the conduct vote.
Posted by Cunit0814 6 years ago
Cunit0814
I would like to thank my opponent for a great debate and I look forward to future debates with him!
Posted by ewo2 6 years ago
ewo2
Sorry, a couple of corrections to my round 1 post:

1. Under my third point it should say "there is no reason NOT to assume that the large marijuana companies..."

2. The pre-negation should say "the argument that marijuana should be LEGAL because alcohol is LEGAL is not valid. If brought, I will explain why. If not contested my opponent excepts the validity of this statement.
Posted by mageist24 6 years ago
mageist24
i made a debate about this. My opponent was a fruit....
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Vote Placed by SimonN 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Cunit0814 6 years ago
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