The Instigator
PartamRuhem
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Con (against)
Losing
7 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...
PartamRuhem
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/24/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,999 times Debate No: 19458
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (6)

 

PartamRuhem

Pro

Full resolution: "Marijuana should be legalized for recreational and medical purposes in the United States.

I thank SocialPinko for hosting this tournament. I will be arguing that marijuana should be legalized.

Definitions:

Should- indicating a desirable or expected state [1]

Recreational- any substance with pharmacologic effects that is taken voluntarily for personal pleasure or satisfaction rather than for medicinal purposes. [2]

Medical- curative; medicinal; therapeutic [3]

This will be 4 rounds, the first being acceptance and clarifications if my opponent wishes to state any. The last round will NOT include new sources. Use of unorthodox semantics (discretion of voters) should be seen as a loss.

Good luck!

1. http://oxforddictionaries.com...
2. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...
3. http://dictionary.reference.com...
larztheloser

Con

Let me begin by thanking my opponent for setting up such a good topic and such a good debate so quickly. I'd also like to thank SocialPinko for inviting me to his tournament and everybody who might be reading this debate, for taking the time to inform themselves on such an important issue. As you may have guessed, I accept my opponent's challenge and all of his definitions. One minor clarification that might be useful for voters to bear in mind is that "legalized" refers to a generic first-world nation, with no specific jurisdiction in mind. Other than that, I'm ready to get this debate rolling! To my opponent I wish the best of luck, and I look forward to reading his opening contentions.
Debate Round No. 1
PartamRuhem

Pro

I can look forward to debating such a fine opponent as Lars is. I ask that he refrain from making rebuttals in his opening argument, for it would unbalance the debate. Rebuttals will be made in the 3rd round. I apologize for not clarifying this earlier.

I will be arguing for the legalization of marijuana in three contentions, and they are:

C1. Economic Benefit
C2. Personal Autonomy
C3. Health Benefit

Good luck!

Economic Benefit
The war on drugs. This is a war that sees no end, no progress, yet constantly leeches billions to be funneled into numerous programs and enforcement of prohibition. Legalizing cannabis (marijuana) would accrue $8.7 billion in savings [1]. That's money that was solely spent through the war on drugs on containing marijuana, which hasn't been done. In 2002, 17.3% of adults aged 18-25 smoked marijuana. In 2010, of that same group, 18.5% smoked marijuana [2]. The war on marijuana doesn't seem to be working; legalizing marijuana would get rid of the facade that these programs are deterring anyone from using, and it will save us billions. Oddly enough, another $8.7 billion dollars is to be had through tax revenues from legalizing marijuana [1]. That's a total of $17.4 billion dollars we can save by legalizing cannabis.

This isn't to mention the amount of people and families it will put to work. The marijuana industry would be a enormous one; growing, shipping, distributing, researching, etc. In California alone, the industry would be expected to create 50,000 jobs at around $1.4 billion in wages [3]. Finding stats on the amount of jobs marijuana would create is difficult, seeing as it's illegal, but if we take the 50K and multiply it by 50 (number of states) then subtract 10,000 for each state (pretty rough math, but Cali. is a big state. Some would create more jobs, others less.), then we are left with a number of jobs in between 2,000,000 and 2,500,000. That's that many less impoverished families, with that much more money (approx. $70 billion) to be commercially spent, thus stimulating the economy to a great extent.

Personal Autonomy
Marijuana use is illegal in the eyes of the government, but what if you feel differently? Even if you don't, is it O.K. as a third person to take away someone's right and freedom to partake in any activity they wish, as long as it doesn't hurt another individual's rights? The most widespread answer would be no, it's not alright. Freedom is what this country was found upon, and laws that prohibit that freedom are unjust and unconstitutional; marijuana use doesn't impose on the rights of others, so why make it illegal? Alcohol is legal, and I would argue that that heavily imposes on other's rights. Drunk driving alone causes the deaths of too many innocent individuals, yet you can get alcohol in probably every small town in this country. We can see a lack of consistency within our government, and it's time to change that.

Think of it this way....members of the Ku Klux Klan are allowed to meet and discuss how white's are supreme and probably trash talk local African-Americans, and that's totally legal. Yet, once you take a puff of that cheba, you are a villain and are put under arrest. Does this make a whole lot of sense? A drug that literally has killed nobody is illegal, while congregating to express racism isn't. While I agree that the latter should remain legal, it's silly to think that marijuana should remain illegal with things way worse going on.

Health Benefits
Widely thought is that marijuana is harmful to your body. The opposite is actually true. It is concluded that marijuana doesn't attribute to cancer growth or development, but rather hinders it and protects one from cancer. Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years, stated to the Washington Post that his latest, largest to date survey of it's kind found no correlation between cancer and marijuana, and stated that "marijuana also contains the chemical THC which...may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous." [4] Think of the potentiality of marijuana and the chemicals it contains; keeping it illegal means keeping further research of these chemicals and their effects illegal. We need to legalize marijuana in order to develop further stages of cancer treatments through THC.

Not only is it helpful in cancer situations, where cancer cells actually die when exposed to cannabis [5], but cannabis is relieving in a variety of facets. "Cannabis and cannabinoids have been studied in the laboratory and the clinic for relief of pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, and loss of appetite" [5]

|Conclusion|

It's simply myopic at this point to frown upon the legalization of marijuana. It's variety of uses combined with the revenue it would bring in shines above and beyond any possible risk it imposes. All of this is unnecessary in providing a case for marijuana, however, because Personal Autonomy rules over all else. As long as you aren't imposing on another individual's rights, you are free to do what you will. On a personal level, it's not the job of the government to limit you. They should not be allowed to tell you you can't buy a certain plant any more than they can tell you you can't buy a certain bread. The thought is ludicrous. The definition of should has been met through my case. "Should- indicating a desirable or expected state." Those who try to argue that marijuana's benefits are not desirable are clearly not looking at the facts.

I urge the readers to keep reading on! Favorite the debate! Keep up with it! And VOTE VOTE VOTE!

Thank you.

Sources
1. http://www.drugwarfacts.org...
2. http://oas.samhsa.gov...
3. http://www.canorml.org...
4. http://www.washingtonpost.com...
5. http://www.cancer.gov...
larztheloser

Con

I thank my opponent for writing up his case. As requested, I will abstain from offering rebuttals until next round.

What does legalisation of a substance do?
In schools, we teach children to stay away from cannabis. In addition, we teach children to stay away from tobacco. Yet around the world, smoking rates are consistently higher for tobacco over cannabis. Why? Because after kids are told "don't do cannabis" we say "if you do cannabis, you could be arrested," while after being told "don't smoke tobacco" we say "but you are free to do so." It's not just in our education system either. Adults who go to the store (which is pretty much all adults) are exposed to the opportunity to purchase cigarettes, but not cannabis. Indeed, if they want to buy cannabis, they need to go out of their way to find and deal with a good cannabis dealer. If we can buy cigarettes with our groceries, cigarettes become normalised. Exactly the same parallels can be drawn between cannabis and alcohol.

That explains why the act of making a substance legal increases usage rates. For example, in Alaska, cannabis decriminalisation led to a rate of use among teens twice that of the US national average [1]. In Australia, a survey of young non-drug users found 29% didn't use cannabis because it was illegal. The same survey found 19% of ex-cannabis users quit because it was illegal [2]. Scarily, in Great Britain, the downgrading of the penalties for cannabis directly caused an increase in deaths from harder drugs (proving the so-called "gateway drug" effect) by a massive 15% [3]. I want to make this very clear - if cannabis was legal, more people would use it.

Isn't cannabis a medicine?
Recently there has been some evidence that cannabis might have some medicinal benefit, although there is no research that it actually cures anything. For each of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, however, I can point to another drug or therapy that achieves exactly the same, if not a superior, effect. In medicine, however, there is also an old principle, going back to the days of Hippocrates, called "do no harm." That principle is not only good ethically, but part of the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take upon graduation from medical school. The practical effect is that when two remedies are available, but one has fewer side effects than the other, doctors should prescribe the one with the least side effects. I'll go into detail about the alternatives to cannabis next round, but you can see the side effects by reading about the harms to users below.

A flow-on harm is that people start to self-medicate more if cannabis is seen as a legitimate alternative. For instance, marijuana is already used by many cancer patients. Not only is cannabis utterly useless compared to other drugs, but cannabis actually contains a truckload of carcinogens making the cancer worse[4] - indeed, cannabis carries 20 times the risk of lung cancer as cigarettes [5]. At one time, cannabis was also self-medicated by AIDS sufferers to ease their pain. Doctors have always known, however, that cannabis actually weakens the immune system[6]. Basically, my contention is this: cannabis is an un-necessary and ineffective medicine that comes bundled with dangerous side-effects. Besides that, increased self-medication is a very real harm for dual recreational and medical drugs.

Individual harms
In the United Kingdom alone, 30,000 people die every year of smoking cannabis [7]. In the United States there are no similar statistics, but it is a factor in at least 64,000 deaths annually [8]. If you're one of the lucky few who doesn't die, you are likely to suffer from mental illness and watch your lungs get annihilated [9], before feeling the effects of a string of cardiovascular issues [10]. The worst part - it's addictive, making it harder to change your mind [11]. In return for these long-term effects (not to mention short-term problems such as memory loss, which particularly causes young people to fail at education[12]), you temporarily lose your sense of reality somewhat. That's why 15% of teen car deaths involve marijuana [13]. After that "high" you get a "low," where you feel really bad (as if crashing your car isn't bad enough). The next time you do cannabis, your high will diminish. That leads the smoker to seek stronger drugs to regain the sense of euphoria from losing sense their of reality, multiplying the harm, and causing (in part) the gateway drug effect. That's just the start (and I may offer more next round), but to be fair to my opponent I think these 10 harms (including those cited under self medication) are enough for now.

Family/Friends
Cannabis smokers are sick much more often than usual [14]. As well as the harm to the economy, somebody needs to look after them. The problem is that this very same somebody will frequently have had all their hard-earned money stolen to fuel a cannabis addiction. Many communities also consider cannabis use morally reprehensible, leading to lying, deceit, families being torn apart and communities shattered. All these harms would accrue even if there was no criminal element to marijuana supply, which I deal with below. In addition, cannabis can cause users to commit crime, particularly property damage [15]. And you know how tobacco has a problem with second-hand smoke? Yeah, that happens with marijuana too. Not to mention the fact that they're going to face higher insurance charges and taxes to compensate for the greater number of cannabis users/abusers.

Society
Amsterdam is a beautiful city, home to about 7000 marijuana addicts. The law enforcement costs are causing the Dutch a deficit far above the taxes from marijuana. Over the same period that drug use worldwide fell (a 75% decrease in reported cannabis use in the USA) drug use in the Netherlands increased widely (from 30 to 300 "cannabis coffee shops")[16]. Among young people, consumption tripled [17]. Aside from the financial problem, there is also a criminal problem. As David Raynes puts it: "There is the big lie that legalising drugs will take the criminality out of supply. What nonsense. Illegal traders who pay no taxes of any sort can always undercut legitimate traders" [18]. All that was effected to stop marijuana being a gateway drug. However, Amsterdam still has more drug trafficking issues than anywhere else in Europe. For a small country, that's an appalling record. Now imagine applying all of these societal harms to a big country - like the United States - and you get the picture. Besides all that, look at all the political lawsuits, political lobbying and deep-seated corruption that exists within the cigarette industry. Do you really want a second drug industry doing that?

I look forward to reading my opponent's rebuttals!

Sources
1 - http://www.usdoj.gov... (PDF report)
2 - http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au... (PDF report)
3 - http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
4 - http://www.abovetheinfluence.com...
5 - http://www.reuters.com...
6 - http://cyber.law.harvard.edu...
7 - http://tinyurl.com...
8 - http://drugwarfacts.org...
9 - http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
10- http://en.wikipedia.org...
11- http://www.well.com...
12- http://psycnet.apa.org...
13- http://www.drugabuse.gov...
14- http://www.medic8.com...
15- http://www.sarnia.com...
16- http://www.druglibrary.org...
17- http://tinyurl.com...
18- http://www.justthinktwice.com...
Debate Round No. 2
PartamRuhem

Pro

Thank you for your timely opening round. In this round, I will refute my opponents arguments.

Legalization of a substance

My opponent states that legalizing something will result in higher usage; we agree on this point. Society will deem it more appropriate to follow the law, as is apparent. However, when Con states that Great Britain had a 15% increase in deaths from all drug once marijuana penalties were downgraded, we must look at the facts. The numbers used in this source are miniscule, nothing that can actually be substantial enough to show a link between marijuana and harder drugs (gateway effect). Deaths from Ecstasy increased from 33 in 2003 and 48 in 2004; cocaine increased from 113 to 147 in this time span; heroin 591 to 744. There are a multitude of variables that most likely change the number of deaths per year from these drugs. Citing the fact that they lessened marijuana penalties as reason why more are dead isn't logical. On top of this, these numbers are far too small to look into.

Medicine
My opponent states that he can point to another drug that accomplishes the same effects as marijuana with less harm. If we take a look at the statistics, which I will greatly expand on later, marijuana has caused zero deaths [1]. Over-the-counter-medicines and prescription medicines have killed thousands [2].

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, unintentional overdose deaths involving prescription opioids increased 114 percent from 2001 (3,994) to 2005 (8,541), the most recent nationwide data available..." [2]

I would love for my opponent to point to something that can alleviate anxiety, anorexia, pain, vomiting, and many others, while having MINIMUM side effects. I will happily go find statistic on how many have overdosed on that drug, because they most definitely exist.

In accordance to my opponent's statement's about carcinogens in marijuana being more abundant then in tobacco, I can agree. Marijuana does indeed contain a high amount of carcinogens. However, marijuana also contains THC, which actually helps deter cancer. "...marijuana also contains the chemical THC, which [Tashkin] said may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous." [3] He states that marijuana contains 20 times the risk of lung cancer, but again, there is not a single case of lung cancer from marijuana alone [1]. On top of this, the study actually doesn't include hard evidence that links marijuana to lung cancer, but has "hypothetical" and "could" used in it, words that are not definite.

The lowering of the immune system is not validly represented by my opponent. According to my opponent's source, marijuana weakens the immune system in those who already have immune system deficiencies, which is solely due to the smoke. "Smoking marijuana regularly (a joint a day) can damage the cells in the bronchial passages which protect the body against inhaled microorganisms and decrease the ability of the immune cells in the lungs to fight off fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells." [4] Again, it states this in accordance to those with immune deficiencies. To administer this medicine to these patients with deficiencies in their immune systems, marijuana should be ingested. This eliminates the smoke factor and eliminates all chance of infection in these people, while leaving the medicinal calming effect. What my opponent advocates is more pills and more artificial drugs, which end up killing a fair amount of people yearly.

For example, take Vioxx. It was created to alleviate pain for arthritis, yet also created more than double the chance of heart attacks and strokes in users [5]. Marijuana, however, would not increase either of these risks, yet will alleviate that pain.

Individual harms
It must be made clear that 30,000 people do not die every year in Britain smoking cannabis. This is a misrepresentation of evidence by my opponent. Every reader here can look over the source. It does not state that 30K a year die, but that 30K a year could die. Here is the exact quote: "Cannabis may be responsible for the deaths of 30,000 people a year if the ill-effects of smoking the drug are comparable to those of smoking tobacco, researchers say." This is not the same as my opponent's statement. The article goes on to make hypothetical comparisons, all of which are unsubstantiated.

Con's 64,000 deaths stat was not found on the link he provided, nor could I find it on some other anti-cannabis sites.

Con then states that you can become mentally retarded by smoking weed and says your lungs will be annihilated. While the latter of these two has already been refuted (no lung cancer, no deaths, and actual prevention of cancer in the lungs), the former has not. Again, however, the evidence was construed from the original source. The source actually targets those under the age of 15 who have smoke cannabis. 10% of them developed schizophrenia by age 26. Obviously, just as with tobacco and alcohol, there would be age limits along with legalization. Nowhere did I advocate for no age limits. 15 is a young age where the brain is still developing. Still, the number is again a very small one (1 out of 10).

Addictive- My opponent's source for this dates back to 1984, something I would consider a little too old to be using in a debate on current data and trends. Also, my sources point to the other direction. A chart was put together, comprised of a variety of drugs, in an attempt to rate them addiction wise, 1-6, 6 being highest/ very dependent. Categories were established to evaluate all facets of the drug. In dependence, marijuana got a 1, lower than coffee. It also got a one in withdrawal and tolerance [6]. This shows marijuana not to be addictive. Even if marijuana was addictive, it's irrelevant, for a user has the right to get addicted if they so wish. Why is tobacco legal? Nicotine achieved a 6 on the chart, yet it's sold in every gas station in America.

"Fail at education" Again, marijuana won't be administered to kids, though the source yet again is taken out of context.

15% of car accidents in teens involve marijuana- "...often in combination with alcohol or other drugs." [7] is the other part of that article. Even so, studies suggest that those who drive after smoking are capable [1].

Family
Con states marijuana users are sick more often than not. His source doesn't state this. Marijuana users don't steal money. Property damage wasn't linked in the source, which was from 1999.

For characters sake, I must not elaborate too much on the remainder of the points. I will state that if marijuana were to be legalized, legitimate traders would benefit more then illegitimate. Growing on your own would obviously be prohibited, and the quality of the marijuana shops would be supreme to the shady drug dealer who lives in the dark alley who has brick weed and coke he likes to mix in....Come on, which would you pick? Political lobbying and lawsuits comes with every company. That's not sufficient reason to not legalize something.

|Conclusion|
I've refuted Con's points. We can all see marijuana to be harmless, beneficial to the economy, and beneficial to the patient.

Thank You.

Sources
1. http://www.drugwarfacts.org...
2. http://www.drugwarfacts.org...
3. http://www.washingtonpost.com...
4. http://cyber.law.harvard.edu...
5. Owen, David G., "Dangers in Prescription Drugs: Filling a Private Law Gap in the Healthcare Debate," Connecticut Law Review (Hartford, CT: University of Connecticut School of Law, February 2010) Volume 42, Number 3, p. 737
6. http://www.drugwarfacts.org...
7. http://www.drugabuse.gov...
larztheloser

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for his excellent rebuttals. In this round, I will rebut my opponent's case and defend mine.

Economic Benefit
Marijuana has never raised any money in taxes anywhere when it's been legalised. His source only made an estimate based on current consumption patterns, without taking into account any of the costs of legalisation. I've already shown you the example of Amsterdam - you don't raise money with marijuana. As to the war not working, there are a lot of non-working expensive-to-enforce laws. For example, murder rates are on the increase in many countries, and catching murderers is certainly very expensive, but that's no reason to legalise murder.

On creating jobs, what's often forgotten is that the marijuana industry already employs a lot of people - the figure just isn't reported. The only way the industry would create more jobs is if more people buy more cannabis. Trouble is, however, if people spend more money on cannabis, they won't have so much money to spend on other stuff, like food. That means that producers in other industries earn less money (negating any economic stimulus) and thus have to lay off staff (negating the hypothetical job gains). Holistically, the economy will lose production because of the extra sick days of smokers. More on that later.

Personal Autonomy
First, I don't accept the presumption that marijuana has no third-party harms, but I'll deal with that shortly. Second, the government regulates things all the time that don't harm others, such as the wearing of seatbelts or bicycle helmets, if there is a legitimate rational that the user may otherwise be in danger. The current cannabis policy is entirely consistent with that. Third, just because an answer is widespread doesn't mean it's justified. My opponent offered no justification as to why we're free to harm ourselves. Personal autonomy will always be tempered by our obligations as citizens, one of which is not to put ourselves into excessive amounts of danger (such as by smoking marijuana or not wearing seatbelts).

As to consistency, that's a whole different debate. I'd gladly argue that the sale of alcohol and cigarettes should be much more restricted or outlawed some other time. Right now, we're arguing about what should be done with cannabis.

Health Benefits
It seems my opponent and I agree that pure THC should be legal (in fact, in many western jurisdictions it is). Great! THC, however, is not marijuana, which if anything causes more cancer than THC suppresses. My opponent's argument is like saying "marijuana contains water, which has been proven to be good, so let's legalise marijuana." That's illogical. Water can be procured from the tap, just as THC can be made in the lab. The advantage is that are there no other dangerous chemicals from marijuana mixed with the medicine. That's why proving water or THC to be good is a great argument for legalising water or THC, not marijuana!

By the way, I also agree marijuana should be legal for research purposes, just not recreational or medical. As the example of Donald Tushkin proves, that's the status quo. I'm glad my opponent at least admits that there are an abundance of carcinogens in cannabis.

As to the minor effects, such as pain relief, I've already stated cannabis can have a suppressive effect. Any trip to the pharmacy, however, will reveal that the world has no shortage of pain killers or nausea drugs. I agree Vioxx was a mistake, but millions of pain killers have worked with very little issue, such as Panadol and Neurofen. They probably won't give you cancer or mental issues either. To spare my opponent the trouble, yes overdosing is a problem, but the reason why people overdose is typically not because they're dumb, it's because they have some mental issue and feel a little suicidal. That's the problem we need to target. Often the reason for this mental issue, and therefore the problem, is marijuana. You don't need to legalise more drugs just because the few that are available are sometimes abused.

On to self-medicating. My opponent didn't address this directly but he cast doubt on my sources for people who did self-medicate. On AIDS self-medicating patients, my opponent should note that AIDS is a type of immuno-deficiency, meaning the immune system IS already deficient. On cancer self-medicating patients, even if my study did not directly prove causation, a thirtyfold increase on tobacco (already known to be a leading cause of cancer) cannot really be mere coincidence.

Individual Harms
My opponent's right - 30,000 deaths is far too low, since I've already established cannabis is far worse than tobacco.

If 1 in 10 cannabis users get schizophrenia, that's not a 'very small' number! That's a huge problem. That's 1.85% of the United States (extrapolating from pro's round 1 18.5% figure) getting mentally ill because of cannabis - not to mention the other mental issues cannabis can cause. That's about 5.5 million more mental patients burdening the USA's hospitals and, given the higher crime rates for people with mental problems, the USA's prisons. Can you really afford that?

On addiction, I agree cannabis is less addictive than some other drugs, but as I've said whether or not we ban other drugs is a matter for another debate. Just because something is presently legal doesn't mean it should be! However, my opponent's chart only looked at physical addiction, dependence and tolerance. Note that my research is about mental addiction. And no, our brains haven't changed that much since 1984. Cannabis is highly mentally addictive, even if it isn't physically addictive.

As to the education point, I wonder why my opponent thinks more school kids smoke tobacco than cannabis, even though both are illegal for young people? As I continuously reiterate - people do that which they are normalised to. I've also proven that normalisation starts in school. It doesn't matter whether he'd keep purchasing illegal, because his policy will hook more young people on cannabis anyway. Look at the Alaska example I sourced last round.

My opponent said nothing about the gateway effect, other than to suggest my study was not sufficient evidence. First, it was enough for the British government statisticians to attribute it in their report. Second, I provided a strong logical basis for the figures that my opponent ignored.

Family
My opponent denies my source about sickness says anything about getting sick. Actually, yes it does (unless you don't count cancer etc as sickness). In addition, here is a report of a study that proved a 78% increase in absenteeism among marijuana users: http://www.nytimes.com....

On stealing money, here's the UK police saying marijuana users steal money and property to fuel their addiction: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk.... Here's an example: http://www.pottsmerc.com....

Society
Legitimate traders would not benefit more then illegitimate - just look at all the real world examples I pointed to, like Amsterdam or Alaska. Who benefited more there? Why would we be any different? Marijuana is expensive enough as-is, and gangs aren't going to disappear just because you legalise their main source of income. As to property damage, the article I sourced cited dozens of studies showing property damage, but I guess voters can see that for themselves.

On lobbying, no, that's just the drugs industry. Do we see political corruption around the kiwifruit industry, or the plaster industry? I thought not.

At this point my opponent runs out of characters, so he clearly hasn't refuted all of my points. Out of fairness I'll offer no new points, so long as my opponent does try to tackle the remainder of my arguments, though I suspect it will be too little, too late. I wish my opponent good luck for the final round.
Debate Round No. 3
PartamRuhem

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for such an enlightening debate.
Now before I begin with my final argument, I would like to make something explicitly clear; sources justify statements .

What I mean by this is that anyone can say anything, about anything. Literally, I can tell you that men can transform into bats and go the speed of light. You wouldn't believe this, of course, unless I backed it up with a source: an article describing it happening, a science report on the transformation process, etc. So when someone states something, it's necessary to validate it with a source. My opponent's sources are mostly misinterpreted, as I stated in my last round, and even in his most recent round, the sources were either absent or misrepresented.

On a debate that dictates the usage of facts, the reader's must weigh out the sides of the debate based on source usage, among other things. Seeing as my opponent has ultimately failed to use sources objectively (rather, he lies about what the source says), sources should be forfeited to me. This is not me berating my opponent's intelligence or comprehension whatsoever, but it's me clearing up a vital part of this debate.

Now, I would like to move on to defending my case, then attacking my opponent's, and finishing off with a conclusion.

Economic Benefit
My opponent tries stating that marijuana won't create revenue. This is wrong, for I have shown that my estimates target those who already smoke marijuana, and shows the tax money that will come out of it. No business costs more than it makes, for otherwise they would go under, so the idea that it would cost more to legalize marijuana then the billions we currently spend on the "war on marijuana" is absurd. Our monetary output for this "war" would all turn back around and comes back to us, while we make tax money on the marijuana sales. Marijuana would most likely be taxed as a luxery good, and would probably have a death tax on it (things that harm someone have higher taxes, though marijuana harms nobody, the government would probably still put this tax on it).

His amsterdam example doesn't cover anything about marijuana costs, nor is it relevant for it's a completely different culture, with a different economy. Foreign countries provided too many variables when dealing with law based debate.

My opponent then tries stating that the marijuana industry already employs tons of people, but it isn't reported....to this, I ask why it isn't reported? Such a statement is completely unsupported. The number is low, and is directed solely at medical marijuana. If cannabis were legalized for recreational usage as well, we would see this employment skyrocket, for even as my opponent stated, things are used more when they are legalized. He then tries arguing that people won't have money for food....this is kind of ridiculous. It's assumed that people will not spend all their money on marijuana, just as people don't usually spend all their money on cigarrettes or booze, though both of those are much more addictive then marijuana. There is no correlation between marijuana purchases and lack of food....and the same goes for marijuana usage and sick days, and marijuana usage and unemployment. People will still have money for other things....if someone want's a TV, they will still go out and buy it, and the same goes for food, gas, books, and so on. Businesses will not suffer to great lengths because of the marijuana industry.

Personal Autonomy
You can't refute the freedom that is embodied within every man and woman through the constitution. The government has no say in what you do to yourself, because you are you, and you can do what you want with your body. It's for this exact reason that poisons like alcohol and tobacco are legal. Even junkfood causes more issues then marijuana!
"...obligations as citizens, one of which is not to put ourselves into excessive amounts of danger..." It's this exact thought that causes my opponent's argument to self-refute, so to speak. There are plenty of things that are legal by the government that cause EXCESSIVE damage to an individual, and to third parties. The government can't pick and choose which ones to make businesses out of, and which ones to keep illegal. Seeing as something very detrimental, such as alcohol, is sold widespread, it contradicts what my opponent is saying.

Health benefits
My opponent misunderstands the nature of marijuana. It contains multiple cannabinoids. THC is the most active, but all of them combined is what gives patients the medicinal effects, and what gives users the high. It's also what prevents cancer. You need the whole thing. Since my opponent has not proven that it is harmful, we can all see no problem with marijuana being legalized.

On pharmacy drugs, we must look at the options. Almost any over-the-counter drug can and will be ABUSED, that's just the world we live in. Marijuana CANNOT BE ABUSED. Zero people have died from marijuana, while if you went and bought a bottle of benedril and took the whole thing, you could die. This leads one to believe that it is harmful even in smaller doses, though it's just not as noticeable.

Self Medicating: It lowers immune systems in those with immune deficiencies through the smoke. This can be eliminated with cooking marijuana into foods, which my opponent hasn't refuted. Thus, marijuana is still beneficial.

Individual harms
My opponent simply states 30,000 is far too low of a number......I HAVE ALREADY PROVEN MARIJUANA TO NOT HAVE CAUSED A SINGLE DEATH EVER.

1 in 10 cannabis users UNDER THE AGE OF 15 develop schizophrenia after 11 years. Marijuana would not be administered to young ones, obviously there would be an age limit.

ON addiction: ANYTHING can be considered mentally addictive; computers, food, running, even DDO! (shocking, I know!). That doesn't warrant it to be illegal. On withdraw, marijuana also achieved a 1, so I don't see how it is addictive at all, if someone can smoke it for years, and stop suddenly with no ill effects.

There is no correlation that proves marijuana students will suffere in their education. I would post my source from previous rounds, drugwarfacts, but I will refrain for the structure of this debate limits it. IF the reader's are curious, however, by all means go click the link and look for education....the results show their to be no general decline in intelligence.

I did say that the gateway effect was nonsense, though I will elaborate on it. Let's take an example. A man enjoys smoking marijuana, though it's illegal. He has a drug dealer, who he really isn't friends with, but he sells him pot, so it's all good. That drug dealer starts pushing harder drugs on him, with false premises such as "It's great stuff, really helps your hair come in!" and all kinds of ridiculous salesman tactics. If it were legalized, that eliminates the creepy drug dealer. Everyone would be going to the clean, government regulated shops that sell solely marijuana (and probably snacks). The numbers my opponent used, as stated, were far too small to make a conclusive decision.

Conclusion
My opponent's last couple points, on marijuana users stealing money and destroying property, are not substantiated. Anyone can steal money and ruin property. There is no link to cannabis, just as there is no link to peanut butter and theft when someone steals money and goes and buys peanut butter with it. That's just people stealing. And lobbying and corruption seeps into every industry, even the kiwi one. It's just a matter of time. My contentions regarding the economic benefit, personal autonomy, and health benefits still stand, for my opponent hasn't refuted them. All the readers should give me sources, for my opponent INTENTIONALLY misrepresented them, and has yet to acknowledge his error.

I want to thank everyone
larztheloser

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for closing his case. In this round I will conclude and explain why all of my opponent's rebuttals have entirely failed.

I'm not going to tell you how to vote on anything, but I will say that I did not intentionally misrepresent any of my sources - indeed, I didn't even unintentionally misrepresent them. Rather than give in to pro's rant, readers should check sources for themselves. I did make one honest error in round one but that was cleared up in the comments. Additionally, aside from sources, the second way to back statements up is logic. I've been using plenty of logic to substantiate my case. Many of my opponent's statements, however, has neither logic nor sources. I'll be counting all the unsubstantiated assertions my opponent made last round. Additionally, many of my opponent's sources were from lobby groups (ie drugwarfacts) and are thus unreliable and should be ignored (although I'll refute their wild claims anyway).

I would like voters to take note, however, that while I addressed every one of my opponent's points in this debate, my opponent refuses to address many of mine. For instance, he ignored second-hand smoke, increasing insurance charges, higher taxes for non-users, and the moral reprehensibility of cannabis in many communities, among many others. That's not fair to me. That shows he fears confronting the issues. I specifically asked him to use the last round to rebut the remainder of my points, and despite the opportunity, introduced no new arguments as a gesture to help him. All this my opponent ignored. I can't debate if my opponent won't respond to what I say.

Economic Benefit
I've given half a paragraph of logic, and multiple sources, stating why marijuana has never raised tax revenue. I even quoted one of these sources in round two. My opponent, on the basis of a single source with estimates and some maths even he admits is probably shaky, has determined marijuana will raise millions. However, estimates can be wrong. My sources both explain why the estimate is wrong and give evidence for it, such as the experience of Amsterdam. Oh, wait, Amsterdam is a different country, so they'll be different, right? UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. Not only that, but I provided 3 examples from very different economies, one of which was Alaska. My sources had even more examples I could have used. The result has always been the same everywhere. Finally, yes, law enforcement costs are a cost of marijuana.

On to employment. The reason why the number of marijuana dealers and growers isn't reported is because the government doesn't know how many people are doing crime. My opponent tries to counter that by saying the only marijuana growers today are medicinal. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. Plus I told you job gains in one sector will be met by losses in another. Then he states there is no correlation between marijuana use and a long list of stuff, such as sick days. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. Plus I gave you sources to the contrary. Note I didn't state marijuana users eat less, I said they will be able to spend less if they give up some of their income on marijuana. Maybe they'll go to McDonald's instead of buying from the local organics shop. That has health harms too, but it mainly hurts certain sectors of the economy. To refute that logic, my opponent states businesses won't suffer. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION, refuted by my logic.

Personal Autonomy
This last round my opponent argues the US constitution gives everyone absolute personal liberty, with no restrictions on what I can do with body. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. I'm not American, but I'm pretty sure the constitution does NOT say people have absolute personal liberty. Indeed, if I remember correctly, the articles of the constitution do not mention "liberty" at all. That's the declaration of independence. I invite readers to check the constitution for themselves, I might be wrong.

My opponent talks at length about the need to be consistent with legislation, and how the government can't pick and choose. I've already told you I agree, and that we should ban all industries that cause excessive harm, rather than legalise them all. That's yet another point pro ignored.

Health Benefits
My opponent states you need all of marijuana to fight cancer. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. I also cited 3 scientific studies proving THC can do it on its own.

My opponent also states marijuana cannot be abused. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. My opponent keeps ignoring the side effects and talking of zero deaths, a figure taken from a source that was itself making an unsubstantiated assertion. I'll bet the figure for road deaths caused by Benedril is much lower than for cannabis.

Note my opponent has dropped cancer self-medication. On AIDS self-medication, that's my point exactly, when people SELF medicate they often don't know the smoke is harmful so they smoke it. Not to mention that getting cancer is a life sentence if you have AIDS.

Individual harms
I've already proven why an age limit won't be effective. My opponent has continuously asserted it will work, ignoring all my sources, evidence, and logic. Looks like I've found another UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION.

My opponent states anything can be mentally addictive. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. My source makes it clear marijuana is much more mentally addictive than most other drugs.

My opponent notes his source states people don't lose concentration so don't suffer in education. My source contradicts that. Think about it logically: if you have less time to study because you can't really study when you're high, will your grades go up or down?

He then states the gateway effect is nonsense because creepy drug dealers go away. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. What incentive does the creepy drug dealer have to go away? I've provided several examples refuting my opponent's claim, several sources refuting his claim, and explained all this several times. Also, I've already explained the numbers were not too small to be statistically significant.

Family/Friends
Apparently there is no link between stealing and marijuana. UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. If anyone should know if there's a link, it would be the police. Take a look at what police say in my source.

Also, my family and friends point was much bigger than that, but my opponent doesn't seem to see the need to refute the rest of my points. Indeed both this point and the next are only briefly thrown in to the conclusion.

Society
Lobbying and corruption in every industry? UNSUBSTANTIATED ASSERTION. The fishing industry has been around for much longer than the tobacco industry, but one is much more corrupt than the other.

Conclusion
My opponent has not only completely ignored my points, but even dropped several of his own. When he did refute my points, this was inevitably with a series of premises that I had often already refuted. I have not dropped a single point in this debate. I have used a combination of clear sources, multiple real-life case studies and unrefuted logic to rebut my opponent's arguments. Just look at how many unsubstantiated assertions my opponent made last round. When it comes to voting for sources, arguments or conduct, take none of the lies my opponent said about me or my links for granted.

This is an important debate. Most of my opponent's arguments - personal autonomy, economic benefit etc - could be used to legalise heroin or methamphetamine. My opponent constantly reiterates the need to be consistent, so let's make a choice. Do we want to live in a society with drugs completely legalised? A world run by the mafia? A world of disease and poverty, where (in defence of "liberty") millions are made mind slaves to invasive, dangerous plants and synthetic drugs? Or do we want to learn from our mistakes of the past? Do we want to learn that marijuana is neither necessary nor desirable, for it taxes the people and the government alike? I know which option I would prefer. The choice is yours.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
Page 3

Why I vote pro: He wins the general economy advantage, proves that legalizing weed entirely is necessary for maximum health benefit, and shows that Con's sources on the harms of marijuana are extremely exaggerated or misinterpreted. Larz did a GREAT job and he really doesn't deserve to lose this debate. But being a tournament round I have to vote for somebody.
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
Page 2

Health

Alternatives - Pro is gonna win this. Con wants people to take pharmacy drugs instead of marijuana, but Pro shows that marijuana is superior because overdose is impossible. Con says people overdose on drugs because they're suicidal. But if they got weed instead of drugs, they *couldn't* overdose on it, because no one has died from marijuana alone.

THC - I really like Con's argument that we can just legalize THC rather than weed. But he lost this in R4. Pro says there's other positive chemicals in weed which is why we need to legalize the whole thing. Con says in R4 that he "cited 3 scientific studies proving THC can do it on its own." Larz NEVER cited any studies on THC. So I have to buy that the THC benefit works more effectively along with the other cannabinoids, making this a reason to legalize all of marijuana.

Self-medicating - Con drops that sers can ingest weed rather than smoke it, reducing any risk of immune system deficiency.

Harms

Con's 30,000 statistic really bothers me. The claim he said his source made is extremely different from what it actually says. Pro rightfully points out the misrepresentation. Like Pro, I don't see Con's 64,000 worldwide death statistic, and he would drop it anyway.

Con's mental retardation argument, somehow applies. His study only refers to users under the age of 15, but this still applies because he explains that people under Pro's proposed age limit will use weed even if its illegal for them. So people under 15 will get lung and mental problems, but not anyone over that age. Still, this number isn't that large compared to # of people in the world.

I also go Con on addiction since Pro's refutations focus on a physical addiction, whereas Con's actual argument was on mental addiction.
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
Page 1

There is a sh!tton of arguments in this debate but I've tried my best to weigh them accurately.

Economy

Con tries to extend some economic harm through users having more sick days. But as Pro points out, Larz's source 14 says nothing about sickness rates. I read it myself. However, in R3 he gave the source saying that marijuana users suffer a 78% increase in absenteeism. Pro's response is "There is no correlation between marijuana purchases and lack of food....and the same goes for marijuana usage and sick days". Well thats not very much of an argument. Its just a claim with no reasoning to refute the source, which was legit. So users do have more sick days which obviously is an economic harm.

Con did not have any sources on economic disadvantages in Amsterdam or Alaska, contrary to what he said in R4. Alaska was about usage rates, not economics. Amsterdam was about law enforcement, and didn't state any numbers about economic costs.

I also don't buy Larz' argument about people spending all their money on weed instead of food or entertainment. Like PR said, people are always gonna buy food. They won't spend all their money on weed. They'll still buy from other businesses.

But if I do accept that sick days will go up, I still can't go Con on economics because its not quantified. PR gives the straight-up number of 8.7 billion dollars of savings from legalization. Larz says that this doesn't account for the costs that legalization would create, but he doesn't explain how much those costs are. "Sick days will go up". Well does that equal 8.7 billion dollars? I don't know. So I have to defer to Pro for the direct numbers.

Autonomy

Came down to other points since Larz argued that users hurt others, not just themselves.
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
I am saying that I will vote by 2:00 PM tomorrow, so I'm forced to stop procrastinating in order to uphold some arbitrary sense of a reputation.
Posted by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
Hard to judge this debate. Its really close. Larz did extremely well on the side of a topic that I didn't think there was much evidence for.
Posted by mohammedsgaylover 4 years ago
mohammedsgaylover
I love smoking weed, but don't feel many western societies are mature enough to use it well. How about we buy a license to smoke of TPTB and buy it cheaply and safely from the pharmacy.
Posted by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
PartamRuhem
@Roy...
I don't understand why I don't get sources. Seriously, when I looked through larz's sources, almost everything he had said wasn't accurate or found in the sources.....not trying to argue with your RFD, but that is something I strongly believe I deserve, for it was unfair.
Posted by System113 5 years ago
System113
Con's argument is a trip back to the 1930's.
Posted by pcmarketx 5 years ago
pcmarketx
@larz, by first round I technically mean the second round, as the first round was used to start this debate and just define some terms.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 4 years ago
BlackVoid
PartamRuhemlarztheloserTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments
Vote Placed by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a fantastic debate (I'm glad larz is here to competently defend unpopular positions on this site). I thought the economic benefits argument was sufficiently muddied by Con to prevent it swinging in Pro's favour, the personal autonomy argument could have been developed much more, the health benefits argument was similarly muddied. No-one was sufficiently ahead of the other to justify an arguments vote. Sources go to Pro for successfully negating many of Con's sources.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: arguments where almost even, so instead of giving him arguments I gave him conduct because he only came out on top a little. But since pro did well too he gets grammar. But overall a great debate. Con gets sources for he had more
Vote Placed by DetectableNinja 4 years ago
DetectableNinja
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Reasons for voting decision: Similar to Roy. Very good debate. Pro wins sources for obvious reasons. Arguments was close, but Con barely eeked out on top. While some "unsubstantiated assertions" weren't so, Pro didn't answer just enough of Con's arguments to negate the resolution.
Vote Placed by Spritle 5 years ago
Spritle
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was true in saying that Con's sources were invalid. Although he was a bit aggressive in his way of showing. I gave conduct to Con. Pro made a more effective argument with more standing points. Good debate overall. I enjoyed reading every painful moment of it...
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
PartamRuhemlarztheloserTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate. It's close to impossible to carry an anti-marajuana position on this site, so Con gets credit for taking the underdog position. I think Con won the economic benefits argument, Pro won the medical uses, and the personal autonomy argument depends upon whether it prevails over the interests of society. The health harms to the individual are not compelling. I think Con's argument that legalization promotes use by the young was not answered adequately, and that suffices.