The Instigator
Benshapiro
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
RedMoonlight
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Marjuana should be legal with a few restrictions.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/20/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,288 times Debate No: 35824
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

Benshapiro

Pro

Restriction 1: 18 and older

Restriction 2: not allowed in public buildings, restaurants, schools, or areas designated that it is not allowed.

Restriction 3: the sale of marijuana will be illegal without going through a vendor. It'll be legal to grow it, but only in small quantities for personal use.

First round is for acceptance :)
RedMoonlight

Con

I accept. I'll be arguing in favor of sticking with the legal status we have now. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
Benshapiro

Pro


Thank you for your acceptance, I look forward to a fun debate.

Here are the main reasons why I think marijuana should be legalized with an age and area restriction.



1) Tax dollars saved vs. tax dollars wasted

tax money wasted on arrests for possesion of marijuana:

tax payers spend between 1.5 to 3 billion dollars a year trying and imprisoning people for marijuana [1]

there's one marijuana arrest every 42 seconds in the U.S. [2]

estimated tax money saved by legalizing marijuana:

According to one conservative estimate, a 2010 study from Cato found that legalizing marijuana would generate $8.7 billion dollars in federal and state tax revenue annually. [3]

Another study from businessweek estimates a much higher amount of revenue:
"If the cost of retailing and distribution is the same as for legal tobacco cigarettes, about $10 a gram, then selling the (legal) product at exactly the same price as on the street today ($10 per gram) could raise $40 billion to $100 billion in new revenue." [4]


2) Marijuana is mild in comparison to legal drugs, such as alcohol

Alcohol use damages the brain. Marijuana use does not. [5]

Many people die from alcohol use. Nobody dies from marijuana use:

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reportsthat more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths, including more than 1,400 in Colorado, are attributed to alcohol use alone (i.e. this figure does not include accidental deaths). On the other hand, the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana.[5]

Cannabis - unlike tobacco smoke - has not been linked with cancer [5]

Cannabis also slows down the production of cancer-causing free-radicals:
"marijuana smoke also contains cannabinoids such as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), which are non-carcinogenic and demonstrate anti-cancer properties in vivo and in vitro. By contrast, nicotine promotes the development of cancer cells and their blood supply. In addition, cannabinoids stimulate other biological activities and responses that may mitigate the carcinogenic effects of smoke, such as down-regulating the inflammatory arm of the immune system that is responsible for producing potentially carcinogenic free radicals (unstable atoms that are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer)." [5]


3) Cannabis is not addictive.

Cannabis is not physically addictive, and is psychologically less addictive than caffeine.

9% of cannabis users are addicted to it. [6]


75% of caffeine users are addicted to it. [7]


4) Marijuana withdrawl symptoms are not any worse than caffeine withdrawl symptoms

Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include: headache, fatigue, anxiety irritability, depressed mood and difficulty concentrating. [8]

symptoms of marijuana withdrawl include: "sleeping difficulties, craving, and anxiety. They also show increased aggression on psychological tests, peaking approximately 1 week after they last used the drug." [9]

These withdrawl symptoms sounds pretty similar don't they? Let's see what WebMD has to say about the symptoms of caffeine withdrawl:

“No doubt, caffeine withdrawal can make for a few bad days. However, caffeine does not cause the severity of withdrawal or harmful drug-seeking behaviors as street drugs or alcohol. For this reason, most experts don't consider caffeine dependence a serious addiction.” [8]

Since the withdrawl symptoms of caffeine are nearly identical to marijuana withdrawl symptoms, WebMD doesn't consider dependence on a drug with those withdrawl symptoms as serious.


5) Legalizing marijuana will result in safer marijuana purchases + final thoughts

If people don't have the medical license to obtain marijuana, they will try to obtain it illegally like they do now. Any black market transaction runs the risk of fraud, theft, and violence.

Legalizing marijuana will probably increase the amount of first-time users, but the statistics show that only 9% of users become psychologically addicted to it.

It should also be restricted to 18+ year old adults to restrict usage to those who are older and more mature. Of course this doesn't mean it will stay out of the hands of underage users, but it would be illegal for them to do so - just like drinking alcohol underage is.

Given the mild nature of this drug (remember that caffeine is a drug too), I don't see the logic in having it remain illegal because the benefits clearly outweigh the costs.



SOURCES

http://www.huffingtonpost.com... [1]

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

http://www.huffingtonpost.com... [3]

http://www.businessweek.com... [4]

http://archive.saferchoice.org...[5]

http://www.drugabuse.gov... [6]

http://www.caffeineawareness.org... [7]

http://www.webmd.com... [8]

http://www.drugabuse.gov... [9]



RedMoonlight

Con

Thanks for the interesting statement Pro.

Ave!

1.) TAX DOLLARS SAVED VS. TAX DOLLARS WASTED


You are correct that legalization would procure a certain amount of tax revenue, although as you can see, specific amounts are highly disputed between sources. The Businessweek estimate is likely off by a great deal, as it assumes the legal price of marijuana would be equal to its illegal price. The black market does a great deal to keep prices higher. It’s predicted that they would fall hard and fast in the event of legalization, likely by more than 80 percent [1]. Therefore, the accurate amount of tax revenue is probably closer to the Cato estimate.
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, it is roughly $10 billion annually (which is still a highly generous estimate).
Proponents of legalization still declare that this amount of money is nothing to scoff at, especially in a time of monstrous national debt. However, they fail to take into account new costs which would be created by legalization. These included tremendous amounts of tax dollars spent on new beauracracies to carry out the regulation you suggest. Though the numbers are unknown, I’m sure we can agree they would be fairly significant.
The Federal Gov’t. takes in roughly $9 billion in taxes on alcohol annually [2]. This profit is offset, however, by severely high social costs. This totals less than ten percent of the money spent on alcohol related health care, criminal justice costs for alcohol-influenced crimes, and lost productivity in the workplace. These costs for marijuana, even if not as drastic, would no doubt be enough to completely offset any tax revenue, or reduce it to a miniscule figure.
Yes, perhaps there will be some highly insignificant gov’t revenue gained from legalization. Regardless, passing laws with severe social ramifications from only a financial standpoint is dangerous.

2.) MARIJUANA IS MILD IN COMPARISON TO LEGAL DRUGS, SUCH AS ALCOHOL

You seem bent on comparing the health risks of marijuana to those of alcohol and cigarettes. While financial comparisons are necessary to make an educated guess at the financial nature of marijuana legalization, adverse health effects are a different story. While perhaps less dangerous than alcohol(in some respects) this brings up no qualms about the legal status of marijuana. The fact that a slightly more dangerous drug is legal does not justify adding another harmful substance into the mix. If anything, this should raise questions about alcohol’s legality, but again, the pros/cons of alcohol are irrelevant to this debate. Marijuana’s effects should be judged based on the harm they cause alone, not simply by the fact that they’re supposedly “mild in comparison” to something else.
An assertion which is largely untrue anyway.
You are incorrect that marijuana use does not damage the brain. There have been studies saying as much, but they are contested by other, similarly reliable studies. A very recent one of which (January 2013) linked marijuana use over time to decreased IQ and damage in the hippocampal section of the brain [3]

“Many people die from alcohol use. Nobody dies from marijuana use.”

You are correct only to some extent. Nobody dies from marijuana OVERDOSE. Its use, however, is responsible for many deaths due to motor vehicle accidents/poor judgment in general. Recent studies have found that driving under the influence of marijuana nearly doubles the risk of a fatal crash [4].
Legalization would only increase the amount of users, thus inevitably increasing the amount of irresponsible users.

“Cannabis, unlike tobacco smoke, has not been linked with cancer.”

Another unfounded assumption. Certain studies have suggested this, but many others have shown the exact opposite. It has certainly been “linked”.
From the Cancer Research Foundation of the UK: Cannabis smoke contains many of the same cancer causing substances (carcinogens) as tobacco - at least 50 of them [5]. Some studies have even shown marijuana smoke to contain 50 – 70 percent more carcinogens than tobacco smoke [2].

3.) CANNABIS IS NOT ADDICTIVE

First of all, my opponent falsely claims in his title that cannabis is not addictive, then goes on to reference addiction statistics.
His claim that marijuana is far less addictive than caffeine may well be true. However, this carries little significance when assessing and comparing the overall risk factor of the two.
Addiction to caffeine is relatively harmless, as evidenced by the millions of people who are supposedly part of this category, and the overwhelming lack of acknowledgment by most that such an addiction even exists (i.e. rarely do you find someone in rehab for “caffeine addiction”). Marijuana dependance, on the other hand, can bring more serious consequences, as it is much stroinger/more damaging.

Negative effects of marijuana [6]: (almost all apparent in small doses)

-Distorted perceptions, causing trouble driving/generally functioning
-Trouble with thinking and problem solving
-Disorientation
-Hallucinations/Delusions (moderate to high doses)
-Risk of developing cancer in the long term

Negative effects of caffeine [7]: (experienced only with higher doses)
-Anxiety
- Mild insomnia
-Accelerated heart beat
-Increased urination

As you can see, the lower addiction ratio of marijuana compared to caffeine is inconsequential in the face of larger considerations like the effect of each drug on an individual, and on society.

4.) MARIJUANA WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS ARE NOT ANY WORSE THAN CAFFEINE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS

My opponent is correct that marijuana and caffeine withdrawal symptoms are somewhat similar, but he also again fails to look deeper into the issue.
While a few of the symptoms are the same, those experienced in marijuana withdrawal are on average far more severe. The WebMD article he cited even makes the distinction between caffeine and street drugs, (marijuana being one of the latter).
This is reinforced by the statistics of people whose addictions and withdrawals are bad enough that they seek professional treatment. According to drug-rehabs.com, marijuana users make up 16.1% of all rehab admissions [8]. Admissions of caffeine users into rehab are virtually unheard of.
Hence, while many of the withdrawal symptoms are the same, those of marijuana are almost certainly “worse”.

5.) LEGALIZING MARIJUANA WILL RESULT IN SAFER MARIJUANA PURCHASES

My opponent claims that legalization will protect potential buyers from the risks of a black market purchase, which I agree with. However, this is a small victory compared to all areas that will suffer with legalization; including crime rates. Arrests for alcohol related offenses totaled nearly 2.7 million in 2008 [2]. Marijuana-related arrests (not only possession) for the same year were about 850,000 persons [9]. Legalzation will only increase the amount of users, a result that my opponent and myself agree upon. This upward trent in users will increase the amount of crime stemming from use, as is the case with alcohol.

I have pointed out numerous inconsistencies in my opponent's argument and shown that, rather than the benefits of legalization outweighing the costs, the exact opposite is true.

Vale!





Sources:
[1] http://www.rand.org...
[2] http://www.whitehouse.gov...
[3] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[4] http://healthland.time.com...
[5] http://www.cancerresearchuk.org...
[6] http://alcoholism.about.com...
[7] http://www.wisegeek.org...;
[8] http://www.drug-rehabs.com...
[9] http://norml.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Benshapiro

Pro

Thanks for the interesting points.

Opponent rebuttals #'s:

#1."Tax revenue will not be as high as expected because the illegal price wil be higher than price of legal alternatives."

and

#2."Tremendous amounts of tax dollars spent on new beauracracies, but offers no ballpark estimate or cites any sources of the estimated cost only saying they would be "fairly significant" without having any data to back up his assertion.

Alcohol takes in $9billion in taxes annualy (which is a lot) but the revenue is offset by social costs. Alcohol is a much more destructive substance than marijuana.

#3. "The Federal Gov"t. takes in roughly $9 billion in taxes on alcohol annually [2]. This profit is offset, however, by severely high social costs."

My opponent is likening the social costs of alcohol to the predicted social costs of marijuana, which can be proven false by the following evidence:

"At the present time, the evidence to suggest an involvement of cannabis in road crashes is scientifically unproven." [1]

On the other hand with alcohol"

"Alcohol is a factor in 26% of the United StatesA533; crash costs. Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost the public an estimated $114.3 billion in 2000, including $51.1 billion in monetary costs and an estimated $63.2 billion in quality of life losses. (For definitions of the cost categories, see the definitions fact sheet.) Alcohol-related crashes are deadlier and more serious than other crashes. People other than the drinking driver paid $71.6 billion of the alcohol-related crash bill." [2]

#4."Regardless, passing laws with severe social ramifications from only a financial standpoint is dangerous."

Whats severe social ramifications? You haven"t specified any. You have likened alcohol to have the same social costs as marijuana which is false based on the evidence I have given.

#5."The fact that a slightly more dangerous drug is legal does not justify adding another harmful substance into the mix. If anything, this should raise questions about alcohol"s legality, but again, the pros/cons of alcohol are irrelevant to this debate"

"Slightly more dangerous" is a matter of baseless opinion. In fact, alcohol posisoning kills more people than any other drug and is the deadlier than heroin and cocaine [3] " alcohol poisoning kills 80,000 people per year [4]. Marijuana poisoning kills 0.

Also, if you remember the prohibition era you would know that it would be unwise to make alcohol illegal again " the rise of the mafia, "speakeasy"s", and other black market crime would erupt.

#5."Marijuana"s effects should be judged based on the harm they cause alone, not simply by the fact that they"re supposedly "mild in comparison" to something else."

The harm they cause is mild in comparison to alcohol - which is legal. This is a fair comparison because it takes into context the costs and benefits of drugs in comparison to one another, legal and illegal. In this case " it"s easily proven that marijuana has less social costs and less adverse side effects than alcohol " which is the world"s deadliest (legal) drug. [3]

6.""linked marijuana use to decreased IQ""

This is an excerpt taken from your same source that claims marijuana decreases IQ with regular use:

"Observational studies in humans cannot account for all potentially confounding variables when addressing change in a complex trait like IQ, and future studies will be needed to further clarify exactly how much intelligence may be lost as a result of adolescent marijuana use"" [5]

It was also noted that there was a change in socioeconomic status for the individuals tested which have used marijuana. This is more indicative of an IQ change:

"" suggest that other factors, such as socioeconomic status, may account for the downward IQ trend the original authors reported." [5]

#7. "Marijuana doubles chances of an accident "

an excerpt from your source:

"Driving simulation studies with experienced marijuana users suggest that when people have consumed high doses of the drug, there"s an increased risk of accident, but that, unlike with alcohol, users are aware of their impairment and tend to drive more cautiously, rather than with greater recklessness. [6]

I"m not arguing to make marijuana legal for the sake of allowing people to drive high " that should be illegal just like being high off of anything " but the evidence of people driving high doesn"t show nearly as much damage as driving drunk on alcohol does " and those high on marijuana are likely to ". . .drive more cautiously rather than with greater recklessness." [6]

#8."Marijuana linked with cancer""

"To date, no large scale, epidemiological studies exist demonstrating a correlation between THC and cancer." [7]

#9."First of all, my opponent falsely claims in his title that cannabis is not addictive, then goes on to reference addiction statistics."

My claim is that it is not physically addictive because there is no evidence to support that. My claims of marijuana addiction were of mental addiction. You could be addicted to Chi tea, for instance. It doesn"t legitimize a physical need for something, but rather a mental addiction - which could be potentially anything.

#10."Marijuana dependance, on the other hand, can bring more serious consequences [than caffeine], as it is much stroinger/more damaging. "

You didn"t cite any sources and failed to mention how it is more damaging than caffeine. Caffeine overdose can kill people, but too much marijuana cannot.

#11. "The WebMD article he cited even makes the distinction between caffeine and street drugs, (marijuana being one of the latter)."

This proves my point that Marijuana should not be an illegal street drug. In a category of street drugs, marijuana is nowhere near as damaging as other illegal street drugs, since the withdrawal effects of marijuana are nearly identical to caffeine addiction - which WebMD says is "not serious."

#12. "According to drug-rehabs.com, marijuana users make up 16.1% of all rehab admissions [8]. Admissions of caffeine users into rehab are virtually unheard of."

You left out the key phrase "Publicly funded" rehab admissions [8]. There are no publicly funded caffeine rehab centers. The 16.1% figure is misleading. Although the 16.1% may seem like a large number, it is not stating the proportion of marijuana users that seek rehab, but it is a proportion of people who are in rehab for marijuana, which is very, very small compared to the number of total marijuana users. We can see this when it is compared to the 13.7% of people in rehab for heroin, which has a much smaller minority of users than marijuana users.

"Marijuana-related arrests (not only possession) for the same year were about 850,000 persons [9]."

Exactly. See what a waste of time and tax money it is to make all of those arrests?

I look forward to your response ! :)

SOURCES:

http://norml.org... [1]
http://www.nhtsa.gov... [2]
http://www.dailytech.com... [3]
http://www.cdc.gov... [4]
http://www.drugabuse.gov... [5]
Read more: http://healthland.time.com... [6]
http://www.psychologytoday.com... [7]
http://www.drug-rehabs.com... [8].
RedMoonlight

Con

#1, #2, #3, #4

My opponent claims that the social costs of alcohol are not representative of those of marijuana, because alcohol is a more harmful substance.

He then goes on to cite a biased (clearly pro-legalization) and quite outdated source which says that the correlation between marijuana and auto accidents is “scientifically unproven”. The most recent reference in the study was from 2002. Some go as far back as the 1980’s.

Date of the studies makes a significant difference since it is commonly known that marijuana potency has increased substantially following this decade [1]. More potent marijuana causes more severe impairment, thus making driving under the influence of today’s marijuana a much riskier activity than doing it back then.

Two more up-to-date studies (2009 and 2012 respectively) show an obvious relationship between stoned driving and auto accidents [2] [3].

Furthermore, my opponent only recognizes car accidents as a social cost, while others exist, including non-driving related accidents caused by marijuana impairment, crimes committed while exhibiting poor judgment under the influence of marijuana, and again, lost workplace productivity, all of which would increase with the increased amount of users. Looking at the effects of marijuana upon a person (which I have already specified, uncontested by my opponent), it is unreasonable to believe these social costs wouldn’t occur with this substance as well.

#5

It makes no difference whether alcohol is slightly more dangerous, or far ore dangerous than marijuana; this does not, in any way, shape or form, justify legalizing an ADDITIONAL substance with ADDITIONAL drawbacks for society. Again, the only point you seem to be communicating is that marijuana is safer than alcohol; I was under the assumption that this debate would be about the positive/negative results of legalization, not its pros/cons as compared with something else.

A comparison with alcohol reflects nothing about the costs and benefits of marijuana. Where it ranks compared with alcohol does not alter the fact that:

-Very little revenue could be gained from legalization
-Marijuana indeed has adverse health effects including cancer and brain deterioration
-Legalization would bring no decrease (perhaps even an increase) in crime
-Legalization would increase the quantity of users; exacerbating its burden upon society.

Whether or not the antagonistic fallout would be less or more severe than that of alcohol is irrelevant; it is a bad outcome nonetheless.

If you were more familiar with the history of drug legality, you would know that not all prohibitions fail. Prohibition can actually be highly effective if implemented properly, like in China to combat opium addiction [4].

#6

The excerpt you quote is nothing more than a disclaimer.

Two more excerpts (written directly after Pro’s excerpt):

That such a loss does occur, however, is consistent with what we know from animal studies. [5]”

They have shown that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent development can cause long-lasting changes in the brain’s reward system as well as the hippocampus, a brain area critical for learning and memory. [5]”

The evidence in the article in question is clear and compelling to say the least. Generally in the field of scientific research, however, the researcher tries to leave the door open for other possibilities no matter how good the evidence is.

The same is true for your second quotation. The evidence is significant, however the researcher adds disclaimers to avoid making definitive statements subject to attack.

While this study cannot exclude all potential contributory factors (e.g., child abuse, subclinical mental illness, mild learning disabilities), the neuropsychological declines following marijuana use were present even after researchers controlled for factors like years of education, mental illness, and use of other substances. [5]”

To ignore reliable evidence based on a couple of disclaimers designed to protect the study from naysayers would be a severe oversight.

#7


The excerpt you site still maintains that the risk of accident among marijuana users is increased.

“…but the evidence of people driving high doesn"t show nearly as much damage as driving drunk on alcohol does…”

Yet again, irrelevant. Regardless of how minor it supposedly is, why decriminalize something that would lead to any damage at all? Only if the benefits outweigh this damage, which has certainly not been proven. The only benefits you cite are financial, and those are subject to extreme rebuke and skepticism.

#8


No studies? I cited one in the previous round, proving marijuana to have at least 50 to 70 percent of the carcinogens in tobacco [6]. Sounds like a fairly compelling study to me.

My opponent’s source later proceeds to comment on the link between marijuana and cancer/serious health issues.

However, Tashkin's (2005) research at UCLA-MC showed increased redness, swelling, and white blood cell count in regular marijuana users. Furthermore, because marijuana smoke is very similar to cigarette smoke, it seems quite likely that long term effects may be the same. [7]”

In sum, just because there is not a large scale, longitudinal study proving marijuana smoke causes cancer, does not mean it can be ruled out. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, contains known carcinogens.[7]”

I ask, with the lack of advantages of legalization, why take the risk when the link has been made, and there is considerable evidence?

#9


You should have specified earlier.

While it’s often assumed that marijuana is not physically addictive, this could be inaccurate. The existence of physical symptoms (i.e. not psychological) such as headache and nausea [8], could be an argument for it indeed being physically addictive. These symptoms show that the body is falling physically ill because it is lacking something it physically needs (i.e. physical addiction).

#10


On the contrary to what my opponent says, if readers will look back at section three of my argument for the last round, they will see that I indeed cited two sources, each with negative effects of their respective drug. It is easy to see that those of marijuana are more serious and could lead to more problems in daily life.
#11


I have shown the differences of marijuana withdrawal as opposed to caffeine withdrawal. They are actually not all that similar (see list my opponent cited in round 1), and those of marijuana are no doubt more severe, as evidenced by the large number of people who need rehab to help cope with them.

#12


3.9 million people are admitted to drug rehabilitation each year [9]. 16.1% of this is 627,900. Regardless of its proportion to the total amount of marijuana users, it is a significant number, and deserves to be acknowledged. Again, if the drug is decriminalized, the amount of users will increase, leading to more addicts, which, among other things, puts more burden on our drug rehab system.


All Pro has managed to prove thus far is that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, which is not a valid argument for its legalization. He has not demonstrated that the benefits of legalization outweigh the costs, or that marijuana “should” be legal, as is his burden of proof.






Sources:
[1] http://www.prweb.com...
[2] http://www.caraccidentattorneys.com...
[3] http://wot.motortrend.com...
[4] http://www.sacu.org...
[5] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[6] http://www.whitehouse.gov...
[7] http://www.psychologytoday.com...
[8] http://recoveringaddict.hubpages.com...
[9] http://www.oas.samhsa.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
Benshapiro

Pro

Rebuttals (#'s):

#1. yes the social costs of alcohol are not representative of those of marijuana, because alcohol is a more harmful substance. It has greater influence in crime and auto accidents - a cost which marijuana does not share with alcohol.

"He then goes on to cite a biased (clearly pro-legalization) and quite outdated source which says that the correlation between marijuana and auto accidents is “scientifically unproven”.

#2. Here is an except from Time (Dec 2011):

"States that legalize medical marijuana see fewer fatal car accidents, according to a new study, in part because people may be substituting marijuana smoking for drinking alcohol."[1]


"Furthermore, my opponent only recognizes car accidents as a social cost, while others exist, including non-driving related accidents caused by marijuana impairment, crimes committed while exhibiting poor judgment under the influence of marijuana, and again, lost workplace productivity, all of which would increase with the increased amount of users... it is unreasonable to believe these social costs wouldn’t occur with this substance as well.

#3. I was giving an example of a large social cost of alcohol, which isn't shared with marijuana that you likened to it. 40% of all auto accidents are alcohol-related [2]. The same cannot be said for marijuana. You haven't cited any sources backing up your claims that a significant amount crimes are committed from being high on marijuana. I stated that marijuana should not be allowed in areas designated that it is not allowed - this includes the workplace. There would be no decrease in productivity. It is easy to see there is not a huge social cost here.

"It makes no difference whether alcohol is slightly more dangerous, or far ore dangerous than marijuana; this does not, in any way, shape or form, justify legalizing an ADDITIONAL substance with ADDITIONAL drawbacks for society. Again, the only point you seem to be communicating is that marijuana is safer than alcohol; I was under the assumption that this debate would be about the positive/negative results of legalization, not its pros/cons as compared with something else."

#4. It puts the drug in context to other legal drugs which is very relevant. For example: computer brands are differentiated but they are all brands of computers. Why ban a brand that is better than another currently being sold?Marijuana is a drug that is currently illegal but is safer and less costly socially than alcohol, which is legal. It doesn't make logical sense to have it remain illegal.

-"Very little revenue could be gained from legalization"

#5. $8.7 billion dollars in federal and state tax revenue annually [3]. The supposed social costs you mentioned had no sources.

-Marijuana indeed has adverse health effects including cancer and brain deterioration

#6. Your source had no causation. There is no definitive evidence.

-Legalization would increase the quantity of users; exacerbating its burden upon society.

#7. If by burden you mean social costs, you have not shown it significant.

"less or more severe than that of alcohol is irrelevant; it is a bad outcome nonetheless."

#8. It puts the drug in context with a legal drug

Prohibition can actually be highly effective if implemented properly, like in China to combat opium addiction [4].

#9. 1) this is in China with an entirely different drug 2) we have tried Prohibition here in America-it failed

The excerpt you quote is nothing more than a disclaimer.

#10. It is an explicit disclaimer in the article itself because of lacking significant evidence and causal proof in their study.

“That such a loss does occur, however, is consistent with what we know from animal studies. [5]”

“They have shown that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent development can cause long-lasting changes in the brain’s reward system as well as the hippocampus, a brain area critical for learning and memory. [5]”

#11. 1) animal studies do not show causality in humans. 2) "during adolescent development" would never occur, since I stated in the rules it would only be allowed for adults 18 and older.

"The evidence is significant, however the researcher adds disclaimers to avoid making definitive statements subject to attack."

#12. I disagree, they use irrelevant evidence to prove their point which is aimed at different subjects (safety animals and adolescents vs. safety in adult humans) which is why they need explicit disclaimers.


"To ignore reliable evidence based on a couple of disclaimers designed to protect the study from naysayers would be a severe oversight."

#13. Because they failed to take into account significant factors such as "child abuse, subclinical mental illness, mild learning disabilities..."


"The excerpt you site still maintains that the risk of accident among marijuana users is increased."

#14. The risk of getting into an accident may increase while driving under the influence of marijuana, but since marijuana has been shown to substitute for alcohol use, overall driving accidents DECREASE in states where medical marijuana is legal.

"States that legalize medical marijuana see fewer fatal car accidents, according to a new study, in part because people may be substituting marijuana smoking for drinking alcohol."[1]


"... at least 50 to 70 percent of the carcinogens in tobacco [6]. Sounds like a fairly compelling study to me."

#15. I stated in the first round that marijuana has properties which decrease the amount of free radicals in the body, which cause cancer. Tobacco smoke doesn't have this. Here is an excerpt from my source in round 1.

"marijuana smoke also contains cannabinoids such as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), which are non-carcinogenic and demonstrate anti-cancer properties in vivo and in vitro..."


"My opponent’s source later proceeds to comment on the link between marijuana and cancer/serious health issues."

“However, Tashkin's (2005) research at UCLA-MC showed increased redness, swelling, and white blood cell count in regular marijuana users. Furthermore, because marijuana smoke is very similar to cigarette smoke, it seems quite likely that long term effects may be the same. [7]”

#16. It fails to take into account that THC reduces cancer causing free radicals. See source [5] 1st round.


You should have specified earlier [that you meant psychological dependence].

#17. You should not have made the assumption I was talking about physical dependence.

"While it’s often assumed that marijuana is not physically addictive, this could be inaccurate. The existence of physical symptoms (i.e. not psychological) such as headache and nausea [8], could be an argument for it indeed being physically addictive..."

#18. You can get withdrawals from non-addictive anti-depressant medication [3].

"...marijuana withdrawal as opposed to caffeine withdrawal. They are actually not all that similar... and those of marijuana are no doubt more severe, as evidenced by the large number of people who need rehab to help cope with them."

#19. Caffeine and marijuana withdrawal are virtually identical sharing:

Marijuana withdrawal: physical tension, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, mood swings ...[5, 6]


3.9 million people are admitted to drug rehabilitation each year [9]. 16.1% of this is 627,900. Regardless of its proportion to the total amount of marijuana users, it is significant number...

17.4 million people are regular users. Or 0.036% of users.

Benefits of legalization: tax revenue, personal freedom, safer than legal drugs and tobacco, weak criticism.

sources:
http://healthland.time.com...[1]
http://alcoholism.about.com...[2]
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...[3]
http://www.mayoclinic.com... [4]
http://www.foxnews.com... [5]
http://coffeetea.about.com... [6]
RedMoonlight

Con

Rebuttal #’s:

#1, #2, #3


My opponent insists upon the same point he has previously made; rebutted long ago.

The example we’ve latched onto seems to be whether marijuana is a factor in auto accidents. I have given two sources showing it is. My opponent counters with an article claiming fatal accidents decreased after several states legalized medical marijuana. I am highly skeptical of this relationship. Legalizing the plant for purely medical use would create only a small amount of new users, since a person would need a valid prescription to obtain it. It’s nonsensical to assume that the drastic reduction in car accidents was brought about by this small addition of prescribed users, when a large amount of people were already using the substance illegally, with no reduction in auto accidents. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. It is much more likely that the reduction in fatal crashes was brought about by a different determinant, then immediately snapped up by legalization activists/the media who saw the opportunity to use it as an interesting story/fuel for their cause.

He again suggests that this “large social cost” of alcohol isn’t shared with marijuana. I have cited two separate studies proving this claim to be false. While perhaps alcohol-related accidents are more frequent, alcohol is consumed more often:

“Over half of Americans ages 12 and up report that they are current drinkers [1]”

Considering America’s current population, this is over 150 million people, as opposed to about “17.4 million” marijuana smokers (assuming Pro’s sourceless claim is correct). Why, you ask, is alcohol so much more popular? Because drinking alcohol is in accordance with laws and societal conventions. Were marijuana legalized, the percentage of users would likely increase to a figure similar to that of alcohol. More marijuana related accidents would surely follow, considering the interrelation I have cited.

Poor judgement and general laziness are widely known effects of smoking marijuana [2]. This lapse in judgment will logically lead one into committing crimes that they normally wouldn’t (like in this case, for example [3]). It is estimated that lost workplace productivity is one of the greatest social costs of alcohol [4]. Obviously, intoxication in the workplace is illegal; yet it is still a problem. Due to primary effects of marijuana such as laziness, the workplace-impact of legalizing this substance would logically be even more severe, whether it is legal to use at one’s job or not.

#4

All this context does is make a case for the prohibition of these legal drugs. Again, if decriminalization of marijuana would cause FURTHER harm to society, why should it matter if a more damaging substance is legal? Things will only get worse.

Your example is a poor one. Neither computer brand has universal drawbacks, hence this does not relate to a debate about drug legalization. A more accurate example would be this: Hypothetically, if murder were legal, by my opponent’s logic, it would help to legalize rape, assault, burglary, and everything less damaging than murder. Whether or not the initial situation makes sense, action of this sort would be a further detriment to society, as is the case with legalizing marijuana, when something worse is already legal.

#5

I have made a case for the existance of social costs such as increased crime, increased motor vehicle accidents, and lost workplace productivity (see points #1,#2,#3). This point is null and void.


#6

I had cited sources for those claims previously in this debate (see [4] for brain deterioration, and [5] for links to cancer), and you acknowledged them afterward (see #6/#8 of Pro’s round 3 statement).

#7

I have indeed shown it significant at this point, see #1, #2, #3.

#8

Refuted various times. See point #4 of this round, or #5 of the previous round.

#9

Judging based on the fact that prohibition was successful in China under worse conditions (i.e. more addictive drug [opium vs. alcohol] and a larger population [roughly 430 mil. vs roughly 120 mil.]) we can make a logical conclusion that prohibition in the US had the potential to work, but failed due to substandard execution.

#10

“That such a loss does occur, however, is consistent with what we know from animal studies.”

“They have shown that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent development can cause long-lasting changes in the brain’s reward system as well as the hippocampus, a brain area critical for learning and memory.”
The significant evidence is right there for your viewing. Again, the statement you reference was not made based on what was likely, but what was remotely possible, common in scientific studies to leave room for further research.

#11

Animal studies don’t reflect the drug’s effects in humans? Source? A claim like that is laughable. Experiments done on mammals have been the backbone of drug research since the field was conceived.
You are gravely mistaken that adolescent use would “never occur”. Illegal marijuana use is already prevalent among adolescents [6]. Were the drug legalized, it would become much easier to procure (stealing from stores, stealing from parents who obtain it legally, etc.) Therefore adolescent use, rather than “never occurring”, would only increase.

#12

Your claim that the evidence is “irrelevant” is illogical. Adolescents would be more exposed to marijuana under your proposed legal system. You have cited no evidence rebuking the effectiveness of animal studies. While this study focuses on drawbacks for adolescents, there are also many for adult humans, due to marijuana’s many carcinogens [5].

#13

“While this study cannot exclude all potential contributory factors (e.g., child abuse, subclinical mental illness, mild learning disabilities), the neuropsychological declines following marijuana use were present even after researchers controlled for factors like years of education, mental illness, and use of other substances.[4]”
It is stated here that researchers accounted for other variables in said study.

#14

Refuted with a logical argument earlier in this statement (see #1,#2,#3).

#15

While THC’s supposed effect on free radicals may or may not be true, this does not somehow change the fact that carcinogens do exist in marijuana. At best, considering your evidence use of marijuana reduces cancerous potential in one aspect (free radicals) while increasing it in many areas (consequence of multiple types of carcinogens).

#16

Refuted. See above point. Free radicals are one of many components of cancer. There is much more to take into account

#17

If you don’t specify, readers will make the most logical assumption. “Not addictive” implies a general sense of the word.

#18

The reason withdrawal occurs is because the body needs something it is not getting. Psychological withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, insomnia, etc.) are usually associated with psychological addiction, while physical symptoms (nausea, headache) are associated with physical dependence.

#19

They are not identical in severity. I invite you to cite a statistic of rehab admissions for caffeine (taking into account the large difference in number of users) to prove your point definitively.
Supposed benefits of legalization: Tax revenue (rebutted), Personal freedom (far from worth it in the face of large social costs), safer than legal drugs (irrelevant), weak criticism (perhaps you should re-read this debate).





Sources
[1] http://alcoholism.about.com...
[2] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[4] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[5] http://www.psychologytoday.com...
[6] http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com...
Debate Round No. 4
Benshapiro

Pro

My opponent opened his arguments stating that the source I gave (which showed a correlation between lower auto-accidents in states after legalizing marijuana) did not prove causality - which I find highly ironic given that most of his sources don't prove any causality whatsoever.

You also cited the social costs of alcohol to prove your point of the social costs of marijuana once again.

I believe that our arguments have been heard on both sides already and it is up to the voters to judge here.

My closing thoughts on why to legalize marijuana:

- added tax revenue (no social costs have been proven)

- increased personal freedom

- it is less harmful than alcohol, which begs the quesrion as to why marijuana remains illegal.

- It has positive benefits, too. Marijuana is used medically to reduce pain and tension.

- No harmful effects have been proven by marijuana use in adults, cancer or otherwise.

- Increased safety of those who currently buy marijuana on the black market, as well as eliminating drug cartels of marijuana

- It has the same withdrawal symptoms as caffeine

- Our jails and court system will become unclogged with frivolous cases of marijuana use

- For these reasons, marijuana has more benefits than costs, and should be legalized.


RedMoonlight

Con

RedMoonlight forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by RedMoonlight 3 years ago
RedMoonlight
My apologies for the forfeit, something urgent came up which required me to leave town on very short notice. While normally I'd request a rematch, I feel like we've argued this fairly thoroughly and readers don't need a closing statement from me to make an informed decision. I do however, ask that the conduct point is awarded to Pro.
Posted by Themoderate 3 years ago
Themoderate
Damn, if you were against I'd take you up on it. Good luck :)
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