The Instigator
Con (against)
10 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
8 Points

On balance it is beneficial for the citizens of the United States to keep use of marijuana illegal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/16/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,875 times Debate No: 30329
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (12)
Votes (3)




Basic DDO rules apply. Forfeits lose conduct. No new arguments in the last round. The first round is for acceptence only, unless my opponent wants to have the first word in which case I'll request that he doesn't post in his final round to keep the number of responses equal.

Burden of proof: Shared. I must show that legalizing marijuana will have a net benefit, my opponent must show that keeping it illegal has a net benefit. In the unlikely event that neither of us fulfill our BoPs I guess the voters can just laugh at us in their RFDs.

Definitions: Marijuana:
Illegal: Contrary to or forbidden by law

Beneficial is open for reasonable interpretation (for example one of us might suggest a utilitarian framework), however, please try to support whatever metric you decide to use.

If I've forgotten anything I'm sure my opponent will let me know.



Thank You Thaddeus for inviting me to this debate.
I accept this debate.
- In this debate, I will prove why keeping marijuana illegal has a net benefit.

Good Luck
Debate Round No. 1


It seems I've been debating a few "angels" recently. Here's for a better debate than the last =)
My opponent have agreed on all the terms.
The moral framework I will be using is the non-agression principle. In short this principle states that all actions which do not commit an act of agression, that is a purposeful and direct harmful action, against someones property or person are permissable. My justification for this principle is the concept of argumentation ethics.
When two parties are in conflict with one another, they can choose to resolve the conflict by engaging in violence, or engaging in argumentation. Thus, by choosing to resolve a conflict by argumentation the parties have implicitly rejected violence as a way to resolve their conflict. Non-violence is thus an underlying norm of argumentation, that is accepted by both parties.

Because during argumentation both parties propound propositions, and because argumentation presupposes certain norms (as it is clear that when two parties are arguing, they have self-evidently come to the conclusion that discourse is preferable to violence when a disagreement is reached), the act of putting foward a proposition that negates the axiomatically agreed propositions of argumentation is a performative contradiction. That is, the action contradicts the axiomatically assumed principle. To argue that violence should be used to resolve conflicts is a performative contradiction.

I will provide three main contentions this round; to make marijuana illegal is an act of agression, the harmful effects of marijuana are very limited, and the harmful effects of making marijuana illegal are significant.

1. Making marijuana illegal is an act of agression
The most trivial argument first. Obviously to prevent someone using a drug such as marijuana is an act of aggression. Force must be used to prevent someone who wishes to use the drug, using it.
By making marijuana illegal, the government is commiting to applying an aggressive penalty, (arrests, use prevention, fine or other sanctions) when the drug is used. This is definitionally an aggressive action.

2. Marijuana has very limited harmful effects.

Marijuana is essentially harmless in terms of biological damage to ones body. So much so, that scientists have had difficulty, under lab conditions, overdosing rats. The discovered overdose level, on Merke index, in rats was 1270mg/kg. ( To put this in context, the average amount of THC (the primary psychoactive constituent of marijuana) in a joint is less than 10mg. One would have to smoke several thousand (assuming a body mass of about 60kg) joints in very short period of time to reach toxic levels of THC in the body. This is functionally impossible.
According to a 2006 United Kingdom government report, using cannabis is much less dangerous than tobacco, prescription drugs, and alcohol in social harms, physical harm, and addiction.
In short marijuana is less harmful than hundreds of legal substances. Why should it be treated differently?

3. Harmful effects of making marijuana illegal

- Cost
A 2008 study by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron has estimated that legalizing marijuana would save taxpayers $50.8 billion a year in the United States " $44.1 billion from law enforcement savings, and at least $6.7 billion from marijuana in tax revenue.
- Cost of lives
In the mexican drug war alone there have been over 125,000 casualties, 1000 of which have been children.
- Black markets
It is economically trivial demonstrate that banning something creates black markets. This creates a source of revenue for criminal gangs.
- People imprisoned unjustly

In short people using marijuana do not inherently harm others, they do not harm themselves and making marijuana illegal has vast awful unintended consequences on many people.

Over to Pro


Marijuana Ingredients--)

--Generally refers to the dried flowers and subtending leaves and stems of the female cannabis plant. The major chemical component of the psychoactive marijuana is Tetrahydrocannabinol which is abbreviated as THC.

Effects of Marijuana----)

There have been many studies to identify the negative impacts due to the marijuana. Specialists have observed that brain is affected by THC. While smoking marijuana, THC passes from the lungs into the blood stream while the chemicals are carried by it to the brain and other organs of the body. Long-term usage of marijuana may lead to addiction. This has harmful effects on social relationships with family, work, school and entertaining activities. It causes sleeplessness, decreased taste, bad temper and anxiety all of which make it hard to quit. Excessive use of marijuana causes depression, anxiety, suicidal desire and schizophrenia. In youngsters this causes risk of mental illness, vulnerability, and exposure to violence.


No medications are available while research has given the hope that there will be some medications to prevent and ease withdrawal of the intoxication results of marijuana. (

Harmful effects of making marijuana

More than 800,000 people are arrested for marijuana each year, the vast majority of them for simple possession.

Police prosecuted 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation"s annual Uniform Crime Report. Marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (approximately 52 percent) of all drug arrests reported in the United States. A decade ago, marijuana arrests comprised just 44 percent of all drug arrests. Approximately 46 percent of all drug prosecutions nationwide are for marijuana possession. Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 88 percent (758,593 Americans) were charged with possession only. The remaining 99,815 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses.

Marijuana bad for the Economy

Legalize marijuana will crash prices and the tax revenue will not be what they want.
A ballot measure to legalize marijuana in California would so upend supply and demand that pot prices could plummet by as much as 90 percent and possibly undercut the tax windfall that supporters have touted to sell the initiative. Pot prices could drop from $375 an ounce under the state's current medical marijuana law to as little as $38 per ounce before taxes as legal pot suddenly becomes available to the public, RAND researchers concluded.

"With over 1 out of 30 Americans controlled by the penal system, why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana to change the failed war on drugs into a money making, money saving boost to the economy? Do we really need that many victimless criminals?")
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks for your round. I'll first counter your position then defend my arguments.

It is worth noting the majority of my opponents arguments are directly copied and pasted from various websites; (Ironically this one supports legalizing marijuana - more on this in a bit)

(This one also supports legalization)

He also does not provide a framework for why making marijuana illegal should be considered "beneficial". I shall assume utilitarianism.

My opponent makes 4 arguments:
Marijuana has bad effects
Marijuana is untreatable
Marijuana causes harm to those "making" it
Marijuana is bad for the economy.

Marijuana has bad effects.
From my opponents own source:

"Marijuana has not been shown to cause mental illness.Some effects of marijuana ingestion may include feelings of panic, anxiety, and paranoia. Such experiences can be frightening, but the effects are temporary.
That said, none of this is to suggest that there may not be somecorrelation(but not causation) between marijuana use and certain psychiatric ailments. Marijuana use can correlate with mental illness for many reasons. People often turn to the alleviating effects of marijuana to treat symptoms of distress. One study demonstrated that psychotic symptomspredict later use of marijuana, suggesting that people might turn to the plant for help rather than become ill after use."

There is not a causal link between psychological damage and marijuana use. The other effects are very temporary. Whilst there are negative effects, they are minor, and certainly less than the negative effects caused by legal substances.

[Iverson, Leslie. “Long-term effects of exposure to cannabis.” Current Opinion in Pharmacology 5(2005): 69-72 for an academic source backing this up - obviously, most don't have access to this source so don't count it in voting]

None is necessary. It is essentially harmless.

Harmful effects of making marijuana

This argument is quite amusing. Lots of people are in jail for selling marijuana so marijuana legalization is harmful? This is self evidently absurd. These people would be better off if marijuana were legal. Your source and statistics undermine your own argument.

The first source my opponent provides does not suggest that legalization will be bad for the economy, but rather not quite as good as some have predicted. Either way, it is still beneficial economically.
The second source has nothing to do with the economy, but states that many people are harmed by making marijuana illegal, so again, supports my argument, not my opponents.

Defending my arguments:
My opponent drops each of my arguments except the economy and marijuana having relatively low harm. He does not justify or respond to the claim that making marijuana illegal is use of force, and via the non-aggression principle (defended round 2) is "wrong".

All arguments countered and most of mine dropped.
Debate Round No. 3


Coolio. Better luck in future debates.


Same to you
Debate Round No. 4
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Thaddeus 4 years ago
Lol qopel. Ta bench
Posted by Thaddeus 4 years ago
You misunderstand again; that is a utilitarian argument, but it presumes utilitarianism is true. Provide a single reason for me to believe utilitarianism is true.
Posted by Archangel35 4 years ago
If more citizens receive care that cannot afford it, the majority of the citizens will be happier and healthier. And if they are happier and healthier, the economy prospers. Utilitarianism if what determining what is for the greatest good of the greatest number of people.
Posted by Thaddeus 4 years ago
Valid. I have said there too. Though, just out of interest, can you name one argument you made for utilitarianism?
Posted by Archangel35 4 years ago
If you have to say anything about our debate Thaddeus, just post it on ours. Not this one
Posted by Thaddeus 4 years ago
Saying, "it was supported" is not a reason. How did she support utilitarianism? Name one argument she provided for utilitarianism.
Posted by Archangel35 4 years ago
Yeah Thaddeus, He did!
Posted by angelcoba 4 years ago
I did!
Posted by Thaddeus 4 years ago
Natch. BTW your vote on my UHC was a vote bomb. Not cool. You have to give reasons for why you vote.
Posted by angelcoba 4 years ago
Hello, are you going to respond to the debate?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Countering the retard Qopel
Vote Placed by qopel 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: You can't stop me from voting, either.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.