The Instigator
HempforVictory
Pro (for)
Tied
23 Points
The Contender
magpie
Con (against)
Tied
23 Points

Recreational Drugs should be Legalized

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,094 times Debate No: 1013
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (28)
Votes (10)

 

HempforVictory

Pro

I feel that all drugs should be legalized for a variety of reasons. Legalizing and regulating drugs will not only benefit society and the economy, but will benefit drug users and may actually lower the rate of drug use. I will now post several reasons to support my argument:

1) Recreational drugs are perhaps the most widely traded product on the black market. By making them illegal, the black market receives more funds for perpetuating other illegal activities. Essentially, by making the drug trade illegal, you give funding to potentially worse criminal activity.

2) The billions of dollars tied up in the drug market would go to legitimate business owners if the practice were made legal. Not only will this allow for these transfer of funds to be subject to taxation, but the recipients of the money are less likely to be involved in other illegal activities. Since their money is now legitimate, they can use it for investment in other, perhaps more respectable endeavors without scrutiny.

3) Drugs are addicting, and many of the people using them do so because of their addiction and not necessarily because they really want to be. They realize that the drugs are damaging their lives, but they resist getting help because they are afraid of the law. The law should reach out to help these people, not cast them away as criminals.

4) Finally, the tax dollars collected from drug purchases could go to funding drug education and rehabilitation facilities. A person purchasing heroine should be fully aware of the consequences of their decision and should have access to clean needles and "safe" drugs that are not cut with other poisons, if that is their decision. Tell a person no, you're not allowed to may make them want to do it more. Tell them that they can, but it will ruin their life, and the psychological effect is entirely different.
magpie

Con

Hempforvictory: You 'feel' that all drugs should be legalized because legalizing and regulating drugs will benefit society and the economy. But the reasons you give are at least unproven conjecture and mostly disproven positions.

1) I agree that recreational drugs are widely traded and used on the black market, you fail to substantiate that black marketeers profit unduly from the fact of the illegality. You assert that making drugs illegal, gives funding for potentially worse criminal activity. This is equivalent to saying that making rape illegal causes pimps to make more money in prostitution.

2) In this justification you have put money ahead of the ruined lives of addicts, their families and society.

3) I agree that the law should be less interested in catching and punishing users, but as a society we should be severe in the punishment of the criminals who smuggle in and sell the drugs. Perhaps capital punishment for top kingpin and those who are repeat offenders.

4) This justification is just too far from fact to deal with. Did you ever read of the terrible results of this very experiments in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Zurich, Switzerland? For the past 20 yers, the Swiss have tolerated heroin and other drug use, as a result, Switzerland now has one of the highest rates of heroin addiction in the world. None of the benefits that you claim have accrued to either country. What make you think we would benefit, where they have not. I suggest: Blind faith
Debate Round No. 1
HempforVictory

Pro

Before I refute your arguments, I would just like to thank you for accepting this debate, magpie.

1) "I agree that recreational drugs are widely traded and used on the black market, you fail to substantiate that black marketeers profit unduly from the fact of the illegality."

The logic here is very simple, and the history of alcohol prohibition has shown it to be accurate as well. If there is a demand for a product that is legal, the vast majority of people will prefer to purchase it by legitimate means. It is true that there is a black market for legal goods, but it is pale in comparison to the black market for illegal goods. When alcohol was prohibited, organized crime rapidly expanded. After prohibition was lifted, they moved on to supplying the drugs which had recently become illegal under the Federal Narcotics Act, but they shrank in size as these drugs don't have the demand that alcohol does. If those drugs were made available through legal means, their funds would dwindle even further.

"This is equivalent to saying that making rape illegal causes pimps to make more money in prostitution."

That's absolutely ridiculous. The equivalent would be saying that making prostitution illegal would cause pimps to make more money, and that is true. The prostitutes of the Red Light District in Amsterdam are much cleaner and safer than their illegal counterparts in cities with less lenient laws. Cleaner because condoms are mandatory, a policy that is only enforceable if the establishment is legal and regulated. Safer because the streets are lined with police ensuring that none of the women are raped or injured. Instead of being "protected" by pimps, these women are protected by the police.

2) "In this justification you have put money ahead of the ruined lives of addicts, their families and society."

No, this point was simply to show how legalization would benefit the economy. If you look at my other points, you will see that legalization will not ruin the lives of addicts and their families. Perhaps I should have saved this point for last.

3) I would agree that more severe punishments for drug smugglers makes sense, but I will still argue that they will not go away, regardless of how harsh the penalties are against them, until the demand for illegal drugs dissipates, and that will only happen if there is a legal means of obtaining these drugs for the people who are addicted to them.

4) It's interesting that you bring up Switzerland, perhaps you should have done some more research on them. From what I've read, their policy of providing heroin to those who are addicted, by a doctors prescription, has been very successful in reducing usage rates and their model has since been adopted by cities in Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Canada, to name a few. Since the practice was adopted in 1994, heroin related deaths have decreased by more than half, the number of new heroin users decreased from 850 in 1990 to 150 in 2002, the transmission of aids and substance abuse related crimes have also decreased. Perhaps most importantly, "'In Switzerland, the medicalisation of heroin use has helped change the image of users: from rebels to losers,' Nordt said. 'In the eyes of the young, they're mostly just sick people, forced to get medical help.'" The best way to reduce the rate of future addictions is to convince kids that drugs aren't cool, and it seems that treating addicts as people in need of medical help is having precisely that effect.

http://www.swissinfo.org...

For very dangerous and addictive drugs like heroin, the Swiss model of providing them through a doctors office and allowing for controlled use seems to work very well. However, drugs with no severe health risk, like marijuana, should be legalized and distributed in a manner similar to alcohol. There is absolutely no reason why marijuana should be illegal while alcohol and cigarettes remain on the open market. I don't want to get too much into marijuana, for that is a debate in itself, but I will quickly say that alcohol and tobacco both exhibit qualities that are many times worse than those of marijuana and so it is very hypocritical of our government to allow the sale of these substances while prohibiting marijuana.

5) There is one final point that I would like to make that I should have made in my first argument for why addictive, high-risk drugs need to be made available through legal means: to protect children and teens. As it stands right now, the best place to find illegal drugs in suburban towns are in high schools. When I was in high school, the most difficult drug to obtain was alcohol. The only way I could get alcohol was if someone had a parent or older sibling willing to buy it for them. On the contrary, I could get any drug that I wanted from dealers in school. By moving drugs from the illegal to the legal market, you put drug dealers out of business and out of schools.
magpie

Con

Likewise, Hempforvictory, I am honored to debate someone with your abilities.

I deduce from your handle, your choice of presidentiial candidate, and your choice of sources, that your interests are more related to your personal preferences than a desire to rid society of the drug scurge. By contrast, even though I drink alcohol, my only concern is for those who misuse drugs, thse who eventually will, and the rest of society who must endure the problems they create. Because of my positions, I would willingly give up my cosumption of alcohol if we could effectively ban its use. The difference between attempting to ban alcohol and maintaining a ban on drugs is based on numbers. There are over 130 million alcohol users compared to less than 30 million drug users. Tobacco will, ultimately, go away on its own, but right now would be better.
Further, comparing drug use favorably to alcohol and tobacco use is upside-down. I beleve the more consistant view would be: alcohol and tobacco as well as all other dangerous and debilitating drugs should be outlawed.

Do you beleive that children should be free to obtain drugs? If so, I refuse to continue the debate. If not, can you see my concern that drug dealers would be left with only children to sell to. That is, if legalization did actually cause adults to eschew illegal sources. It is an estalished fact of economics that organizations will produce a good so long as the marginal cost is less than the marginal price. This means that the same students who sell and buy drugs in school will continue to be able to do so. Additionally, any presently existing taboos that prevent the saner individuals from participaiing will disappear when children are told by their associates that "...it is ok! Even the goverment says that it is." Ron Paul's retort woould involve education. Education is expensive. Who pays? I do. Oh, R.P. might say that taxes on drugs would pay for education and treatment, but that drives up the cost of the drugs, and creates a profit margin for the dealers. It is a fantacy, that drug dearlers would go away with dug legalization. They will proliferate in a society that tolerates drugs.

BTW: You are not a conservative. Your profile suggests some conservative positions - mainly economic. But in the social arena you are decidedly overwhelmingly liberal.
Debate Round No. 2
HempforVictory

Pro

Thank you for the kind words, magpie. I'm glad you decided to post a rebuttal, I thought you were going to forfeit the round.

"I deduce from your handle, your choice of presidentiial candidate, and your choice of sources, that your interests are more related to your personal preferences than a desire to rid society of the drug scurge."

You seem to be implying that you can "deduce" that I use drugs and that is the reason why I want them legalized; I resent that. These three things should have no bearing on the course of this debate.

a) My handle is representative of the government's hypocrisy in banning a plant that no more than 70 years ago was vital to our efforts in WWII. Hemp, which farmers from all across the midwest have petitioned the government for their right to grow, has a great deal of industrial potential and my support of it says nothing of my usage of it's cousin, marijuana.

b) My choice of presidential candidate is even less relevant to this "discussion. I support Ron Paul because I believe in minimal government intervention; his stance on drug policy is only a small part of the reason why I support him.

c) As for my choice of sources, I really don't understand. From what I can tell, the only direct source I posted was from swissinfo.com, which I found by googling Switzerland heroin addiction to see if your claim was correct, and I found that it certainly was not.

"By contrast, even though I drink alcohol, my only concern is for those who misuse drugs, thse who eventually will, and the rest of society who must endure the problems they create."

Your only concern is for those who misuse drugs? Well than you must think that all prescription drugs should be banned because some people misuse and abuse them. Do you see the flaw in your logic? Your problem is that you think the government needs to protect each and every one of its citizens from...themselves really, for they are the ones who choose to abuse drugs in the first place. Rather than setting an impossible task, the government should do its best to have an informed and educated populace that is capable of making the right decisions.

"The difference between attempting to ban alcohol and maintaining a ban on drugs is based on numbers."

True, that is the difference. But they are similar in the fact that banning them does very little to curb their usage.

"can you see my concern that drug dealers would be left with only children to sell to."

I can understand where you are coming from, but you fail to consider where the drugs are initially coming from. Of course, different drugs have different origins. First I'll consider the case of marijuana, and than heroin, as they will have very different regulations and they currently come from unrelated sources.

Most of the marijuana in the country comes from large illegal growing operations, not individuals growing a few plants in their basements as many may think. If legalized, it is reasonable to think that the large operations would become legitimate and sell it only to adults or licensed retailers, for failure to comply would result in a penalty, which can be easily avoided without hurting their business. So where do the kids get it from? They have two options: know somebody who grows it themselves, or have a parent or older sibling buy it for them(the same as it is with alcohol). Now unless the number of kids growing it in their parents basement rises substantially, there will be substantially less marijuana in the school system.

Heroin, on the other hand, is imported. It is produced in foreign countries like Thailand and Afghanistan, and it is smuggled into the country. If the primary business - the heroin addicts - are able to obtain their drug from the doctor, the demand is going to shrink significantly. A downward shift in the demand for a good causes a decrease in the price, in the short term. In the long term, suppliers either decrease their supply and the price reaches a new equilibrium, or they cut production altogether if the demand is not high enough to justify the risk. Either way, the amount of illegal heroin in the country drops.

"Additionally, any presently existing taboos that prevent the saner individuals from participaiing will disappear when children are told by their associates that "...it is ok! Even the goverment says that it is.""

Not true, heroin addicts would be seen as sick individuals, and marijuana would be viewed much like alcohol. Some will refrain from using it, while others will indulge. What's important here is that only adults will be able to make the decision.

So to recap, there are several reasons why drugs need to be legalized and regulated.

1) Society will benefit from less crimes related to the illegal drug trade.

2) The economy will benefit from a smaller black market, keeping more money in the legitimate sector.

3) The government will benefit from not losing money to an impossible War on Drugs, but instead possibly accruing a positive balance from taxes collected on the sale of drugs like marijuana.

4) Addiction rates will decrease when addicts are treated as sick people with a medical condition, rather than rebels who know better than the government.

5) Most importantly, the presence of illegal drugs in schools will greatly diminish, which will ultimately have the most profound effect on lowering future drug usage rates.
magpie

Con

Your points refuted:
1) "Society will benefit from less crimes related to the illegal drug trade."

This takes us back to my previous analogy that you misunderstood. Perhaps it was my fault: we can always reduce crimes by making previously criminal behavior legal. So your argument would therefore justify legalizing rape.

2) "The economy will benefit from a smaller black market, keeping more money in the legitimate sector."

The black market will redouble efforts to sell to children. There is nothing in what you or R. P. propose that can undo the reality that the profit motive of the drug cartels will persist.

3) "The government will benefit from not losing money to an impossible War on Drugs, but instead possibly accruing a positive balance from taxes collected on the sale of drugs like marijuana."

The war can be won, but not with the half hearted mesures of the past.
Taxing marijuana will increase its cost, which undermines your contention of undercutting the black market.

4) "Addiction rates will decrease when addicts are treated as sick people with a medical condition, rather than rebels who know better than the government."

You pointed to Switzerland as your example of how this would work. That country has about 30,000 heroin addicts in a population of approx. 10 million. Extrapolating to the U.S. population, that would be about 900,000 heroin addicts. Not exactly something to be proud of.

5) "Most importantly, the presence of illegal drugs in schools will greatly diminish, which will ultimately have the most profound effect on lowering future drug usage rates."
There is absolutly no factual evidence that this would happen. The laws of economics suggest that it would be the exact opposite. When markets erode, organizations will adapt by finding new methods or by creating new markets. Either way, targeting children will be expanded.

Thanks for a really great debate. I predict that you will, someday, support my view. This is especially true if you get your wish.
Debate Round No. 3
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HempforVictory 9 years ago
HempforVictory
Good point cloppbeast, "In the United States , there are over 810,000 people addicted to [heroin]." The rate of addiction in Switzerland really isn't that much higher than in the US.

http://www.hhs.gov...
Posted by cloppbeast 9 years ago
cloppbeast
Also, 900,000 addicts ammounts to 0.3% of the U.S. population. Although I don't feel like researching the subject, I would immagine that is less than, or at least comparable to the current amount of herion addicts in the U.S.
Posted by cloppbeast 9 years ago
cloppbeast
Again, I did not vote on the basis of my personal belief. Clearly, HempforVictory won the debate. He refuted everything that you said, and actually backed up his facts with references, while you clearly made yours up. You admitted yourself that you made a terrible similie, one in which made no sense. Your third argument in particular had not depth or reasoning behind it; it was simply idle statements with no evidence or logical argument backing it up.

Also, seperate from defending my vote in this debate, you seem to be missing the broad scope of this issue. Drug usage is not the only issue. Take alcohol prohibition for example: During alcohol prohibition, alcohol consumption actually went down, but why, then, was it abolishied? Because there were many unintended consequences that simply didn't justify the decrease in alcohol consuption. (I won't bother you with these consequences because you probably already know what they are.) The same is true with drug prohibition. It is impossible to justify the decrease in drug use with the unintended consequences.

I would be amiss if I didn'n mention that some experts actually believe that drug use decrease, but most agree that it would increase slightly.

Fun Fact: The profits mob bosses make from the illegal drug trade surpasses the U.S. defense budget.
Posted by HempforVictory 9 years ago
HempforVictory
Look magpie, I don't want to sound like I'm whining, but I elaborated on my numbered arguments in round 2, and you accused me of being a drug user because of my handle and my support of Ron Paul, and than brought up an entirely new point about children, without addressing any of my arguments. How can you say that you did? The evidence, as you say, is right there to prove my point.
Posted by magpie 9 years ago
magpie
Hemp: I enumerated my specific responses to your specific arguments, as you did to mine. How can you say that I didn't. The evidense is there to contradict you. Additionally, you may claim that I am wrong in my deductions, and, of course, I very well might be; but that is not the same as a personal attack. And, I did appologize for any hurt that it may have caused you. I am not an advocate of personal attacks, and I can see how my deduction could be misconstrued to be one. Again, I'm sorry.
I didn't mention all the drugs I was thinking of, nor did you take pains to limit the discussion to pot and heroin.
I have no idea why I won, perhaps the readers believed as they voted. I do know from his own asssertion that Clopp voted his preference for pot.
Posted by HempforVictory 9 years ago
HempforVictory
"I erred - big time - in accepting this debate. The drug universe is too ambiguous. I'm thinking Ecstacy, Meth, Crack, Tourmalene, PCP, etc., while Hemp is thinking pot. I'm thinking the complex US society, while Hemp is thinking the virtually monolithic society of Switzeralnd."

Really? If you were thinking of all that, why didn't you address any of it in the debate? You didn't bring up any strong arguments in any of the three rounds - you barely addressed my arguments in round 1, ignored them in round 2 and made nothing but personal attacks, and than only addressed my summary in round 3. Even with your weakargument, you still won the debate because people voted based on their preconceived notions about drug legalization.
Posted by magpie 9 years ago
magpie
Rob: My words were not confused - it's just that I'm terrrible at similies. In actual fact, I do believe that legalizing rape would in some small way, reduce prostitution. My point was/is that each argument must stand on its own. If, in fact, there is a valid reason to ban drugs then consideration must be given to the cost/ benefits model. Likewise the opposite, if there is a clear reasoning to allow drugs.
I erred - big time - in accepting this debate. The drug universe is too ambiguous. I'm thinking Ecstacy, Meth, Crack, Tourmalene, PCP, etc., while Hemp is thinking pot. I'm thinking the complex US society, while Hemp is thinking the virtually monolithic society of Switzeralnd.
I have a background in economics and statistics. I know intuitively that there are always unintended consequences to any law. Had the nation been aware of these hidden consequences, we would never have had prohibition.
You and I disagree on virtually everything except: integrity in our arguments.
Win or lose, I try my best. I don't resent losing to a superior debater, even when I know that I'm 'RIGHT'.
Posted by Rob1Billion 9 years ago
Rob1Billion
"You assert that making drugs illegal, gives funding for potentially worse criminal activity. This is equivalent to saying that making rape illegal causes pimps to make more money in prostitution."

Magpie, I am leaning towards the pro in this argument, and I wanted to know, before I vote, if you back up these words that you stated in round 1. It seems to me that *maybe* you got your words mixed up, and I wanted to see if you really did have a good way to disprove hemp's first thesis. I would want to change my vote if you did...
Posted by cloppbeast 9 years ago
cloppbeast
//5) Most importantly, the presence of illegal drugs in schools will greatly diminish, which will ultimately have the most profound effect on lowering future drug usage rates.

There is absolutely no evidense that this is true. I believe the opposite would occur.//

Wrong. There have been numerous studies, including http://www.narcononcenter.com..., indicating that marijuana is easier for teenagers to purchase than alcohol and cigarettes. The sale of alcohol and cigs to minors can be regulated very easily with fines, but drug dealers can not be regulated at all. The advertising strategies of cigarette and alcohol companies can be regulated, as well, and it is currently illegal for such companies to advertise to children. Drug dealers, on the other hand, are constantly in need of new clients because of frequent arrests. Who do you think drug dealers target for new clients? You guessed it. The most uneducated, impressionable, and weak people: children. Children, especially in poor urban communities where drug use is glorified, are the biggest victims of drug prohibition. A better strategy of combating drug use is education.

//Clopp: I've tried here to point out that the issue is far more complex than you realize. Also, you accept Hemp's points as fact. They are opinions. His opinions match yours and to you, that makes them fact. He cannot - and did not - document a single argument.//

I highly doubt that you have done as much research on the subject as I have, so of course I understand the complexity of this issue. What about this issue being complex proves you are correct? Alcohol Prohibition was a complex issue as well as an immense failure. It was a failure because, although less people used alcohol, the consequences were far worse. The same is true with drug use.
Posted by cloppbeast 9 years ago
cloppbeast
I would first like to point out that some of your following points were not made in your argument, therefore cannot be used now to defend your winning the debate.

//I say there will more crimes and Columbia will declare war against the USA.//

What would make you think that Columbia will declare war on the USA, considering it in no way has the necessary resources to support such a war. There will not be more crimes if drugs were legal, which was proven by the immense failure of Alcohol Prohibition.

//I'll answer this one straight. The money will be spent on additional addiction remediation.//

This rebuttal is using the assumption that there will be a significant increase in the number of drug users. While I agree that there may be an increase in the number of drug users, (but there may not) the number of extra drug users that would need to be rehabilitated would not exceed the amount saved on law enforcement.

//Using the Swiss model (the only one to compare to), it puts the govt. into the drug business//

If this helps the problem of drug use, what's the problem? You do want to minimize drug use don't you?

//There is absolutely no evidense that this is true. I believe the opposite would occur.//

Speaking of evidence: Where is the evidence of your argument, and the evidence that Columbia is going to declare war on the US if drugs are made legal? Also, there could be absolutely no evidence to support this hypothesis, because drugs have never been legal; therefore no experiment has been conducted.

//He cannot - and did not - document a single argument.//

Where is your documentation?

//I'd agree with your position if it exempted my tax money going to treat the idits who choose to use.//

Well sorry to break it to you, but your tax dollars are already going to treat "idiots" who use drugs. They are also going towards putting drug users, who are no threat to your safety, in prison.
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