Resolved: Marijuana should be legalized in the United States.
Debate Rounds (5)
First round acceptance.
This is my first debate on this website so please excuse any errors I may have made in context of what occurs in what round.
I accept the resolution at hand.
I thank my opponent for his acceptance of the resolution, and I affirm it in this debate. The BOP is shared with consideration that both sides of the debate assert a positive statement with their positions on the resolution. With this said, I move on to establish my points for this debate.
Contention 1: Scientific evidence in the current time period points toward marijuana being an innocuous drug.
More developed and recent evidence done by the field of science has moved toward providing proof that marijuana is a mostly harmless drug with no warrant nor necessity to be criminalized under American law.
Sub-point 1a: There is no connection between marijuana use and problems with lungs.
The newest study published in the Journal of American Medical Association finds that there is little to no risk for marijuana use to have negative effects on breathing and lung capacity. What it proves is opposite: that the use of marijuana actually increases lung capacity if used casually. The methodology actually tested cigarette users and marijuana users separately in order to determine effects on the lungs, and while marijuana had no such effects on the lungs, cigarettes did. 
Sub-point 1b: There is no strong connection between marijuana and detrimental mental effects.
The similar claims of scientific evidence point toward the claimed mental effects of marijuana as well. 
Contention 2: Decriminalization yields many benefits.
Aside from the many advantages of medical marijuana on cancer and AIDS patients, decriminalization can alieve a heavy burden on the society. During the years of criminalization, the amount of people in the United States i prison because of possession of marijuana is 75,000 . The cost of maintaining these prisoners is astronomical for American taxpayers. It is also evident that legalization has reaped economic benefits to the regions where it is done. 
I thank my opponents for his comments. However, I realized that he has not defined any definitions. Therefore, I would like to define some of the terms in the debate.
Marijuana - the dried leaves and female flowers of the hemp plant, used in cigarette form as a narcotic or hallucinogen. Also known as cannabis, pot, and weed
Legalized – to make legal. In this sense, to total remove all of the restrictions outlawing the use of production, and possession of marijuana.
Decriminalization – to remove criminal penalties against
I would now like to refute some of the arguments that my opponent has brought forth.
In my opponent's first contention, he states that scientific evidence shows that marijuana doesn't have any major health effects.
In Sub-point 1a, he claims that smoking marijuana is not associated with lung issues. This is simply not true. A large study also shows that smoking marijuana on a regular basis results in wheezing, bronchitis, and chronic coughing.
In Sub-point 1b, he claims that there is no strong connection between marijuana and detrimental mental effects. However, that is a blatant lie. Drugs that are used for social purposes are used because they induce a "high", or a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. Every drug will have detrimental health effects, the most severe being addiction which I shall elaborate on in my contentions. Furthermore, a large Swedish study shows that using marijuana before the age of 18 doubles the risk of developing schizophrenia.
Clearly, my opponent's first contention is flawed and false.
In my opponent's second contention, he mentions "decriminalization" a lot. However, I would like to point out that "decriminalization" and "legalization" are very different terms. Also, my opponent speaks of how it is easier to acquire medical marijuana. However, medical marijuana is already legalized in various states and you can apply for medical marijuana. I would also like my opponent to clarify what he plans to do with the some 75, 000 people in prison for marijuana possession charges and other crimes related with marijuana. Since my opponent says that "The cost of maintaining these prisoners is astronomical for American taxpayers", I'll assume that he plans to release those prisoners. However, I would like to ask him what he plans to do with all the fines that had to be paid by those incarcerated for marijuana charges. For example:
Possession, first offense: misdemeanour, 1 year incarceration, $1000 fine
Possession, second offense: misdemeanour, 2 years' incarceration, $2500 fine
Possession, subsequent offense: misdemeanour/felony, 3 years' incarceration, $5000 fine
Sale, less than 50 kg: felony, 5 years, $250, 000 fine
Sale, 50 – 99 kg: felony, 20 years, $1, 000, 000 fine
Sale, 100 – 999 kg: felony, 40 years, $5, 000, 000 fine
Sale, 1000 kg or more: felony, life, $10, 000, 000 fine
Cultivation, less than 50 plants: felony, 5 years, $250, 000 fine
Cultivation, 50 – 99 plants: felony, 20 years, $1, 000, 000 fine
Cultivation, 100 – 999 plants: felony, 40 years, $5, 000, 000 fine
Cultivation, 1000 plants or more: felony, life, $10, 000, 000 fine
From the years of 1996 – 2010, in the United States 1, 362, 571 people were incarcerated with marijuana trafficking and sale, and 10, 106, 550 people were incarcerated with possession. Assuming that each of the crimes were small offenses, such as possession, first offense and sail, less than 50 kg, we would have to repay $1,362,571,000 in possession alone and $252,663,750,000 in sales charges! Furthermore, we would have to pay compensation charges for those incarcerated any amount of time. Compensation for 1 year in prison could range to $120,000. The total amount for compensation charges if everyone in jail had served 1 year, we would have to pay $1,376,294,520,000! Total charges would amount to $1, 630, 320, 841, 000!! Clearly, the economic benefit doesn't exist, but I will elaborate more on this in my contentions.
I will now proceed on to my first two contentions.
Firstly, THE HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH MARIJUANA USAGE
Marijuana is shown to cause various adverse affects to mental health, unlike what my opponent would have you believe. The most acute affects are anxiety, motor-coordination, processing capability, motor performance, attention loss, psychotic symptoms, road crashes if the driver of a vehicle is intoxicated, cannabis dependence (addiction), chronic bronchitis, and behavioural disorders. Repeated usage of cannabis increases the chances of having a stroke, high blood pressure, and fatal heart attacks. This can be highly dangerous when marijuana users participate in high risk activities, such as driving. The lack of ability to respond quickly can result in car accidents. Furthermore, usage of marijuana results in an increased risk of lung related issues, unlike what my opponent would like you to believe. Both Morocco and New Zealand has conducted tests and both show that use of marijuana increases lung cancers in users. These health risks are very dangerous for those using marijuana. If we legalize marijuana, marijuana usage will increase. Why? Because illegality deters many citizens from doing activities, if we legalize marijuana more people will end up using marijuana, exposing more people to these health risks.
Secondly, MARIJUANA IS A GATEWAY DRUG
I have no doubt that my opponent will deny this fact and claim that marijuana is not a gateway drug. However, that is simply a fallacy. Marijuana is a gateway drug. Studies show that adolescents who use marijuana are 85% more likely to use cocaine or heroin, extremely dangerous drugs. 60% of adolescents who use marijuana before the age of 15 ends up using cocaine. I quote: "troubled youths" for whom there is a statistically significant gateway effect that doubles the hazard of starting to use hard drugs" (Melberg, 2007, Cited by 9). These hard drugs are extremely dangerous and the usage of marijuana will increase users of these hard drugs. When arrested, those who use these hard drugs will have to be incarcerated, continuing to affect the "economic benefits" claimed by my opponent.
My final contention I will present in the next round (as I am running out of characters), and it is perhaps one of the most important, ADDICTION.
So what have we learned today? My opponent claims that there are no major health issues associated with marijuana. My opponent claims that there will be economic benefits. Both of these are flawed arguments. Marijuana poses many dangerous health risks and is a gateway drug to hard drugs.
For these reasons, Vote Con.
For the sake of organization and full comprehension of the debate, I'm going to go through my opponent's rebuttals against my case, and then, I'm goingto move on toward the arguments in my opponent's case.
Sub-point 1a: We begin at my first sub-point where my opponent contrasts the evidence from my scientific study with his own (not cited anywhere as far as I'm concerned). We have seemingly reached an impasse: one scientific study versus another. The way out of this confliction is to evaluate the studies themselves through the methodology in order to see if this was a valid and efficient experiment (that is, it follows the guidelines of scientific experiements and controls for lurking variables). The problem is that my opponent doesn't provide the methodology. I explained in my original statement that the experiement controlled for lurking variables, including the other actions such as cigarette smoking which could skew the results. When keeping the marijuana users who only smoke marijuana away from the marijuana users who smoke cigarettes, we found that marijuana users who only used marijuana did not have the same health defects as the ones who also smoked cigarettes. My opponent has no methodology in his citation, meaning that my scientific evidence is more credible as far as this debate is concerned.
Sub-point 1b: I probably should've made myself more clear. When I spoke of detrimental mental effects, I spoke about the long-term mental illnesses that are claimed come from the use of marijuana. I provided the medical marijuana evidence in order to explain that marijuana is actually being used to counter those afflicted by depression. My opponent explains that marijuana causes a high and becomes addictive. If you look back into his evidence , we can clearly see that the addiction problem isn't that severe considering it explains that it only has a 9% addiction rate in contrast to nicotine (a legal drug), which has a 32% addiction rate. Almost any drug you can think of, even caffeine, can be addictive. The question is if people can get addicted enough in order to suffer problems in their lives and be unable to function, and when there's only a 9% addiction rate, we can clearly see that the evidence points to the contrary of my opponent's position. Even so, if addiction is my opponent's argument, it means that because it can be addictive, it should be banned. This means that caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and perscription drugs should be illegal as well according to his logic. Moving on to the "high" argument, I'd be an idiot to tell you that you can't get high off marijuana. However, my opponent doesn't prove in any way that this high is sufficient enough to be dangerous to the user and surrounding people. He has this evidence that doesn't really speak well to these effects. My opponent talks about a Swedish study correlating schizophrenia to marijuana use even though he once again has no citation for this. The following will take you to links explaining scientific research that explains otherwise: 
Contention 2: The resolution talks about the legalization of marijuana at a general level, meaning even if there's one state that hasn't legalized marijuana at all, the argument about medical marijuana is still applicable. My opponent talks about the fines that the country would receive as a result of these crimes, even though his calculations seem a tad bit miscalculating because it makes a lot of assumptions and predictions without any knowledge if my opponent is any sort of credible mathematician or economist as well as a person looking into all of the charges in every individual state. These calculations are based on people who would carry 50kg of marijuana, which is ludicrously large amount of mariajuana. Already, we can see that my opponent isn't even looking at the totality of people who use or possess marijuana. Even if this calculation is correct, I have opposing evidence about the cost of the drug war showing that the costs have outweighed. Throughout the years, the country has used hundreds of billions of dollars funding the war on drugs from taxpayer money and losing human lives as a result of a drug war that hasn't produced any sort of benefit whatsoever.  
Contention 2: My opponent comes up again with the "studies show" argument even though he once again provides no sort of citation for any of these studies. Even if we give credit to these studies, they only show a correlation rather than a causation. My opponent's evidence in no way accounts for lurking variables. This following evidence explains a lurking variable that could explain the "gateway" effect: other life stresses. 
Contention 1: Again, his citations are nonexistent and methodologies are not here.
Contention 3: I've already addressed the addiction issue.
iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.
Extend all arguments across the flow.
iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.
Extend all arguments across the flow and vote PRO.
iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
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