The Instigator
Mangani
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
masterzanzibar
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points

Resolved: The Federal Government can legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,121 times Debate No: 5972
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (31)
Votes (3)

 

Mangani

Pro

Contention #1- Marijuana is currently a schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act.
-According to the law, Schedule I drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. (http://www.usdoj.gov...)
-Rules and Regulations regarding the Controlled Substances Act fall under the US Department of Justice, which is headed by the Attorney General, a cabinet level appointment.(http://www.usdoj.gov...)
-Controlled substances remain in their current schedule until amended pursuant to section 811 of the Controlled Substance Act, which falls under the FDA (another Federal Government entity). Revisions are published in Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1308 of Title 21, Food and Drugs. (http://www.usdoj.gov..., http://www.usdoj.gov...)
-The Attorney General of the United States holds authority to remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule. (http://www.usdoj.gov...)
-The Federal Government can legalize marijuana by removing it from the list of Schedule 1 drugs pursuant to findings in various medical journals, studies, and reports showing it's benefits for medical use.
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org...
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org...
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org...
-The Federal Government can legalize industrialized hemp by removing the plant from the list of marijuana strains. Congress can also write laws defining industrialized hemp as strains of marijuana containing less than 1% THC, and specifying it's use for industrial hemp applications. Over 30 industrialized democracies do distinguish hemp from marijuana. International treaties regarding marijuana make an exception for industrial hemp.

Contention #2- Precedence
-The "Volstead Act," the popular name for the National Prohibition Act, passed Congress over President Woodrow Wilson's veto on October 28, 1919 and established the legal definition of intoxicating liquor as well as providing for enforcement of Prohibition.
-The 18th Amendment was certified as ratified on January 16, 1919, having been approved by 36 states, and went into effect on January 16, 1920. Some state legislatures had already enacted statewide prohibition prior to the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment. Federal Law does not prohibit states from enacting their own local prohibitionist laws.(http://en.wikipedia.org...)
-The Eighteenth Amendment was repealed with ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, on December 5, 1933.
-There are currently no Federal controls on alcohol, though there are local state, county, and city controls.

I have not other contentions to present at this time except for my argument that the US Federal Government has the power to legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp. The legalization of such would not hamper state prohibitionary laws, but would alleviate local laws allowing for the production, sale, and possession of medical marijuana, and the growth, and cultivation of industrialized hemp.

Thank you.
masterzanzibar

Con

I negate that The Federal Government can legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp
and do so for the following three reasons.
1. marijuana impairs human functionality.
2.marijuana contains dangerous carcinogens.
3. marijuana has negative effects on the human reproductive system.

Resolutional analysis-
1.Interpret the resolution as the government legalizing medical marijuana and industrial hemp, because my opponent lumps their purpose and legal issues together in his contentions. for the pro to win, they must show that the USFG can legalize BOTH marijuana and industrialized hemp.

The resolution states that "The Federal Government can legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp" however, the government cannot legalize marijuana because it is bound by the governmental legitimacy to protect and serve its citizens.

for the remainder of the round i will negate this resolution through asserting that marijuana is bad for the health of united states citizens.

lets get cookin (no pun intented)
Contention 1- marijuana impairs human functuality
marijuana impairs human functuality in countless ways, perhaps the most notable is its adverse effects on the user's short term memory. according to the national institute on drug abuse,damage to short-term memory occurs because THC alters the way in which information is processed by the hippocampus, a brain area responsible for memory formation. http://www.nida.nih.gov...
additionally, according to the division of drug and alcohol abuse "Studies of marijuana's mental effects show that the drug can alter sense of time, and reduce ability to do things which require concentration, swift reactions, and coordination, such as driving a car or operating machinery. " http://www.well.com...

What's more is that marijuana can be psychologically detrimental to those who use. according to the DDAA http://www.well.com... of marijuana may become psychologically dependent. They may have a hard time limiting their use, they may need more of the drug to get the same effect, and they may develop problems with their jobs and personal relationships. The drug can become the most important aspect of their lives.

legalizing medical marijuana would be unethical because of the long term effects on short term memory, and the psychology of those it is precribe to. Furthermore, is it not the role of pharmacutical drugs to make the user more competent than they were before? shouldn't drugs increase the overall health and well being of an individual, rather than diminish them?

Contention 2-Marijuana contains carcinogens
research has shown marijuana cigarettes contain more tar and higher levels of certain cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco cigarettes.
according to the American Cancer Society in 2000"DNA mutations have been found in respiratory system cells of marijuana users and several case reports have found an unexpectedly high number of marijuana users among patients with cancers of the head and neck region, including the mouth, tongue, throat, and larynx."
"The study looked at the relationship between marijuana use and head and neck cancers in 173 patients diagnosed with those diseases who were compared with 176 cancer-free patients." The average user in this study had two to three times the risk of non-users.

Additionally, in her book Marijuana as medicine, PHD janet elizabeth joy warns that "several marijuana users are at greater risk for mouth, larnyx, pharnyx, lungs, and esophogaus cancers, than the average cigarette smoker."http://books.google.com...

Again I stress the role of pharmacuetical drugs in the Medical World. if common drugs such as zoloft or aderall had more known cancer causing agents than the average pack of cigarettes, do you really think they would be in the medical field today? this is why we see million dollar lawsuits against pharmacutical companies and the private companies developing drugs with hidden side effects. however, these side effects aren't hidden, they're well known and ridden within the drug that my opponent proposes to impose on the medical industry today.

Contention 3-marijuana has negative effects on the human reproductive system.
according to the DDAA, "Some research studies suggest that the use of marijuana during pregnancy may result in premature babies and in low birth weights. Studies of men and women may have a temporary loss of fertility. These findings suggest that marijuana may be especially harmful during adolescence, a period of rapid physical and sexual development."

addtionally according to AAFP
marijuana Reduces
testicular size
Lower testosterone levels
Decreased libido
Menstrual abnormalities
Impotence
Change in sperm morphology/motility Infertility
Gynecomastia
Abnormal ova
Fetal exposure
Prolonged childbirth
Reduced fertility in offspring

should i go on?

ON TO THE PRO

my opponents first arg can be summed up in this statement halfway through his contention "The Federal Government can legalize marijuana by removing it from the list of Schedule 1 drugs pursuant to findings in various medical journals, studies, and reports showing it's benefits for medical use."
However if you look to his definition of Schedule 1 Drugs, it states that
"Schedule I drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision."

as i stated in my first contention, marijuana has a high potential for abuse, and has an ENORMOUS lack of accepted saftey for use of the drug. look to all three of my contentions to see why medical marijuana cannot be accepted as a "safe drug".

to his contention 2
he uses the example of the prohibition act to justify legalizing marijuana. however, when was the last time that your doctor prescribed you gin and juice for that cough you had? thankfully, unless your doctor is snoop dog, that hasn't happened yet. my opponent tries to assert that medical marijuana should be legalized because the government can override state prohibitionary laws. first, this isn't true in any way, for the constitution states in the tenth amendment The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. No where in the constitution is it declared that the the states have ratified marijuaa use, so the USFG can in no way adopt this system because those rights are reserved to the states.

Good luck my esteemed opponent!
Debate Round No. 1
Mangani

Pro

I thank my opponent for taking this debate. I will begin this round by clarifying the resolution, as my opponent has attempted to restate it in his favor.

The resolution clearly states that the Federal Government (US Federal Government) can (not should) legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp. The and/or part of the resolution is stated as such because the DEA has lumped both together under their prohibition of marijuana (http://www.usdoj.gov...). The DEA does not recognize industrialized hemp, which uses a non-euphoric strain of cannabis with less than 1% THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana (http://naihc.org...), as a separately scheduled substance.

The and/or is also presented because the two, medical marijuana and industrialized hemp, can be dealt with separately through the DEA and FDA. The PAC's that advocate legalization of industrialized hemp are concerned with the hemp industry, and the advocates of medical marijuana are concerned with it's use as a medicine. There are PAC's (political action committees) lobbying for both, but they are generally treated as separate issues with benefits for different individuals throughout society (patients vs. farmers). Therefore, my resolution stands as originally stated.

To respond to my opponents first three contentions would be to deviate from my own resolution. My premise for this debate does not advocate the legalization of medical marijuana, rather my resolution is regarding the power the US Federal Government possesses to legalize either medical marijuana, industrialized hemp, or both.

My opponent claims that it is the duty of the government to serve and protect it's citizens, and implies that it is the duty of the government to protect it's citizens from harming their own health. This is not a valid contention against the power of the Federal Government to legalize medical marijuana because the government has legalized harmful substances in the past (alcohol, cigarettes, the medical use of morphine, morphinol, and other opiates, the medical use of amphetamines, methamphetamines, etc., etc., etc.). (http://www.usdoj.gov...). Even cocaine and powdered opium are Schedule II drugs, which means they have an accepted medical use and can be prescribed by a doctor.

My opponent claims that marijuana has a high potential for abuse. I contend that nearly any medicine has the potential for abuse, and I will define drug abuse as taking a psychoactive drug or performance enhancing drug for a non-therapeutic or non-medical effect. Indeed alcohol has a much higher potential for abuse, it is a drug, and does not have nearly the accepted medical use as marijuana. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)(I could not find a source for the medical use of alcohol)(http://en.wikipedia.org...).

Though I will not argue the issue of high potential for abuse, I will argue his contention that medical marijuana has an "enormous lack of accepted safety for use of the drug". Rescheduling requires that it be accepted for medical use, and I will list what a few medical agencies say about the issue:
"The American Academy of Family Physicians [supports] the use of marijuana ... under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications."
Reference: 1996-1997 AAFP Reference Manual - Selected Policies on Health Issues

"The American Medical Student Association strongly urges the United States Government ... to meet the treatment needs of currently ill Americans by restoring the Compassionate IND program for medical marijuana, and ... reschedul[ing] marijuana to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, and ... end[ing] the medical prohibition against marijuana."
Reference: AMSA House of Delegates Resolution #12 : adopted March 1993

"The American Nurses Association will: ... Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision. Support the ability of health care providers to discuss and/or recommend the medicinal use of marijuana without the threat of intimidation or penalization. Support legislation to remove criminal penalties including arrest and imprisonment for bona fide patients and prescribers of therapeutic marijuana/cannabis. "
Reference: ANA Resolution: June 2003

American Preventive Medical Association
"Marijuana should be available for appropriate medicinal purposes, when such use is in accordance with state law, and that physicians who recommend and prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes in states where such use is legal, should not be censured, harassed, prosecuted or otherwise penalized by the federal government."
Reference: "Medicinal Use of Marijuana" policy statement: December 8, 1997

Belgian Ministry of Health
"[R]esearch has shown that cannabis can be of medicinal use. ... This is an area where public health must prevail."
Reference: Statement of the Health Ministry, as quoted in Expatica.com (Brussels), September 4, 2003.

British Medical Association
"Present evidence indicates that [cannabinoids] are remarkably safe drugs, with a side-effects profile superior to many drugs used for the same indications. ... [The BMA] will urge the government to consider changing the Misuse of Drugs Act to allow the prescription of cannabinoids to patients with certain conditions causing distress that are not adequately controlled by existing treatments."
Reference: BMA report: "Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis:" November 1997

So not only is marijuana widely accepted in the medical community as medically beneficial, the side effects are far less harmful than those of other drugs, including many Schedule II drugs like cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamines. Multiple petitions for rescheduling marijuana have been submitted by reform advocates over the last 30 years. Rescheduling marijuana to Schedule II would protect patients and physicians from current Federal Laws that undermine state medical marijuana laws. Rescheduling marijuana to Schedule II would legalize marijuana because Federal prohibition of marijuana falls under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (please see R1 for argument and sources).

House Resolution 5843, titled the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, would express support for "a very small number of individuals" suffering from chronic pain or illness to smoke marijuana with impunity. If HR 5843 were passed, the House would support marijuana smokers possessing up to 100 grams -- about 3� ounces -- of cannabis without being arrested. It would also give its blessing to the "nonprofit transfer" of up to an ounce of marijuana. The resolution would not address laws forbidding growing, importing or exporting marijuana, or selling it for profit. The resolution also would not speak to state laws regarding marijuana use.(http://www.cnn.com...)

Legalization is the process of removing a legal prohibition against something which is currently not legal. Legalization is a process often applied to what are now regarded as victimless crimes, such as the consumption of illegal drugs. It should be contrasted with decriminalization, which removes criminal charges from an action, but leaves intact associated laws and regulations.(http://en.wikipedia.org...)

Because the US Federal Government has the power- in various forms, ie. House bills, rescheduling, or a Supreme Court ruling against the constitutionality of drug prohibition- to "eliminate Federal penalties prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana" as stated in House Res. 5843, and legalization is the process of removing a legal prohibition against something which is currently not legal, I affirm that the US Federal Government CAN legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp.

Thank you.
masterzanzibar

Con

Basically what the resolutional analysis comes down to in this round, is my opponent has to show to the judging pool how he is without a doubt proving the resolution in its entirety true. My opponent states that the DEA lumped both [marijuana and hemp] together under their prohibition of marijuana. So realistically he must prove that both can be legalized, or else I win this round.

The contentions that I have provided are completely topical, for the United States is morally bound to protect its citizens from harm. To sustain it's legitimacy, the United States government must place the protection of its citizens above all else. Thus, if the legalization of medical marijuana is threatening the lives or proves to be malicious against the citizens, the United States is morally obliged to prohibit that thing to ensure the safety of its citizens.

My opponent's attack against my governmental legitimacy argument is not valid, for the examples of harmful substances that have been legalized are tobacco, alcohol, and morphine. In the current U.S. medical practices, nowhere is the use of tobacco or alcohol implemented to ensure patient care. Since we are discussing MEDICAL Marijuana, the term itself denotes that it is being prescribed for a medical purpose. Additionally, morphine, does not carry better-known carcinogens than tobacco, and is not notorious for it's effects on the short-term memory and the reproductive system, as marijuana is.
(p.s. i would really like to see the source that indicates cocaine is used regularly in contemporary medical practice, if you could provide that it would be great)
My Opponent concedes the fact that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, which is one of the criteria classifying it as a substance 1 drug, as he stated in his first speech.

Acknowledge the fact that when it comes to my second contention, my opponent did not directly clash with this argument once so ever. He states from several sources that claiming a variety of things and their personal feelings of marijuana, but does not once negate or even address the fact that marijuana has dangerous carcinogens that have been proven to lead to an unexpectedly high number of users among patients with cancers of the head and neck region, including the mouth, tongue, throat, and larynx. Additionally, users of marijuana have 2-3 times the chance of cancer in this area than non-users. (Look to contention 2 rd 1 for the analytics and evidence) how is the government fulfilling its obligations to protect its citizens when it allows doctor's to prescribe cancer-causing medications?

My opponent has failed to clash with my third contention by completely dropping it, so extend this argument, and look to this point for it even further substantiates the notion that the marijuana is severely dangerous; and cannot be taken from it's categorization of a substance 1 drug.

To sum up the remainder of my opponents arguments made in his second rebuttal, he asserts that The United States has the power to legalize marijuana through "House bills, rescheduling, or a Supreme Court ruling against the constitutionality of drug prohibition"

HOWEVER: to state that the USFG has this power, is like stating, " I could rule the world if I had all the power, resources, arms, and support to do it. While hypothetically if I had these things I could accomplish these goals, however in the real world, I don't have these things, so I cant.

The reality of this country is that the USFG does not have this power. In order for a house bill to be passed, it has to be constitutional. Nowhere in the constitution does it state that the legalization of marijuana is not constitutional, nor does it connote it. What's more, is There is no clause within the constitution that discusses drugs in any way, the 21st amendment is pertaining to liquor solely. This decision is left for the states to make through the tenth amendment where –to paraphrase- it states, " all powers not enumerated within the constitution are reserved for the states." THUS the Supreme Court could not rule against drug constitutionality for there is nowhere in the constitution that mentions drugs.
I must reiterate again for the sake of being concrete (but hopefully not monotonous) THE STATES CAN PASS THESE LAWS, BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CANNOT
So for all reasons presented, I advocate a vote for the CON, thanks.
Debate Round No. 2
Mangani

Pro

Because my opponent keeps jumping around the topics, and has ignored the case I have made, I will address his points one by one (or try to):
"So realistically he must prove that both can be legalized, or else I win this round."
-Indeed I have shown in both R1 and R2 arguments that the Federal government can legalize either or both. I have shown the Federal Government can legalize industrial hemp by defining it as strains of cannabis containing less than 1% THC, and by specifying it's difference from the drug cannabis, as international law so differentiates. I have shown that medical marijuana can be legalized for prescription by rescheduling as a Schedule II controlled substance. I have shown that the Supreme Court can rule in favor of petitions presented before the court determining that the prohibition of marijuana is unconstitutional, legalizing both. I have shown that Congress can pass bills (like HR 5843 and others) legalizing marijuana for personal use. I have provided many references in so doing.

"To sustain it's legitimacy, the United States government must place the protection of its citizens above all else."
-My opponent completely ignores my contention that the legalization of alcohol and tobacco violates his stipulation, as both substances are not only harmful, but cause more annual deaths than marijuana- which causes none. (http://www.webmd.com...)

"In the current U.S. medical practices, nowhere is the use of tobacco or alcohol implemented to ensure patient care."
-Your argument for governmental legitimacy was not bound to medicine. Indeed alcohol and nicotine are drugs, yet provide no medical benefit, and much more harm than marijuana (I have already provided sources). And if it was bound to medicine, I also mentioned the Schedule II drugs cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamines- all drugs proven to be much more harmful than marijuana.

"Additionally, morphine, does not carry better-known carcinogens than tobacco, and is not notorious for it's effects on the short-term memory and the reproductive system, as marijuana is."
-Morphine is much more harmful than marijuana, causing sever side effects, including death. Morphine causes chemical dependence, which marijuana does not.(http://www.pain-relief-medication.info...) Morphine is an opioid like heroin, and in some cases is more dangerous than heroin. (http://opioids.com...)

"i would really like to see the source that indicates cocaine is used regularly in contemporary medical practice, if you could provide that it would be great"
-I didn't say cocaine was used regularly, rather that it is a Schedule II controlled substance which makes it legal to prescribe. (http://www.usdoj.gov...) It has a much higher disposition for abuse than marijuana, causes many more side effects, and has a much more terrible effect on our society. (http://www.emedicine.com...)

"My Opponent concedes the fact that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, which is one of the criteria classifying it as a substance 1 drug, as he stated in his first speech."
-I did not concede this point. I merely did not argue this point as it is irrelevant to rescheduling to Schedule II, which also lists this as a criteria, and it is irrelevant to the other points I made.

"does not once negate or even address the fact that marijuana has dangerous carcinogens that have been proven to lead to an unexpectedly high number of users among patients with cancers of the head and neck region, including the mouth, tongue, throat, and larynx."
-If the readers wish, they can research my opponents sources and see that they discredit his own argument.(http://books.google.com...)
-From his own source: "No association was found between marijuana use, and any other type of cancer, including cancers normally linked to tobacco smoking". I did not initially argue this point because the debate is not about the dangers of marijuana, rather whether or not the Federal Government can legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp.

"how is the government fulfilling its obligations to protect its citizens when it allows doctor's to prescribe cancer-causing medications?" - Marijuana has not been proven to cause cancer, but other medicines and medical procedures can cause cancer. The most commonly used treatment for cancer, chemotherapy, can cause cancer (http://www.medicinenet.com...) as it is a form of ionizing radiation, as well as x-rays.

"marijuana is severely dangerous"
-First, my opponent has not proves this. His own sources state otherwise.
-Second, this is irrelevant to the question "can the Federal government legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp".

"Nowhere in the constitution does it state that the legalization of marijuana is not constitutional, nor does it connote it."
-Nowhere in the constitution does it state that the legalization of tobacco is not constitutional, yet it is legal. Marijuana became illegal in the United States in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act. It was previously regulated under the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, but until then it was completely legal.

The Federal Government indeed has the power to legalize medical marijuana and industrialized hemp. It has already rescheduled Marinol, or synthetic THC (Tetra-hydro-cannabinol, the active chemical found in marijuana), as Schedule III (http://www.erowid.org...). Under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, Federal law in the United States preempts conflicting state and local laws. Because the possession and use of drugs is not codified in the US Constitution, laws prohibiting the possession, use, and sale of drugs fall under the US Code of Federal Regulations. The FDA, DEA, and the Controlled Substances Act fall under Title 21 of the US Code of Federal Regulations. The US Code of Federal Regulations is sometimes referred to as Administrative Law. Under the Administrative Procedure Act, the different Federal agencies are permitted to promulgate detailed rules and regulations through a public "rulemaking" process where the public is allowed to comment, known as public information. After a period of time, the rules and regulations are usually published in the Federal Register.(http://www.law.fsu.edu..., http://www.gpoaccess.gov..., http://www.whitehouse.gov...)(http://usgovinfo.about.com...)

HR 5842 is a House Resolution that proposes the rescheduling of marijuana under the CSA (http://www.govtrack.us...)
HR 5843 would remove Federal penalties for the personal use of marijuana, and would limit state penalties to a $100 fine under the Controlled Substances Act (http://www.govtrack.us...).

The Federal government has criminalized marijuana under the Interstate Commerce Clause, which gives the Federal Government the power to regulate the channels of commerce, the instrumentalities of commerce, and actions that substantially affect interstate commerce. Additionally, under the Supremacy Clause, any state law in conflict with federal law is not valid. The United States Code, under Section 811 of Title 21, sets out a process by which cannabis could be administratively transferred to a less-restrictive category or removed from Controlled Substances Act regulation altogether. (I've provided several links for this title). Because it is the Controlled Substances Act enacted by USFG that illegalized marijuana, the USFG most definitely has the power to legalize medical marijuana and/or industrial
masterzanzibar

Con

masterzanzibar forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Mangani

Pro

Well, my opponent has forfeited R3, but hopefully he will at least provide a conclusion to his arguments. For my conclusion, I will provide some background, and then reiterate my arguments.

Marijuana is a plant grouped by the genus cannabis. It has three species: cannabis sativa (cannabis sativa subspec. sativa)(http://www.ars-grin.gov...), cannabis indica (cannabis sativa subspec. indica)(http://www.ars-grin.gov...), and cannabis ruderalis (http://www.cannabisculture.com...). The US Federal Government has not always prohibited marijuana, and it didn't even attempt to regulate it until introduction of the Marijuana Stamp Act of 1937 (http://www.druglibrary.org...). Though the Stamp Act did not itself criminalize marijuana, it provided penalty provisions and a complex regulation codifying elaborate rules of enforcement. Passage of the Act included reports that alleged that marijuana causes "murder, insanity, and death".

In 1942, due to World War II, the US Department of Agriculture produced a film called "Hemp For Victory", a film which encouraged and taught US farmers to grow variants of hemp to use as raw materials used by sailors for rope. This was in response of Japan's blockage of alternative raw materials from entering the US.

In 1969 in Leary v. United States, this act was found to be unconstitutional since it violated the Fifth Amendment, since a person seeking the tax stamp would have to incriminate him/herself. In response the Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The Controlled Substances Act serves as the US implementation of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under license for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research. The Single Convention repeatedly affirms the importance of medical use of controlled substances. The Preamble notes that "the medical use of narcotic drugs continues to be indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and that adequate provision must be made to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs for such purposes". The treaty is ambiguous with regard to personal use. Several commissions have attempted to clear this point, and with the exception of the Le Dain Commission, most have found that states are allowed to legalize possession for personal use. The American National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse reached the conclusion in 1972 that the Convention does not bar possession for personal use, finding "that the word 'possession' in Article 36 refers not to possession for personal use but to Possession as a link in illicit trafficking."

In addition to exceptions for medical and personal use, Article 28 of the Convention specifically excludes industrial hemp from these regulations, stating, "This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fibre and seed) or horticultural purposes."

Because prohibitions against medical use, possession for personal use, and industrial use are exempted under the Convention, prohibition of such is the design of the Controlled Substances Act which is intended to enforce the Single Convention, but applies it's own restrictions against the medical and personal use of marijuana, and by not including an exception for industrial use, it also restricts industrialized hemp.

When the Controlled Substances Act was enacted, a letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on Interstate and International Commerce states that marijuana scheduling as Schedule I was intended to be provisional: Some question has been raised whether the use of the plant itself produces "severe psychological or physical dependence" as required by a schedule I or even schedule II criterion. Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana be retained within schedule I at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue."

The Controlled Substances Act provides a process for rescheduling controlled substances by petitioning the Drug Enforcement Administration. The first petition under this process was filed in 1972 to allow cannabis to be legally prescribed by physicians. The petition was ultimately denied after 22 years of court challenges, although a pill form of cannabis' psychoactive ingredient, THC, was rescheduled in 1985 to allow prescription under schedule II. In 1999 it was again rescheduled to allow prescription under schedule III.

The Drug Policy Forum of Texas, and other organizations and universities have defined legalization vs. decriminalization as follows:
Legalization
A system that allows the use and sale of drugs to adults under a system of regulation such as pertains to alcohol or perhaps involving licenses. Many suggest there would be a ban on advertising and public use. If the alcohol model prevailed, different states might vary the regulatory structure and legality might also be limited by local option to specific areas within a state.

Decriminalization
A system that punishes offenses by means other than prison. Fines for most traffic violations are an example. In relation to drugs, it is normally limited to possession (and sometimes growth) of small amounts (often around one ounce) and somtimes to sale of equally small amounts to adults. It is also often limited to marijuana among the illegal drugs.

There is another distinction possible between de jure decriminalization, which entails an amendment to criminal legislation, and de facto decriminalization, which involves an administrative decision not to prosecute acts that nonetheless remain subject to arrest and imprisonment under the law. Some cities have simply decided de facto to specify that enforcement of some marijuana laws is the "lowest priority" for their police forces.

There are several ways the US Federal Government can legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp.
-The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005 would remove penalties and roadblocks to industrialized hemp under the CSA, redefining marijuana as listed under Schedule 1 of the CSA. This Act would allow for a national and state regulated hemp industry. (http://www.globalhemp.com...)(http://www.govtrack.us...)
-Rescheduling marijuana as a Schedule II or III would legalize the prescribed medical use of marijuana.
-A Constitutional Article allowing for the regulated medical, personal, and industrial use of cannabis can be written and ratified as an Amendment.
-Congress can introduce a bill under the Commerce Clause or Taxing and Spending Clause of the US Constitution allowing for a regulated marijuana industry.

There are other ways, and many different laws can be written, ratified, changed, or reworded- the fact remains that the US Federal Government HAS the power to legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp. Thank you.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...
http://blog.thehill.com...
http://www.usdoj.gov...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.votehemp.com...
http://www.factmonster.com...
http://www.opencongress.org...
masterzanzibar

Con

I sincerely apologize for dropping that last round, i was at a real debate tournament over the weekend and had no time.

what you should look to in this debate round is still the argument of governmental legitimacy. this point stands in this debate round with complete relevance, and should be looked to for it is the government's first priority to protect its citizens. the facts that there are dangerous carcinogens in marijuana, and that marijuana has previously linked to herendous infant deformaties, still births, and significant death, shows us that these drugs are severly harmful to us, and it is it's obligation to protect it's citizens against things such as marijuana.

additionally, you cannot look to my opponents argument's for the tenth amendment reserves all rights not mentioned within the constitution to the states. the basis for affirming that he gives us is tantamount to saying that we can constitutionalize anything (insest,rape, murder, ect. ) IF we created a constitutional amendment, the states all ratified it, or we had a constitutional convention. if the pro wishes to frame the debate round around a hypothetical debate, than this is a debate that i do not see any reason to win, for we have gotten nowhere. since these arguments lack real-life foundation look to the neg. thanks.
Debate Round No. 4
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
Lightkeeper,

The fact that there is extensive scholarly, legal, and Congressional debate on the issue of legalization- always referred to as legalization, is evidence that the Federal Government in fact does have this power. The fact that the FDA and DEA have released papers against legalization is evidence that they have the power to legalize drugs under their understanding of the definition.

There would be no public debate on the issue of legalization if the Federal Government did not have this power: , ,
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
"They would not override prohibition on state level unless you can show how the Federal Government has that power under the Constitution. If the Supreme Court made a ruling saying that USFG has that power then you might have an argument. Is there a ruling to that effect? If so, what's the case citation?"
-Gonzales v. Raich, case no. 03-1454. Though this case was the reverse of legalization, it showed how the Federal Government can use Administrative Law because of its authority under the federal Controlled Substances Act to regulate interstate commerce in illegal drugs.

"As for the wiki definition of legalization"
-Removal of legal restrictions on the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, possession and/or use of a psychoactive substance.(http://www.uphs.upenn.edu...). Because the CSA poses legal restrictions on the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, possession and/or use of illicit drugs, changes the marijuana scheduling would remove legal restrictions on possession under a physicians care- this would be legalization for medical use. Removing marijuana completely from the CSA would remove all legal restrictions at the Federal Level. The CSA is Federal legal restriction. Removing Federal legal restriction is legalization at the Federal level.
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
1. They would not override prohibition on state level unless you can show how the Federal Government has that power under the Constitution. If the Supreme Court made a ruling saying that USFG has that power then you might have an argument. Is there a ruling to that effect? If so, what's the case citation?

2. As for the wiki definition of legalization that you are trying to rely on:

a) have you noticed that it's not referenced to absolutely anything?
b) are you aware of the fact that anyone in the world can edit wiki?
c) flowing from a and b above, how do we know that YOU didn't in fact put that definition in? Or one of your friends? Or just someone who has no idea about the subject?

You can't rely on a wiki definition that has no sources referenced.

I suggest that the dicionary definition below carries way more credibility than the open-source wiki one you've attempted to use. Please find a more credible source.

American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This le·gal·ize (lē'gə-līz') Pronunciation Key
tr.v. le·gal·ized, le·gal·iz·ing, le·gal·iz·es
To make legal or lawful; authorize or sanction by law.
le'gal·i·za'tion (-gə-lĭ-zā'shən) n.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
Decriminalization and legalization are not the same thing. Legalization is the process of removing a legal prohibition against something which is currently not legal. Removing prohibition at the Federal level is legalization, even if still prohibited at the state level. Two of the methods of legalization I have stated would override prohibition at the state level- a Supreme Court ruling, or rescheduling. I have not even mentioned a fourth method of legalization, which would be a third that overrides prohibition at the state level- a constitutional amendment. Decriminalization simply removes criminal charges, but leaves in tact associated laws and regulations (http://en.wikipedia.org...).
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
First you didn't even know what the FDA is, now you are dictating what powers it has. What you don't understand is what I told you long ago- the illegality of drugs is unconstitutional in the first place. You seem to think that everything in the US works according to the Constitution, but it doesn't. What is not clearly stated in the Constitution is often "played around" with with "codes" and such.

First of all, the Supreme Court is the only entity in the world with the authority to interpret the Constitution. In the past they have voted 6-3 against petitions to "remove penalties for possession of marijuana", which, if passed, would have fit the definition of legalization (the removal of penalties for something that is illegal, and making it legal). 30 petitions have been presented to the Supreme Court in the past, and if they ever deem prohibition of marijuana- or even just medical marijuana, unconstitutional that would be legalization. The Supreme Court is part of the Federal Government.

Furthermore, the FDA is the only governing body concerning prescription drugs. States cannot make laws banning specific prescription drugs because states do not have that power over doctors. States can make laws regulating the importation and sale of prescription drugs within their borders, but they cannot prevent a doctor from prescribing a drug that is accepted by the FDA and DEA as Schedule II. The FDA is part of the Federal Government. If the FDA accepts that marijuana can be used for medical purposes, the Attorney General will reschedule marijuana to Schedule II. This would remove all penalties for the medical use of marijuana under the supervision of a physician, and would fit the definition of legalization.

If the Federal Government passes a bill removing all penalties at the Federal Level, because there are penalties at the Federal level, it would be legalization- even if the bill did not stipulate rules overriding state law. (HR 5843)
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
No, Mangani isn't correct. But closer this time.

However......

FDA doesn't have the power to create Constitutional Power for the Fed Govt. ONLY the Constitution can do that. Find some law for a change.

The fact that SOME States allow medical prescription of marijuana still doesn't help. Neither a State nor USFG can legalise marijuana in the USA until such time that it's legal on the other level. In other words, if it becomes completely decriminilised on the Federal Level, each State will actually legalise it as soon as it decriminalises it on State level.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is the Federal agency charged with evaluating, restricting, and establishing rules and regulations concerning the use, sale, and distribution of foods, drugs, and medical devices and accessories. It is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services which is headed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a cabinet level appointment.

They are the agency responsible for review of scheduling petitions, and medical reports concerning the medical use of marijuana. If the FDA were to determine that marijuana were medically beneficial it would allow the Attorney General to reschedule the drug as a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule II makes a drug legal for medical use, and would allow doctors to prescribe it. Because doctors are not now allowed to prescribe medical marijuana- even in states that have recognized it's medical benefits, rescheduling to Schedule II would legalize it for medical use. Because there is no state law prohibiting doctors from prescribing it- nor can there be as the FDA is the authority on prescription drugs, though they can enact regulation- it would be legalized even in Lightkeeper's definition.
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
MrSmooth,

It can't LOL. It can't make it legal in the States. In other words it can't pass a law that will say "marijuana shall be legal in the United States of America". If it did so, the law would be unconstitutional because it would be acting ultra vires.
I haven't research what power FDA is under. But FDA's purpose is to regulate for the safe production etc of med drugs. It doesn't mean USFG has the power to override the States' residual powers and make marijuana legal throughout the USA.

Unless you're relying on the other meaning of "legalise", as per Pro's argument.
Posted by mrsmooth27 8 years ago
mrsmooth27
*cough*
http://www.usdoj.gov...

The Federal Government can legalize medical marijuana and/or industrialized hemp because
A. it is within the rights of the Federal Government and
B. it already has

C. Light,
If you can't change the scope of the debate, just walk away from it. If someone is being hotheaded then he/she probably isn't worth the effort that it would take to argue with him/her.
D. "Oh sorry, didn't mean to turn Mr Smooth into Mrs Mooth."
No offense taken. That happens all the time.
Posted by vitalsign789 8 years ago
vitalsign789
I hate this topic bbut I think I can win it because the wording of the topic is incorrect....
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masterzanzibar
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