The Instigator
cactusbin
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
Eris
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points

Resolved: The production, sale, possession, and use of marijuana for those 18 should be legal.

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/24/2009 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,403 times Debate No: 9817
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (18)
Votes (2)

 

cactusbin

Pro

TO CLARIFY PLEASE NOTE I MEANT THIS AS THE TOPIC:
"Resolved: The production, sale, possession, and use of marijuana for those 18 and older should be legal." I simply ran out of room.

I propose that this be debated in a modified (no crossex) Lincoln Douglas format, as follows:

1. Affirmative Constructive
2. Negative Constructive/Rebuttal
3. Affirmative Rebuttal
4. Negative Rebuttal
5. Affirmative Rebuttal
(Due to the nature of this site the negatives last speech should be blank, as affirmative gets the last rebuttal)

"Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could." - William F. Buckley, Jr. William Buckley is saying here that the criminalization of marijuana causes more harm to society than marijuana itself does. Because I agree with William Buckley I affirm the resolution, Resolved: The production, sale, possession, and use of marijuana for those 18 should be legal.

My value for this resolution is efficiency. Efficiency is defined as productive of desired effects; especially : productive without waste. I feel that efficiency is the best value as a society must not waste resources if it is to be successful.

My value criterion is elimination of inefficient laws. Inefficient laws waste resources and must be eliminated in order to achieve efficiency. In this case I am arguing that the criminalization of marijuana is an inefficient law.

Contention 1: Marijuana criminalization causes inefficiency in the criminal justice system

Criminalizing marijuana distracts the justice system from real issues. Marijuana users are usually teens and young adults that are otherwise law obeying, productive members of society. Throwing them in jail is a waste of time. It wastes the time of not only police officers catching them, but also of judges, public defenders, etc. And takes up space in jails. The war on marijuana is a useless war that cannot be won, and in the mean time it reduces the efficiency of the justice system.

Contention 2: A legal marijuana market would benefit the economy.

While currently the criminalization of marijuana loses money for the government, a legalization could in fact make it money. A legal market for marijuana could be heavily taxed, like they do for cigarettes, and provide money to the government. In addition illegal marijuana currently takes money away from the national economy and gives it to international crime gangs. The legalization of marijuana would also provide another viable crop for farmers to grow, which helps stabilize the economy. Thus, the legalization of marijuana would result in a more efficient society.

In conclusion I affirm the resolution because marijuana criminalization causes inefficiency in the criminal justice system, and legal marijuana market would benefit the economy.
Eris

Con

I've taken this argument because I recently read an article that brought up a point I hadn't considered when discussing Marijuana legalization, and I would like to share it here.

My value for negating my opponents resolution will also be efficiency - and will also use my opponents apt definition of "not wasting resources". My value criterion will be the price of various products - the measure of the efficiency of any economic process.

Contention 1: Legalizing Marijuana will raise the prices of both food and clothing.

If marijuana is legalized as a commercial product, allowed to be grown by private citizens and corporations, food prices will most certainly rise. This is due the agricultural economic principle of "cash crops" - farmers will grow that for which they can receive the most return on their investment. In this case, farmers will abandon growing wheat and grains, and instead will grow marijuana in its place due to its price. This will cause the supply of food to go down, causing prices to go up - a decrease in efficiency. The same principle applies for cotton and clothing. Thus both my opponents and my own value definitions of efficiency demands we keep essential (read: food) prices down by prohibiting MJ cultivation.

Contention 2: Legalizing marijuana will not decrease crime rates.

A regularly offered argument is that legalizing marijuana will put drug cartels out of business. However, this claim is discounts the adaptability of criminal organizations. They will not simply "fail" as a result of legalization - they will simply move to other avenues of business. We can observe similar behaviors through Prohibition and the Mafia. When Prohibition ended, the Mafia did not disappear, instead they entered more heavily into markets of extortion. Indeed, the legalization of marijuana will force criminal organization to enter into more violent criminal endeavors in order to sustain themselves - raising costs of police work and destruction of personal wealth of victimized citizens, thereby decreasing relative efficiencies.

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Rebuttals:

"Criminalizing marijuana distracts the justice system from real issues."

This statement is false, as possession and use of marijuana rarely results in jail time. Instead, possession charges are used to convict only institutionalized felons and drug barons where other charges cannot be made. Putting them in jail reduces criminal activity and raises societal efficiency and productivity.

"A legal market for marijuana could be heavily taxed, like they do for cigarettes, and provide money to the government."

This statement ignores the fact that these revenues are most often put into social programs to prevent smoking and medical programs that treat related diseases. So in actuality, there is no net profit from taxation and therefore no increase in efficiency, negating your contention.
Debate Round No. 1
cactusbin

Pro

I will first defend my own case, then go on to attack my opponent's.

"Criminalizing marijuana distracts the justice system from real issues."

My opponent is already incorrect from the start. Simple possession of marijuana can either result in a misdemeanor or a felony (which is usually given if the person has had possession arrests before), depending on their criminal record. Even as a misdemeanor it can carry the sentence of: "a maximum of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine." As a felony the sentence is: "a prison sentence of one year and a day to ten years and a maximum fine of $5,000" (http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com...)

"A legal market for marijuana could be heavily taxed, like they do for cigarettes, and provide money to the government."

The amount spent on prevention is currently about $4.5 million. Since I said they should tax marijuana with a similar rate as cigarettes I will use that to show how much they make. Currently the average price of a pack of cigarettes is about $5 per pack with tax, and the tax is about $1 (http://tobaccofreekids.org...). Making the tax rate about 25%. One unit (.5 grams) of marijuana is usually sold for about $9 (http://economics.about.com...). This would probably decease in a free market, to, lets say $6. A tax rate of 25% on $6 would be $1.50. 14% of the US population is considered to be 'regular users' (http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov...) who smoke at least once a month. The total US population is 308 million people, that makes about 30 million people that smoke marijuana. That's $45 million in tax dollars.

"Legalizing Marijuana will raise the prices of both food and clothing."

This point is moot as marijuana would not be considered a good cash crop. It requires too much labor to grow large fields of it.

"Legalizing marijuana will not decrease crime rates."

Crime rates does not pertain to my opponents value of efficiency, therefore the point should not be taken as valid.
Eris

Con

Rebuttals:

"My opponent is already incorrect from the start. Simple possession of marijuana can either result in a misdemeanor or a felony (which is usually given if the person has had possession arrests before), depending on their criminal record."

My opponent has clearly misunderstood my original argument, either because he chose not to read my argument or simply did not understand it. I am aware, as are most people, that possession of marijuana is a crime and punishable by up to one year in jail. But for the vast majority of cases, possession simply results in a fine and / or probation:

"The Moscone Act, effective January 1, 1976, augmented this process by taking the most common marijuana offense-- possession of a small amount out of Superior Court entirely... This provision meant that marijuana possession offenders did not have to appear even in lower courts. And since the maximum penalty for this offense was a $100 fine (not incarceration), jail as well as prison populations fell." (1)

"Overall, the result of the Moscone Act and these other influences was to reduce the marijuana prison population to about half its 1972 level." (1)

As you can see, most marijuana charges already don't result in jail time - and as such your contention that legalizing marijuana would decrease the prison population is patently false. Therefore my original contention stands and the rest of my opponent's argument on this contention is rather irrelevant.

"...That's $45 million in tax dollars."

Assuming we accept my opponents rather naive fiscal statements on taxing marijuana, even if there was "45 million" dollars in revenue, the average cost of just the medical treatment programs for smoking is 8.7 billion dollars per year for California (2). As you can see, your contention that taxing marijuana would produce a profit is absolutely ridiculous, as we all have to pay for the associated medical costs of smoking related diseases through Medicare / Medicaid / Uninsured Patients.

"This point is moot as marijuana would not be considered a good cash crop. It requires too much labor to grow large fields of it."

This is a ridiculous assumption with no proof to support it. Cotton is a crop that requires arguably more labor and larger land area than marijuana to grow, and it is the archetypal "cash crop". If marijuana is legalized, farmers will grow it to the exclusion of other crops because they can make the most money off of it. Therefore, my original contention still stands and efficiency would decrease if MJ was legalized.

"Crime rates does not pertain to my opponents value of efficiency, therefore the point should not be taken as valid."

It's rather apparent you didn't even read my argument. Decreasing crime rates resulting in lower associated policing costs, increasing efficiency. My contention still stands.

1: http://www.druglibrary.net...
2: http://berkeley.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
cactusbin

Pro

cactusbin forfeited this round.
Eris

Con

As per the requirements in accepting this debate, I will not post a round 3. I will though urge a vote for Con on the basis that my opponent was seemingly unable to refute my points in his last round.
Debate Round No. 3
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by cactusbin 7 years ago
cactusbin
Actually I just didn't get enough time to post my argument, as I had it typed up but my time ran out before I got home from school..
Posted by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
Doh.
Posted by cactusbin 7 years ago
cactusbin
Goddamnit! Sadness...
Posted by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
Definitely playing Devil's Advocate here, though I wish you had increased the character limit a bit :P
Posted by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
InsertNameHere
Maybe I should play Devil's Advocate here. :P I agree that Marijuana should be legal, but it seems that side has already been taken...
Posted by oceanix 7 years ago
oceanix
I'm just saying that it doesn't make them ignorant
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
oceanix - I debate what I don't agree with all the time. Browse my profile, and you'll see that often I debate the same topic like 4 times from both positions. I just don't feel like taking this one up atm.
Posted by oceanix 7 years ago
oceanix
theLwerd, you don't always debate with what you agree with.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Oh not to mention wasting a bunch of tax dollars on aspects of the DEA, law enforcement, and most importantly in the prison and all throughout the justice system for smoking a little pot. I mean come on. The right is so funny lol.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Anyone who's CON is ignorant. Not only is the government infringing upon so many of our liberties here (which is ironic since it's usually the Republicans who oppose legalization and they're all about rights and liberty when it's convenient), but criminalization is responsible for gang violence, the gang wars in Mexico (since demand has not and will not go down), and subsequently a lot of murder, corruption, and a lot of illegal immigration (again, ironic coming from Repubs).
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Eris 7 years ago
Eris
cactusbinErisTied
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Vote Placed by cactusbin 7 years ago
cactusbin
cactusbinErisTied
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