Resolved: The state of Georgia ought legalize the recreational use/possession of marijuana.
I’m not too draconian with who may or may not accept the debates I make. Anyone can accept this if he/she wants, although it would be a lot more fun if someone from the state of Georgia were to accept this debate. However, I’m not too picky. The terms and conditions of the debate are the following:
Terms and Conditions:
(1) The first round of the debate will only be to state the acceptance of the resolution and the terms and conditions. The succeeding rounds will be to debate the resolution, starting with initial arguments on the second round of the debate.
(2) The term “state of Georgia” applies only to the US state of Georgia and not the nation-state of Georgia.
(3) Forfeiting rounds does not constitute a loss of the debate entirely, but any arguments that are not argued against will be extended to the next round and cannot be argued again. Any argument that is not argued against counts as automatic concession to it.
I would like to clarify that my argument won’t attempt to prove that there are absolutely no harms whatsoever to the consumption of marijuana. Nothing that can be ingested is free of causing harms to people, and marijuana is no exception. It is highly recommended that marijuana not be used by adolescents or people with mental illness. Because there are various harms that are claimed to be associated with marijuana which have undergone scientific study, I won’t specifically iterate them in my case due to my limited allotted space in order to provide my argument. Instead, if my opponent brings up any harms that could come about from the use of marijuana, I’ll address them accordingly in the succeeding rounds of the debate. Likewise, the hypothesized health benefits of marijuana are also extensive. The objective of my case is then to prove that the state’s legalization of marijuana would result in more benefits than harm, hence the solitary contention of my case.
Contention: Legalization of marijuana could pose benefits to the state of Georgia, and prohibition is a failed model of policy.
Looking at a nationwide level of marijuana consumption, the results of prohibition are evident: “Almost 9 out of 10 high school seniors say that marijuana is "very easy" to obtain (much easier than alcohol and tobacco, which are regulated drugs). The street price of cocaine has dropped by 80 percent since 1982, the exact opposite effect from what was intended.”  However, the legalization of marijuana could provide a more effective method of handling cannabis.
Sub-point 1a: Legalizing marijuana could provide monetary benefits to the state of Georgia.
The greater amount of the benefits originates from the savings that the state of Georgia could attain from legalization rather than the tax revenue. Nevertheless, legalizing marijuana can provide monetary benefits to the state of Georgia, as research suggests. The state of Georgia generally spends about $119 million in total annually under the current model of prohibition of marijuana , a monetary amount that could be reduced with the legalization of marijuana by the state of Georgia. The tax revenue from marijuana is calculated depending on population and consumption. [3,4] Miron found similar results from estimating economic benefits of legalizing marijuana in the state of Massachusetts. “Combining these two pieces and adjusting for inflation between 2000 and 2002 implies that Massachusetts would collect $16.9 million annually from marijuana legalization.” 
Sub-point 1b: Legalizing marijuana provides a better deterrent from use by adolescents.
The increased difficulty for adolescents to obtain tobacco and alcohol as opposed to obtaining marijuana display the effectiveness of drug regulation. Likewise, history also displays the ineffectiveness of prohibition after the prohibition of alcohol; use of alcohol increased significantly; organized crime obtained aboost to their funds from the black market. Legalization and regulation of substances allowed for better control over the people who obtain substances. Previous decriminalization efforts in terms of medical marijuana additionally showed no increases in use among adolescents . “A Rhode Island Hospital physician/researcher will present findings from a study investigating whether legalizing medical marijuana in Rhode Island will increase its use among youths. Lead author Esther Choo, M.D., M.P.H., will present the findings of the study at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition on November 2... In their study, they included surveys completed between 1997 and 2009…Choo says, "Our study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to Rhode Island's 2006 legalization of medical marijuana; however, additional research may follow future trends as medical marijuana in Rhode Island and other states becomes more widely used."”  “In 1997, the Connecticut Law Review found that states that have the strictest laws against marijuana use actually have experienced the largest increase in use and there is no study that can scientifically prove that the use of marijuana will lead to the use of harder illegal drugs.” 
Sub-point 1c: Legalizing marijuana curbs crime.
The legalization of marijuana shows to curb crime. In terms of organized crime, it is predicted that legalization efforts would strike an enormous blow to drug cartels. Because Georgia is a state with ports, trafficking of marijuana can be prevalent. As a study from the country of Mexico shows, drug cartels would suffer a blow from legalization efforts. “The study (.pdf), released on October 31 by the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness (IMCO), found that Mexican drug cartels could see their revenue drop by as much as 30 percent across the board if current ballot initiatives on marijuana legalization in three states are passed.”  In terms of unorganized crime, the state of California has shown decreases to crime among youth partially as a result of marijuana law reforms. “Effective in 1976, SB 95 downgraded low-level possession (less than one ounce) of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor, and effective on January 1, 2011, SB 1449 reduced most simple marijuana possessions to an infraction involving a mere citation rather than criminal arrest. The 1976 reform simply transferred a few thousand marijuana arrests from felonies to misdemeanors, affecting these categories but not overall or drug arrest totals. The 2011 reform did reduce youth marijuana possession arrests by 61% in one year, from nearly 15,000 in 2010 to 5,800 in 2011, reducing overall drug and total arrests in tandem…Second, they show that deincarceration of youth does not generate more crime. ” 
Like I stated before, any arguments related to marijuana health benefits/defects will be dealt with in succeeding rounds. However, I’ll open the floor for arguments from the CON.
 "America's Longest War Has Shown Once Again Prohibition Doesn't Work." US News, , sec. Debate Club, July 9, 2012. http://www.usnews.com... (accessed October 4, 2013).
 Jeffrey Miron, "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition," Harvard University: 10, http://www.in.gov... Implications of Marijuana Prohibition-Jeffrey Miron.pdf (accessed October 4, 2013).
 Ibid., 13
 Ibid., 14
 Miron, Jeffrey. "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Massachusetts." Boston University. : 10. http://ukcia.org... (accessed October 4, 2013).
 Lynne-Landsman, Sarah, Melvin Livingston, and Alexander Wagenaar. "Effects of State Medical Marijuana Laws on Adolescent Marijuana Use." American Journal of Public Health. no. 8 (2013): 1500-06. http://ehis.ebscohost.com... (accessed October 4, 2013).
 "Study: Legalizing Medical Marijuana Does Not Increase Use Among Youth." NORML, 2013. http://norml.org... (accessed October 4, 2013).
 Stevens, Amanda. "Legalizing marijuana allows police to focus on violent crimes." The Raw Story, 2013. http://www.rawstory.com... (accessed October 4, 2013).
 Ramsey, Geoffrey. "Study: US Marijuana Legalization Could Cut Cartel Profits By 30%." InSight Crime, November 5, 2012. http://www.insightcrime.org... (accessed October 4, 2013).
 Males, Mike. "California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low." Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. (2012): 7-8. http://www.cjcj.org... (accessed October 4, 2013).
1. Legalizing marijuana could provide monetary benefits to the state of Georgia;
2. Legalizing marijuana provides a better deterrent from use by adolescents; and
3. Legalizing marijuana curbs crime.
I will refute these points in order.
1, Certainly the legalization of marijuana, if accompanied by a tax on marijuana, could bring money into the state coffers. However, the question becomes will this pay for the increase of fatal and injurious motor vehicle accidents caused by marijuana use?  Or the cost of developing an objective test to measure the precise level of intoxication? Or the cost of the enforcement of the regulations?
2. I concede a portion of my opponent's second argument. I agree that legalizing marijuana for use by adults will not increase adolescent use. I disagree that it would provide a better deterrent, and my opponent cited no evidence for this argument.
3. Legalization does not curb crime and my opponent proved it. Citing my opponent's source "The 1976 reform simply transferred a few thousand marijuana arrests from felonies to misdemeanors, affecting these categories but not overall or drug arrest totals." Also, the estimate that cartels would loose 30% of their revenue is only a best guess, and one that is challenged by history. The Mob in the United States did not disappear after prohibition, they only changed revenue sources from alcohol smuggling, to other illicit activities.
My opponent has responded to my arguments in the same order that they were first presented to one another, so I will go on toward the response of each argument in the same fashion:
My Opponent’s Case: Before continuing toward the rebuttal of the counterarguments, however, I’d like to point out that while my opponent brings up some counterevidence and counterarguments against the claims I’ve made in my case, he doesn’t really outline any particular reasons as to why marijuana ought not be illegal in the state of Georgia. This doesn’t mean that he automatically loses the debate or anything, but it means now that my only burden in this case is to defend my case against his counterarguments as my opponent has provided no argument of his own. Judges, I’ll just leave that fact to you in order for you to measure out who acquires the argumentation point accordingly.
Sub-point 1a: My opponent agrees with me in saying that the state of Georgia could acquire monetary income from the legalization and taxation of marijuana. The questions he poses aren’t necessarily counterarguments inasmuch as they are just questions of balancing monetary income with expenses. For that reason, you can extend this sub-point across the flow. In response to the questions my opponent made, I offer the following responses:
Sub-point 1b: Extend any part of the case showing that the legalization of marijuana would not increase adolescent use. As for the part of legalization providing a better deterrent, my opponent states that he disagrees, but he provides absolutely no arguments as to why he disagrees or why my arguments are wrong. Even if I didn’t have any evidence to back up my claim, my opponent doesn’t even provide a counterargument against my initial claim. However, if my opponent remembers how I mentioned most adolescents agree that marijuana is more accessible than tobacco or alcohol (substances regulated in the state of Georgia and the US), he will notice that my evidence is therein. To elaborate, the regulation of a substance and establishment of an age minimum in order to acquire a substance makes it difficult for underage people to acquire a substance. That was my argument. Judges, you might as well extend this part of the argument as well as my opponent didn’t argue against it. He just said he disagrees with it.
Sub-point 1c: To be fair, while the decriminalization of marijuana didn’t reduce drug arrests, we must understand that the state of California didn’t go the full way into legalizing marijuana. They just decriminalized it. My point was to show that the mitigation of draconian legislation against marijuana at the very least provides a reduction in the amount of crime. He also seemed to forget the part that in 2011, decriminalization reduced the amount of drug arrests as well, however. What my opponent doesn’t understand is that many offenders find it difficult to adjust to society after being entered into the criminal justice system, especially adolescents and young adults. Once being introduced, they usually become part of a vicious cycle of recidivism into the system with increasingly violent crime. The studies on that are plentiful, but had my opponent looked deeper into my evidence, he would’ve also found that my own study states the same: “Given these trends—a much larger, more racially diverse youth population subjected to decreased policing (especially for marijuana) and greatly decreased incarceration, more troubled adult influences, high poverty levels, and more explicit popular culture—normally would lead
authorities across the spectrum to predict high and increasing rates of youth crime. Indeed, such
predictions of a coming youth crime wave have repeatedly been made over the last two decades
(for a typical example, see Fox & Piquero, 2003), and repeatedly proven wrong.”  My opponent then goes to say that the 30% estimated reduction is a best guess at best without even so much as reviewing the methodology and showing that it could be minimized to just a guess, and it’s not like my opponent offers any evidence of his own to say otherwise. One should really understand the difference between a guess and an educated one. The Mob lost a lot of ground after prohibition ended, but yes, it did manage to get back on its feet through the sale of other illicit substances…such as marijuana, the very thing we’re arguing about reducing Mob income with its legalization.
 Rooney, Katie. "Revoking Licenses Deters Drunk Driving." Time Magazine, July 25, 2007. http://content.time.com... (accessed October 9, 2013)
 Males, Mike. "California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low." Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. (2012): 7-8. http://www.cjcj.org...... (accessed October 4, 2013).
Georgia is incapable of legalizing marijuana because it is banned on the federal level. Furthermore, if the state itself is actually involved in the sale and distribution, it only adds the risk of state employees being arrested and prosecuted under federal law.
Back to my opponent's arguments. My opponent states that my sources are contradictory, they are not. A careful reading of the sources shows that while acute use does not necessarily raise the risk of an accident, acute use by a habitual user does.
My opponent stated that "suspending a drunk driver's license immediately at the time of arrest reduces alcohol-related fatal crash involvement by 5%, which translates to at least 800 lives being spared in the U.S. per year". However, my opponent fail to even address the fact that there is no objective test to determine a persons acute marijuana intoxication level as there is with alcohol. Therefore, attempting to enforce DUI laws with marijuana would be a nightmare.
Before continuing to rebut my opponent’s arguments, I would like to point out that my opponent has not argued against my counterarguments in Sub-points 1b and 1c: that the legalization of marijuana would provide a more effective deterrent against adolescent use and that legalization could constitute a curb against crime. According to the third rule of the rules that my opponent has accepted upon his acceptance of the resolution, the failure or negligence to address any points in particular will result in automatic concession to those points. So judges, please extend my sub-points 1b and 1c across the flow as well as their corresponding counterarguments. So then, all that remains is addressing my opponent’s case and the counterarguments that he provided to my own.
Opponent’s Evidence: My opponent refers to the statement within his first piece of evidence that makes me argue that his evidence is contradictory; rather than proving that his evidence is not contradictory, he pointed out the very piece of his first evidence that contradicts second and proves my point. While his first piece states that acute use among acute marijuana users will not impair motor function significantly, his second piece of evidence states the following: “The researchers found the risk of being responsible for a fatal crash increased as the blood concentration of cannabis increased. While even small amounts of cannabis could double the chance of a driver suffering an accident, larger doses could more than triple the risk.”  His second piece of evidence implies that any use among any person regardless of the level of marijuana use could double the chances of having a fatal accident, whereas the first only corresponds significant chances of car accidents to habitual marijuana users. Upon seeing this, it’s evident that my opponent’s evidence is contradictory in the claims it makes, if not at least a bit inconsistent. In addition, I mentioned that my opponent’s evidence doesn’t provide elaboration on methodology or any reduction of lurking variables in order to get concrete results—a claim that my opponent makes no argument against, meaning he agrees. So, while his evidence states that 7% of fatal car accidents involved marijuana use, there also was an addition in his evidence that mentioned: “Dr John Heyworth, past president of the British Association of Accident and Emergency Medicine, said increasing numbers of people who had taken various types of drugs were being treated following road traffic accidents, and other incidents. He said few people had taken cannabis alone - often it was combined with alcohol or other types of drugs, such as cocaine or speed. "Sometimes it is difficult to know whether a person's behaviour is linked to their injuries, or to the drugs they have taken," he said.”  This proves the evidence’s little scrutiny to lurking variables.
Objective Test: To point out my own failures, I hadn’t addressed the idea of an objective test in order to enforce marijuana DUI laws. According to my own rules, my failure to address an argument means an automatic concession to it. However, I’d also like to point out that my opponent hasn’t addressed the taxation argument that I made earlier either, meaning the automatic concession to the point. If there is no objective test as it stands now, the state could certainly attain sufficient funds in order to be able to do so with the revenue that it attains from the legalization of marijuana.
Inability to Legalize Marijuana: My opponent’s argument is that the state of Georgia would be incapable of legalizing marijuana because marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Not only does the legalization of recreational marijuana use in the states of Washington and Colorado in November 2012 and states where medical marijuana was legalized show that individual states have sufficient capacity to legalize marijuana if they wanted to, but a press statement from Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, proves that the federal government won’t enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have independently legalized it, of course, with a couple of perfectly reasonable conditions.  The counterargument would be that this would continue only as long as President Obama or a president with an equally progressive stance on marijuana has control of the White House. This only means then that the state of Georgia ought legalize marijuana with more haste as time would be limited if and only if a more conservative president takes the helm.
 Rooney, Katie. "Revoking Licenses Deters Drunk Driving." Time Magazine, July 25, 2007. http://content.time.com...... (accessed October 9, 2013)
 Reily, Ryan. "Eric Holder Says DOJ Will Let Washington, Colorado Marijuana Laws Go Into Effect." The Huffington Post, August 28, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com... (accessed October 12, 2013).
Link of Marijuana Use to Increased Risk of Auto Accident Fatalies and Injuries.
It is true that my sources did not elaborate on the methodology for accounting for lurking variables. However, the source is the National Institutes of Health, a respected scientific governmental organization, a source that certainly knows the proper methodology, even if they don't expand on it in the article. The purpose of the article was to report the findings of the study, not to describe the precise methodology.
Lack of an objective acute intoxication test.
Without an objective test for the acute intoxication level of marijuana, any DUI enforcement on marijuana is impossible. My opponent states that "If there is no objective test as it stands now, the state could certainly attain sufficient funds in order to be able to do so with the revenue that it attains from the legalization of marijuana." However, my opponent offers no timetable on how long this might take. In other words, how many children die on the scorching pavement of the State of Georgia before we can develope this test?
Inability to Legalize Marijuana.
My opponent says that Georgia should legalize marijuana quickly while there is an administration that will not enforce federal law. But what then? Regardless of when the law takes effect the Federal Government can, at any time in the future, decide to begin enforcement.
In my final response for this debate, I will respond to my opponent’s arguments from the previous round and conclude my portion of the debate with the reasons as to why the voters should consider me as the winner of the said debate.
Automobile Accidents/Opponent’s Evidence: Essentially what my opponent has conceded to is that there is a lack of methodology in both pieces of his evidence that corrects his data for any lurking variables. This alone shows that his evidence is unreliable because the data is skewed or misrepresented, in addition to finding contradictory findings, as I’ve pointed out earlier. My opponent says that the purpose of showing his evidence was to show on an organization’s findings, but those findings are moot without the methodology’s legitimization, meaning his evidence can’t be looked at. My opponent has made no arguments against my explanation as to why his evidence is contradictory, so it can only be assumed that my opponent conceded to this point as well. The only legitimization for the evidence that my opponent provides is that he says is an ad Authoritatum argument that it comes from the National Institutes of Health, as if they’re an exception to quality experimentation and survey analysis.
Objective DUI Test: It took time to make an objective test for alcohol DUIs, and it’ll take time in order to make an objective test for marijuana DUIs. However, rather than saying that there is no possibility for such a thing to be done, my opponent implies that an objective test can be created. There are ways that police officers can check for the use of other drugs, including marijuana, through an eye test , and while the objectiveness of such a test is questionable, it does mean that the creation of an objective test is a possibility. My opponent makes no arguments against the cost of making an objective test in order to determine DUIs, so I believe it to mean that he concedes to the idea that the funds from marijuana legalization could fund the creation of a test. My opponent talks about children dying on the streets of Georgia, something that I honestly find a bit of an exaggeration, especially considering he conceded to the point that legalization of marijuana won’t necessarily increase marijuana use or acquisition in adolescents, that he has provided no arguments against the idea that legalization would provide a more effective deterrent against the use of marijuana among adolescents, and that his data show that about 7% of fatal car accidents involve marijuana—many of them involving the use of other illegal substances or alcohol.
Possibility of Legalization: It’s impossible to say that individual states cannot legalize marijuana when two states have already done it for recreational purposes. Additionally, let’s remember that these states aren’t the only ones that have legalized marijuana if you include other states that legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, even Montana and New Mexico—two more conservative states that legalized marijuana during the incumbency of George W. Bush. A quicker legalization could at least secure some annual funds during the current Obama administration, but the general trend of marijuana laws shows an increasing possibility of reforms to the American status quo. In fact, the House of Representatives is currently under the process of reviewing a bill that would have federal agents respect state marijuana laws—proving the existence of the mentioned trend. “If passed, people who are in compliance with their state laws concerning marijuana will not be subject to federal penalty under the Controlled Substances Act. ‘This bipartisan bill represents a common-sense approach that establishes federal government respect for all states’ marijuana laws,’ Rohrabacher said in a prepared statement, ‘It does so by keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don’t want it to be criminal.’ With 21 states and Washington, D.C. already having approved medical marijuana, and two states already legal, along with the new poll which just came out showing 58% in support of legalization in Texas, it’s essentially a matter of when the federal government will reform its marijuana laws.” 
[Reasons to Vote Pro]
Proven Benefits Over Harms: Regardless of the amount of time spent on the automobiles argument, not only have I proven all of the other benefits to the state of Georgia from marijuana legalization, but my opponent has conceded to almost all of them. I’ve proven the monetary benefits of legalization, the better deterrence from legalization, and the reductions to crime, all of them providing a primarily positive outcome to legalization. Because I’ve proven a primarily positive outcome, I’ve proven that the state of Georgia ought legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Feasibility of Legalization: Considering the two states that had already legalized the recreational use of marijuana and the other states that have legalized the use for medicinal reasons, this alone proves that legalizing marijuana is feasible, and it helps show a pattern of changing drug policy. This was a bit of a deviation from the topic considering that we’re arguing whether or not a state should legalize marijuana rather if it can, but nevertheless, I’ve proven that it can.
Evidence: The evidence that I’ve provided is much more effective than my opponent’s. It’s coherent and adjusts for lurking variables, unlike my opponent’s evidence. Henceforth, my case is stronger because it’s grounded in better information.
For these reasons, I urge a Pro vote.
Due to work obligations I lack the time necessary to research a thoughtful response in the final round. I apologize to my opponent and concede this debate.
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