The Instigator
THEBOMB
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
mongeese
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

Resolved: the United States Government's War on Drugs should be continued in it's entirety

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
mongeese
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/29/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,771 times Debate No: 23934
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (56)
Votes (8)

 

THEBOMB

Pro

Pretty self explanatory. Pro will be arguing for the resolution, that the War on Drugs should be continued. Con will argue that the War on Drugs should be stopped.


The biggest term which must be defined is the War on Drugs. Pro and Con shall be limited to the domestic war on drugs.

As agreed upon (there is a more expanded definition in the comments):

"The War on Drugs here refers to the set of drug policies of the United States government that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of illegal psychoactive drugs."


If my opponent wishes, they may begin this round as they are advocating a major reform to the status quo. But, either way, burden of proof is shared.
mongeese

Con

Thank you, THEBOMB, for starting this debate as part of phantom's tournament.

I will start the debate with a single contention, although I will likely add more in the next round. For now, this will suffice:

1-. Unconstitutional

There is no provision in the United States Constitution that grants Congress the power to regulate drug production, intrastate drug trade or any drug usage. Therefore, the War on Drugs is for the most part unconstitutional, and should therefore not be continued.

I shall now allow my opponent to respond and form some contentions of his own. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
THEBOMB

Pro

I will start with my case. If I have room I will attack my opponent's.

C1. Drugs are unhealthy, legalizing will increase drug use

My opponent is asking the government to officially sanction something which can cause direct irreparable harm to the human body. Let's take a look at one drug my opponent wants to legalize Heroin. Heroine has both short term and long-term effects. In the short-term it suppresses the central nervous system causing "cloudy" mental function. Users breathe at a slower rate which can sometimes lead to respiratory failure. Long-term use can lead to the infection of the heart lining and valves, liver disease, kidney disease, pulmonary complications, skin infections, physical and mental dependency, and even death (1). The United States cannot tolerate the use of drugs, such as heroin, which cause this much damage to the human body. Furthermore, in the 1970s, Alaska and Oregon decriminalized the use of marijuana, in these states the use of marijuana doubled almost overnight (2). Drug use will go up if the United States legalizes all illegal drugs.

Marijuana is an extremely potent drug. According to Microbiologist Tom Klein of the University of South Florida, "it's [marijuana smoke] so toxic, you just get it near the immune system and [the immune system] dies." (2) The killing off of one's immune system is never good. It opens a person up to disease and other harmful side effects. A study in the "American Review of Respiratory Diseases found that marijuana smoke is as irritating as tobacco smoke"…furthermore…" mothers who smoke contribute to low birth weight and developmental problems for their children and increase the risk of abnormalities similar to those caused by fetal alcohol syndrome by as much as 500 percent." (1) The facts show marijuana is bad. Since "the 1970s there have been more than 10,500 scientific studies which demonstrate the adverse consequences of marijuana use" (2). Marijuana has tremendous adverse side effects. Why should the government sanction such a drug? In fact, according to drug czar Lee Brown drugs are more potent today than they were in the 1990s (2). There is more potential for danger.

Legalizing will increase drug use. Between 1979 and 1992, drug use was dropping exponentially. When Bill Clinton was elected president he slashed to office of Drug Control Policy by 80%, dropped the war on drugs from 3rd priority to 29th out of 29, and cut the number of ships and aircraft responsible for drug interdiction 50%. Drug use by children ages 12-17 increased 106% as a direct result. My opponent undoubtedly will mention Prohibition as a complete failure, but, as a public health standard it was a success. During Prohibition alcohol use declined 30-50%, deaths from cirrhosis fell, between 1911 and 1929, from 29.5 deaths to 10.7 deaths per 100,000, alcohol psychosis fell from 10.1 in 1919 to 4.7 per 100,000, suicides decreased 50%, and alcohol related arrests DROPPED 50%. Prohibition was an ACHIEVEMENT when it comes to the field of public health.

C2. The drug war has decreased drug use

The FY 2010 budget (as found in the National Drug Control Strategy) finds supply reduction efforts account for 9.9 billion while demand reduction accounts for 5.6 billion. Both parts are work together to decrease drug use. And overall, the strategy has worked. In 1979, the percentage of persons (12 and up) in the United States who used a drug in the past 30 days, was 14.1%. In 2009, this number was down to 8.7%. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes reports opioid use is down 80% in the last century. Drug control strategies do work, and non-control leads to a potential 51.9% of Americans using these now illegal drugs. (6)

C3. Legalizing will increase crime

If drugs were to be legalized, naturally the government would regulate and tax the creation and selling of these drugs. This means the price would increase substantially. A 10% increase in the price of heroin correlates with "an increase of 3.1 percent total property crimes in poor nonwhite neighborhoods." Armed robbery jumped 6.4 percent and simple assault by 5.6 percent." (3) If the price increases crime increases, and the price will increase if the government is allowed to tax drugs. Just look at what happened. In 1976, California decriminalized the use of marijuana, arrests for DUIs rose 46% for adults and 71.4% for minors (2). Patrick Murphy, a court appointed lawyer for 31,000 abused children in Chicago stated "more than 80 percent of the cases of physical and sexual abuse of children…involve drugs. There is NO evidence that legalizing drugs will reduce these crimes, and … [drug legalization] would worsen the problem" (2). The United States government should not legalize something which could cause more abuse. Furthermore, "even if drugs were legalized some restrictions still would be necessary…restricting the sale of legalized drugs to minors, pregnant women, police, military, pilots and prisoners…would still provide a black market niche. Pro-legalizers contend th[e] government could tax drugs…off-setting the social costs of abuse. But, history proves that efforts to tax imported drugs…CREATE[s] a black market. Earlier this century Chinese syndicates smuggled legal opium into [the United States] to avoid tariffs." (2) Drugs will not reduce crime but, will in fact increase crime. You will have a black market no matter what you do.

C4. Legalizing Drugs violates international law

The United States was present at the Single Convention on Narcotics. This was an international treaty to PROHIBIT the production and supply of drugs. The United States signed this treaty along with 180 other countries. (4) Later, the United States signed another treaty known as the Convention on Psychotropic Substances; this prohibits the production of drugs such as LSD and Ecstasy. (5) The United States cannot simply legalize drugs because doing so violates several treaties with foreign powers. Should the United States violate international law for nothing but detrimental effects? No. By being a party to this treaty, the United States has an obligation to uphold the treaty.

Contention 5. Prison population

According to "Princeton University Professor John Dilulio […] only 2 percent of those in federal prisons were convicted of pure drug possession. They generally committed other and violent crimes to earn a sentence." Furthermore, "70 percent of current inmates were on illegal drugs when arrested and, if drugs become cheaper, violent crime could reasonably be expected to increase" (2). A main argument for drug legalization is that it will decrease prison populations, but my opponent wishes to INCREASE prison populations. How can this be a good thing? There already is a severe problem with prison overcrowding in the United States. My opponent proposes to increase the people these already crowded prisons.

C6. Would not end illegal trafficking or any violence

The United States would regulate drugs and make it more difficult and more expensive for people to obtain them. Those excluded will turn to the black market. The United States will not destroy the black market, rather the United States would force the black market to change its "focus group". Instead of selling and trying to say get college students to buy drugs they would change and attempt to sell drugs mainly to younger children. Even if you accept the argument that it would destroy the black market let's think of it another way why not legalize robbery? Then robbers do not have to sneak around and maybe harm someone because they are scared. This would reduce deaths. This is ridiculous.

Out of room

1. http://alcoholism.about.com...
2. http://www.sarnia.com...
3. http://www.bmstahoe.com...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
6. http://www.ibhinc.org...
mongeese

Con

Thank you, THEBOMB, for your response. I extend my first contention, which went unquestioned.

1+. Unhealthy

My opponent claims that because illegal drugs are unhealthy, government must ban their production and use. However, it is not a valid role of government to protect us from bad choices; government serves to ensure that our rights to life, liberty, and pursuit happiness are not infringed upon by others [1]. If people which to eat unhealthy cheeseburgers, such is their choice. If they wish to drink unhealthy alcoholic beverages, it is their choice. If they wish to smoke, it is their choice, so long as they take precautions against the smoke. And so, if they wish to use marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or whatever else, it is their choice.

Additionally, my opponent exaggerates the dangers of illegal drugs relative to currently legal drugs. Alcohol is considerably more dangerous than marijuana in almost all respects [2]. In fact, teens are currently choosing marijuana over alcohol and cigarettes; making marijuana illegal leads to more users of worse drugs [3].

2+. Decreased Use (I combine this with 1+'s point about dropped use)

My opponent is using many data points that are great lengths of time apart and concluding that any changes resulted from government policies, but this is a blatant case of assuming that correlation means causation. Drug use changes in response to a large number of things; a graph showing drug use over time would be infinitely more useful.

Furthermore, when it comes to prohibition, we don't have all the facts. Because alcohol use was largely underground, we can't truly know just how much damage alcohol was doing.

We should also look at the effects of legalization in other countries. In Portugal, for example, drug legalization lead to a major decrease in drug use over the course of ten years [7].

3+. Crime

To continue from the Prohibition, it lead to the rise of organized crime, such as Al Capone [4]. In the same vein, many gangs today draw large chunks of their revenue from the illegal drug trade [5]. Ending the drug war would allow law-abiding businesses to enter the drug market and sell drugs at a much lower price, using the courts to settle disputes instead of guns, and gang influence and violence would drop tremendously [Video 1].

Just look at this quote from an undercover narcotics officer:
"I learned that not only did they not fear our war on drugs, they counted on it to increase the market price and to weed out the smaller, inefficient drug dealers. They found U.S. interdiction efforts laughable. The only U.S. action they feared was an effective demand reduction program. On one undercover tape-recorded conversation, a top cartel chief, Jorge Roman, expressed his gratitude for the drug war, calling it 'a sham put on for the American taxpayer' that was actually 'good for business'" [8].

The legalization itself will drop prices from the inflated black market prices, and the tax would not fully counteract that drop, so by my opponent's own contention, violence would drop "substantially." I acknowledge that DUIs, not violent crimes, would increase for marijuana, but marijuana has relatively no effect on driving skills compared to alcohol [6], so I would consider this a success.

Regarding Patrick Murphy's quote, the most common drug that leads to abuse is alcohol, and it is currently legal. Few other drugs compare in their ability to incite violence. As for his claim about legalization, both my and my opponent's contentions prove him simply wrong.

Finally, my opponent claims that even after legalization, black markets would develop. For one thing, a small black market is preferable to a very large black market. It is much easier to regulate an open market than a black market, but people will prefer the open market anyway because of the legal protections involved. Smuggling is expensive, and as long as the taxes and tariffs aren't astronomical, and our anti-smuggling security is at least decent, drugs will not be smuggled in. It's simple economics.

4+. International law

Those treaties ask Congress to pass unconstitutional laws. In all cases, the Constitution must trump treaties. It was never right for Congress to enter those treaties in the first place; they had no vested authority to carry out the actions required. To preserve the Constitution, the United States must bow out and exit the treaty. The government's responsibility to its own people is far more important.

5+. Prison population

My opponent has already pointed out that rising drug prices leads to higher crime, so he may not just turn around and say that lowering drug prices would have the same effect. Lower prices will decrease crime. Regarding the illegal drugs used by those arrested, I can't respond to this properly until I know which illegal drugs those were.

My opponent claims that the end result would be more prisoners, but the opposite is true. With lower prices, fewer people would commit crimes for drug money, and children would no longer be caught up in the drug money of the gangs and cartels. Additionally, there would be no legal problems for people who voluntarily submit themselves to rehab and admit drug ownership so that they may actually be helped.

6+. Trafficking

Again, my opponent claims that legalization would increase the price of drugs and make it more difficult to access drugs, which is almost laughably wrong on both accounts. There are currently already black markets focused on everybody, including children. However, children are not much of a market compared to the rest of the economy. Eliminating the rest of the black market would still cut down tremendously on black market activity, as people would buy their drugs in legal markets through proper economic channels.

My opponent's analogy to robbery is flawed. Drug use is a victimless crime, while robbery is not. A legal drug market would involve completely voluntary exchanges in which no rights are harmed. A legal robbery market would require people to volunteer their houses to be robbed; that would get nowhere fast.

In conclusion, the current War on Drugs primarily serves to curtail our rights as Americans and provide ample opportunities for drug gangs to rake in extreme profits while inciting violence, all in the name of keeping us safe from ourselves. I say, good riddance.

Good luck with your response, THEBOMB.

1. The Declaration of Independence
2. http://www.saferchoice.org...
3. http://www.saferchoice.org...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://www.naturalnews.com...
6. http://norml.org...
7. http://www.forbes.com...
8. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
THEBOMB

Pro

Rebut:

Gonzales v Raich held that "the power of Congress to regulate local activities as part of a "class of activities" that substantially affect interstate commerce was "well established." The Court continued holding that "doctor-prescribed marijuana has a significant impact on…the supply and demand for black market marijuana, which was…within the power of the federal government to regulate." Congress has the power to regulate local activities that impact the supply and demand for black market drugs. Congress, under the Supreme Court, has the power to regulate ANY activities that affect interstate commerce. (1) The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act. Justice Scalia, held "Congress has the power to regulate "intrastate activities that do not…substantially affect interstate commerce, if necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective." Because marijuana is a "fungible commodity," Congress power to control interstate drug trafficking provides sufficient basis to criminalize smoking home-grown weed pursuant to a doctor's prescription" so long as such activities are regulated "in connection with a more comprehensive scheme of regulation." (2) The War on Drugs is constitutional.

1.Unhealthy

My opponent's opposition here is the United States government does not have the role to protect people from bad choices. Civil servants take an oath to protect and defend the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Drugs and alcohol represent a domestic enemy. Government ensures that we are safe. When delegating power to a central authority, the people are giving up their right of self defense. Under the social contract, one gives up certain rights to form a stable society, one of your duties as being a member of society is to, in certain cases, give up your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. "It is important to recognize that although individuals have a right of self-defense in the state of nature, when they enter into society under the social contract, the pooling of that right transforms it into a duty to defend the community…to risk or sacrifice one's life, liberty, or property if such defense should require it" (4). Widespread drug use and drug production destabilizes society, "the emergence of a drug economy can result in the destabilization of the state, the political system, the economy and civil society." (5) To preserve society, under the social contract, one MUST be willing to give up their right to harm themselves for the preservation of society. Either that, or drug users must remove themselves from society. Since many people are unwilling to perform their societal duty; the government holds the responsibility of preserving society and illegalizing drugs to preserve the state, which, in the end, benefits all of us.

I would like to point out my opponent completely dropped all of the points I made showing how marijuana and other drugs are extremely harmful. They came from scientists who have worked with these drugs. I also would like to point out how my opponent is simply saying just because X and Y are legal A, B, C, etc. should be legal to. All have harmful side effects, "60 percent of schizophrenic patients used non-prescription psychoactive drugs…Alcohol has an addiction rate of 10 percent, whereas cocaine has an addiction rate as high as 75 percent…marijuana smoke is as irritating as tobacco smoke" (3). They both are dangerous. So, why should we legalize more dangerous substances?

2. Decreased use (plus legal = increased use)

"My opponent is using many data points that are great lengths of time apart…"

I showed how the drug policy in the Clinton era (from 1992 to 2000) increased in children aged 12 - 17. Is my opponent attempting to argue the fact that such a drastic drop in drug interdiction spending would not have an effect on drug use? Furthermore, I would like to point out, my opponent has provided no counter claims, simply saying that something which directly affects drug supply would not affect drug use is ridiculous. The points I provided were a high point (14.1%) and a low point (8.7%). So, all other data points would be between 14.1% and 8.7%, thus, we can naturally assume, drug use is trending downwards. Once again, is my opponent suggesting policy which directly deals with drug use, would not affect drug use? I already provided worldwide statistics.

"when it comes to prohibition, we don't have all the facts"

I gave facts. They have not been refuted. Deaths due to alcohol and alcohol use were down. I provided a source, which contained information from a book by Dr. Mark Gold.

"legalization in other countries…"

1) different countries have different cultures. Portuguese culture is radically different from American culture so we cannot use this as definitive proof. 2) Portugal never legalized, they merely decriminalized. This would be a reform in the War on Drugs, not an end of the War on Drugs. Thus, it is outside the scope of this debate.

3. Crime

Even if legalization ends external crime (cartels) internal crime will still exist. As for DUIs, my opponent, concedes this point and says it does not affect driving but, according to the LA Times "People who smoke marijuana within a few hours of getting behind the wheel may be almost twice as likely to cause an accident" (6)

Now, let's say you somehow end the cartels "the Justice Department reports that most inmates (77.4 percent male and 83.6 percent female) have a drug history and the majority were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their current offense…12 percent of all violent offenses and 24.4 percent of all property offenses were drug-money motivated" (3). It is clear that unless the government gives out free drugs, people will still commit crimes to gain access to these drugs. And even then, "Free drugs or legalizing bad drugs would not make criminal addicts into productive citizens" (3).

My opponent goes on to say, "The legalization itself will drop prices from the inflated black market prices, and the tax would not fully counteract that drop". 1) Prove it. How does my opponent know the taxation will not counteract the drop? They simply cannot. 2) The "legalization of drugs will cost society between $140-210 billion a year…the societal cost of substance abuse…$238 billion…insurance companies would pass on accident expenses" (3). Socially, it will cost much, much more to legalize. "The revenue from such taxation [will not] offset the social and medical costs these illicit drugs would impose" (3). Will taxes be raised to counteract? My opponent's argument is unfounded. You are also going to increase societal costs.

"Patrick Murphy's quote"

I ask my opponent to provide some source backing up their claims. And to also show exactly how my arguments prove him wrong. One cannot not definitively know the connection between alcohol and abuse "further research is needed." (7) Mr. Murphy was referring to ILLEGAL DRUGS (8).

4.Treaties

It is not unconstitutional. See above arguments.

5.Prison Population

My opponent has provided no basis that prices will drop. And it is irrelevant what they were using as my opponent is advocating blanket legalization. My point still stands, "only 2 percent of those in federal prisons were convicted of pure drug possession. They generally committed other and violent crimes to earn a sentence" (3). People are not just in jail for using drugs. My opponent still has provided no basis that there would be lower costs and thus, lower crimes.

6. Trafficking

As I quoted above, "if drugs were legalized some restrictions still would be necessary…restricting the sale of legalized drugs to minors, pregnant women, police, military, pilots and prisoners…would still provide a black market niche" (3). You are going to have excluded groups, the cartels will be active. My opponent has failed to provide a source for many of his arguments here.

NEED MORE ROOM!
mongeese

Con

Thank you, THEBOMB, for your response.

1-. Unconstitutional

"Gonzales v. Raich" was a 6-3 opinion, giving me plenty of room for argument. The Constitution specifically allows Congress to regulate trade "among the several states," and to extend this power to anything that may affect interstate commerce is to mock the idea of limited government upon which the federal government was founded. Prohibition required the 18th Amendment to authorize Congress to engage in a war against alcohol, and the War on Drugs requires the same. Congress's goal isn't even really to prevent interstate commerce, but to prevent the use of particular drugs by everybody, and to prevent a state from legalizing the growth and use of any drug just because a small part of it would spill over into other states and would make the job that they undertook a little more difficult is simply tyranny.

1+. Unhealthy

It seems desperate to have to classify inanimate objects as enemies; drugs don't even fit any dictionary definitions of the word [9]. My opponent brings up the social contract, but the social contract exists to protect people's natural rights, which include the rights to liberty and property, which most definitely encompass drug use. He claims that a drug economy would destabilize America, but we already have large drug economies with legalized alcohol and tobacco, and society remains stable. My opponent is acting alarmist to a threat that simply does not exist, and trying to use it to justify government intervention into the lives of the American people.

I acknowledged that drugs are harmful, but pointed out the right of the people to use drugs anyway. I should add that nicotine is just as addictive as cocaine, if not more so [10], and yet the tobacco industry isn't destroying America. If my opponent feels that beer and cigarettes are so dangerous, why isn't he pushing for a renewed Prohibition?

2+. Decreased use

With so few data points provided by my opponent, we have no idea how variable drug usage is in America. It may be full of peaks and troughs as drug culture changes; if there was a spike of drug use in 1995 and a sudden drop in 1999, suggesting little correlation with drug policy, my opponent's chosen data would not reflect that. In any analysis, graphs are infinitely more useful than endpoints. He assumes that he provided the high point and low point with no evidence. I'm calling statistical shenanigans. It's an insult to science to pretend that we can conclude anything from such limited information.

My opponent again claims that alcohol deaths and use were down during Prohibition, but during Prohibition, the entire drinking scene went underground. Many people drank and died in secret, with nobody to collect their data for analysis. If a counter-source is desired to the book that my opponent actually didn't cite, though, I have this: [11].

It is true that Portuguese culture is not American culture, but what about the culture differences of the two countries could possibly lead decriminalization to have such drastically different effects on different areas? I'm all ears. My opponent falsely claims that decriminalization is outside the scope of this debate. He is affirming that the War on Drugs be continued in its entirety; as long as I establish a single tenant of the War that should be scaled back, reduced in scope, or eliminated entirely, the resolution is negated.

3+. Crime

My opponent dismisses the elimination of cartels as if it were nothing, although I'd like to think that eliminating drug cartels would make just about everybody better off, especially those living in gang areas. Driving under the influence may be dangerous, but it's hardly a new thing; we already have drunk driving problems, but the solution isn't to ban alcohol, as many townships discovered as they tried to interfere with the policies of their local bars [12].

My opponent provides some Justice Department data linking drug use and crime, but correlation is not causation. I should also add that the report specifically groups alcohol with drugs, and the War on Drugs does nothing to stop alcohol abuse. Many crimes are committed for drug money, but people don't commit crimes to get their beer and cigarettes, because those are legal and cheap. Drug legalization would significantly decrease the crime problem. Sure, the drug users won't be very productive while high, but it's preferable to them being in jail. Drug legalization would also make seeking treatment more socially acceptable, as people would not have to admit to a crime to seek help.

Regarding the price drop, my opponent reasonably asks for proof, and I reasonably give it: the price of marijuana would drop by about 90% after legalization by eliminating the high mark-ups of smuggling, with a relatively tiny tax increase in response [13]. He also point out the costs of legalization, but people have the right to do what they want with their health, and take responsibility for their own damages. If people aren't working because they are high, such is their choice. This is a matter of economic analysis of opportunity cost. If someone would rather have the pleasure of drug use than money from working, what right do you have to intervene?

A JAMA report cited here states that "[n]inety-two percent of the domestic abuse assailants reported use of alcohol or other drugs on the day of the assault" [14]. Note the inclusion of alcohol. My opponent cites a study claiming that further research is needed for a connection between alcohol and child abuse, but the full paragraph states that "several studies have indicated that parental alcohol abuse may increase a child's risk of experiencing physical or sexual abuse, either by a family member or by another person. Furthermore, researchers have proposed several hypotheses regarding the mechanisms through which parental alcohol abuse might contribute to the abuse or neglect of children."
Clearly, a connection is at least suggested, with more evidence than one for any other drug.

Meanwhile, my opponent falsely claims that Patrick Murphy was referring to illegal drugs, providing no quote to support himself. The article that mentions Murphy is cited numerous times on the internet, and not a single instance bothered to specify "illegal drugs," for good reason.

4+. Treaties

I have sufficiently argued that the War on Drugs is indeed unconstitutional as my primary contention.

5+. Prison Population

This is mostly a rehash of previous contentions that I have already refuted. My opponent still will not specify the illegal drugs involved, assuming them to be irrelevant, but they are not. I may advocate blanket legalization, but as long as I can demonstrate that a single illegal drug should indeed be legal, the resolution is negated.

6+. Trafficking

I have already pointed out that these niche markets are so small that drug cartels would no longer be profitable, and instead very small drug rings will emerge. These will be much less dangerous than the cartels; ultimately, the world would be safer. It seems that my opponent will not accept anything short of complete elimination of a drug problem before accepting drug legalization, but this is an irrational view. No action solves all problems, but we can solve as much of them as we can.

I sourced all claims where necessary; most of my claims were simply common knowledge or syllogistic.

I believe my previous conclusion still stands just as well as before. Back to you, THEBOMB. Try to keep your sources in the debate itself this time.

9. http://dictionary.reference.com...
10. http://www.drugfree.org...
11. http://library.thinkquest.org...
12. http://pdfcast.org...
13. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
14. http://alcoholism.about.com...
Debate Round No. 3
THEBOMB

Pro

Thank you for the response. And thank you for this debate!

1.Constitutionality

Whether Gonzales v Raich was 6-3 decision or a 9-0 decision is quite irrelevant. By the majority decision of the entity which interprets the constitution, the drug war is completely constitutional or legal. This is how it was interpreted by the majority of the court. Furthermore, I see no reference in my opponent's case to the dissenting opinion of the court, therefore, the expert opinion of Justice Scalia must be held over my opponent's own analysis. Congress has complete authority, under the constitution, to wage a drug war.

2.Unhealthy

Why can't an inanimate object be an enemy?

People have the right to perform an action as long as it does not pose a threat to society as a whole (conceded). Drugs pose a threat, namely a long-term threat, to society as a whole (United Nations). I mean if my opponent believes drugs do not pose a threat, they should have been able to back up their opinion. I also would like to point out that the source I referenced clearly was talking about illicit drugs. My opponent is taking the passage I provided out of context to suit their own needs. The way I referenced the passage was clearly in context. Even so, simply stating that because X has not caused harm yet, means that X will never cause harm when all the evidence points to the conclusion that X will cause harm in the future, does not give a warrant for allowing X (X being a placeholder for illegal drugs.) Furthermore, it is impossible to see the effects of X being legalized because…they are not legalized, why take the risk when all of the evidence provided here points towards a society becoming destabilized as a result?

As for nicotine being more addictive, my opponent cites an article which merely says more people are being addicted to nicotine, no where does it say nicotine is more addictive. Therefore, my point stands. And who says I'm not pushing for a renewed Prohibition?

3.Decreased Use

I provided more data points, the Bill Clinton presidency, for example (2 more data points in the middle of the trend). This was a major shift away from pre-Clinton era drug policy, drug use went up. But, even so, the overall trend is down. No matter which way you put it, from 1979 to today, less people are using drugs today then in 1979 (percentage wise). (1)

As for prohibition, here my opponent is expecting us to believe that someone who is slowly dying of a disease would not seek any medical attention. Even someone today, who ODs on a drug would seek medical attention. Then my opponent provides a source with no analysis of that source.

Now as for US and Portugal cultural differences, first, the Portuguese economy is probably worse than the United States economy right now. Second, technological use is slow going, the technology level between US and Portugal is huge (around 30 or so years ago Portugal was a dictatorship). Third, Portugal was a dictatorship 30 or so years ago (slows progression some). Fourth, it is mostly Catholic. Fifth, much, much higher taxes. (2, 3) You cannot use Portugal as a valid basis for what would happen in the United States. Under that logic, Portugal should not of decriminalized because of Switzerland's, Britain, Sweden and the Netherland's failure's with experimenting with drug legalization (4). We cannot use other countries as a valid basis of what would happen in the United States as the effects are widespread even just across Europe.

4.Crime

I clearly stated that drug cartels would still exist. Just aimed towards different people.

My opponent has conceded all the evidence that 1) when marijuana was decriminalized in the United States DUIs increase and 2) marijuana increases risks of crashes. Basically, in other words, my opponent has conceded this point. The roads being much more dangerous affects more people than drug cartels.

Considering we have seen no third variable here, correlation does equal causation until provided another variable. The report said both alcohol and drugs cause crime, also, as the report said, simply using the substance increases crime. More users, more crime. People do commit crimes to get their beer, people STEAL it all the time. There's even a police brochure about it (5). My opponent concedes all of my economic points, and as I pointed out above (Social Contract) a person has the obligation to give up some freedoms they have for the greater good. If they refuse to give up their freedoms then the government has the responsibility to do so. The overall economy is the greater good.

As for this next point, people have the right to do what they want as long as it does not interfere with overall society (in a negative way). This quite obviously does, with medical, lost productivity, etc. The government has the right to interfere because it has the responsibility to enforce the social contract, seeing how drug users are not doing it themselves.

Even if we include alcohol, how does this negate my point? Domestic abuse is linked to drugs, that's enough to not legalize.

5.Treaties

My opponent has proven no such thing.

6.Prison populations

Most people are still in prison not just for drug possession but other crimes. Considering my opponent has never provided anything else we should use, the point still stands, more crime leads to higher prison population. If crime increases because of drugs, then, prison populations rise.

7.Trafficking

Actually, it could still be profitable. If the excluded group is anyone 21 and under, you still have the majority of people needing to go through back channels. 18 and under almost the same story. The excluded groups.

1. http://www.policyalmanac.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://movingtoportugal.org...
4. http://www.sarnia.com...
5. http://www.mesaaz.gov...
mongeese

Con

Thank you, THEBOMB, for your response.

1-. Unconstitutional

The majority of the court is not always right. I need point no further than Plessey v. Ferguson or Twining v. New Jersey. Therefore, the constitutional interpretation for this debate must be, as it should be, up for debate. My opponent and I have both stated our cases. My opponent claims that because my claims have no basis in the dissenting opinions, it must inherently lose, although this is a fallacy by appeal to authority, as my arguments were written based on the dissenting opinions of Justices O'Connor and Thomas [15], although they were no less correct before. To summarize my contention, Congress has no power via the Constitution to regulate personal activities, and have no right to preserve the principles of federalism and limited government.

1+. Unhealthy

Inanimate objects cannot be enemies by definition [9].

My opponent never established drugs to be a "threat" to society. He claimed that drug use could destabilize society, although both legal and illegal drugs are already being used, and society still stands with stability. My opponent claims that for some unknown reason, illegal drugs would be more dangerous, although he gives no explanation for this distinction. The point is, most illegal drugs are no worse than legal drugs, and should be allowed by the government. My study said that nicotine is about 75% addictive, matching my opponent's cocaine study.

My opponent seems rather ambiguous about Prohibition. It seems that he believes that alcohol and nicotine should be illegal, although he isn't willing to actually make an argument against them, although he is perfectly willing to for already illegal drugs, suggesting that my opponent is not opposed to the drugs as much as he is opposed to change.

2+. Decreased use

The data table to which my opponent linked suggests that drug use fluctuates in various age groups much more than he lets on. Claiming that decreased drug use today is due to government intervention is like claiming that the sun rose into the sky between 6:00 and noon because you woke up.

Back to Prohibition, medical care was much different back in the 1920s. People did not have cell phones to quickly contact emergency medical care, and quite likely could not because they were drunk while dying. Additionally, a speakeasy wouldn't want to report an alcohol-related death on its premises to the authorities, with quite a conflict of interest.

My source indicated that alcohol use actually went up during Prohibition, contrary to my opponent's claims. My opponent claimed to have gotten his information from a book, although he did not even bother to provide the book's title or the actual data.

My opponent lists quite a few cultural differences between America and Portugal, but I cannot even begin to guess why any of these would cause the two countries to respond to drug legalization in completely opposite ways.

My opponent points to failures in drug policy of other European countries, but he uses a source with 1994 data, and doesn't even provide that data. I will provide better sources that actually give evidence for the opposite with more recent data.
Switzerland: http://www.reuters.com... (2010)
"Switzerland's innovative policy of providing drug addicts with free methadone and clean needles has greatly reduced deaths while cutting crime rates and should serve as a global model, health experts said..."
Britain: http://www.guardian.co.uk... (2011)
"But in the UK we have already seen that health-led approaches, such as heroin treatment centres, have better outcomes than criminalising approaches."
Sweden: http://www.unodc.org... (2007) <- official United Nations paper
"'[B]ased on available information on trends in drug misuse there are no clear indications that criminalization and an increased severity of punishment has had a deterrent effect on the drug habits of young people or that new recruitment to drug misuse has been halted.' On the contrary, the Council found that drug experimentation among young people, increased throughout the 1990s, a trend, which was similar in Sweden to that in other countries."
Netherlands: http://www1.ucsc.edu... (2004)
"Dutch drug policies do not increase marijuana use, first rigorous comparative study finds"

In every case, the softer approaches are more effective than the harder ones, the United States' War on Drugs being one of the hardest policies out there. Clearly, we need change.

3+. Crime

Cartels organized for only kids and pregnant women would be insignificant compared to their current form, no joke.

Note that my opponent conceded that legalization would drop prices, which would decrease crime.

While marijuana DUI's may have gone up, my opponent has not contended that marijuana legalization would decrease alcohol use or that alcohol is more dangerous on the road than marijuana, so the policy is quite likely better for the road. Even if it didn't, my opponent exaggerates the issue; the roads wouldn't become "much more dangerous," and while roads affect more people, drug cartels do significantly more damage to those that they do affect.

My opponent claims that "considering we have seen no third variable here, correlation does equal causation until provided another variable," although there may easily be a lurking variable [16]. Perhaps criminals who are already breaking the law also tend to use illegal drugs in rebelling against the state? The report never said that using the substance increased crime; my opponent merely inferred that with his poor experience in statistics.

Regarding beer theft, the brochure does not at all suggest that beer is stolen more often than other items. It's definitely not an epidemic, like theft for illegal drug money.

My opponent falsely claims that "the overall economy is the greater good." I'd say that well-being is more important, and that can't always be measured in money. If people prefer being high to being rich, you have no right to tell them otherwise, and people have no obligation to work for any more than they need. Individuals pay for their own medical bills, and people have the right to their own productivity, and hurt themselves when they don't produce; government can't tell them that they must produce more.

My opponent claims that because "domestic abuse is linked to drugs, that's enough to not legalize." There's no evidence that any drug besides alcohol actually causes domestic abuse (and certainly not all drugs do), and even then, the claim is ridiculous. Shared living quarters are linked to domestic abuse, too; should we criminalize those, too?

4+. Treaties

See "Unconstitutional."

5+. Prison populations

See "Crime."

6+. Trafficking

It is true that if the legal drug age use age is set to 18, then children would still participate in the black market. However, as I pointed out, they're children, the weakest demographic economically in the entire nation. The majority of trafficking would be destroyed, putting this contention in my favor.

In conclusion, I have established that the War on Drugs is unconstitutional. I have established that a drug's negative side effects are not enough to justify criminalization; see alcohol and nicotine. I have provided evidence of decriminalization working in other countries, and harsher measures that imitate our own failing. I have provided evidence that our actions do not inhibit drug use but instead empower the cartels; in fact, it is "good for business" for them. The War of Drugs must be fundamentally weakened, especially regarding weaker drugs.

Thank you, THEBOMB, for this debate. I hope you've learned something from this. I sure have!

15. http://en.wikipedia.org...
16. http://www.stat.berkeley.edu...
Debate Round No. 4
56 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Now that I am undecided I will comment.

The only way for a marijuana tax to make it the same as it is now is a rate of 400%, the rate needed to fulfill NORMLS economic benefit is a 100% tax. Both are unrealistic.
Posted by mongeese 4 years ago
mongeese
What do you mean, "didn't influence the vote"? You're only supposed to consider the specific points that were brought up in the debate, nothing more, nothing less. What argument could you write an entire RFD for, exactly?
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Why should I not add PDF files and other points that didn't influence the vote? I could write an rfd based on wholly that argument, if you want.
Posted by mongeese 4 years ago
mongeese
You mentioned education, a sub-set of culture that Pro completely ignored. If I say, "Science proves my point to be right," that does not entitle the voters to insert whatever scientific arguments they want in defense of their votes. If Pro had specifically mentioned education, and what was different in the education of the two populations, and why it would cause a difference in reaction to drug laws, and I had the opportunity to refute his point, there'd be no problem. Instead, there is a problem.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Mongeese I mentioned culture, a point emphasized by pro.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
Much of the debate revolved around the Constitutionality of the drug war. I thought Con brought up a good point about whether or not it adhered to the Constitution which Pro only responded to with appeals to authority. Con correctly pointed out that the majority opinion is not always right and the argument should be based on its merits, not its lining up with official opinion. Plessy v Fergusson was a sufficient example of this.

Legalization decreasing the power of cartels was also a strong point in favor of Con. While Pro's refutation was correct in a sense in that black markets don't disappear, they just change size and fluctuate. However, Con successfully showed that legalization for adults would drastically decrease the size of black drug markets. Completely eliminating them was never the actual intent, just a large reduction. Arguments to Con.
Posted by mongeese 4 years ago
mongeese
"Remember, the basis for decision should NOT include opinions held you, but not mentioned by the debaters."

http://www.debate.org...
Posted by mongeese 4 years ago
mongeese
And now, 16kadams, it seems that you're inserting your own arguments into the debate. If I never had a chance to refute those arguments, how is it fair for them to be used in voting?
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
Since CP countered my counter, I'll just leave it so the voting doesnt get even more skewed.
Posted by THEBOMB 4 years ago
THEBOMB
sorry thett*
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: My counter was unneeded, my bad. I'll leave the vote up though since CP already evened it out...
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 4 years ago
ConservativePolitico
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Reasons for voting decision: 16k's vote was justified in the comments so countering thett's now unneeded counter.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I dunno if most of you know me well enough to know, I like facts. Pro gave more which tilted my vote a little
Vote Placed by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
ScottyDouglas
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Reasons for voting decision: Very good debate! I think Pro displayed better arguements and was more convinced by them. Con had more resources.
Vote Placed by TUF 4 years ago
TUF
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by TheOrator 4 years ago
TheOrator
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate. I think that the arguments went to con because he was arguing more on a point about why the government shouldn't do it, and the Pro was arguing on the point that drugs are bad (mmkay). Although no one was saying that sticking heroin in your arm is a good thing, the fact that it was proven that the US government should not intervene won Con the arguments.
Vote Placed by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
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Reasons for voting decision: Will put RFD into comments section.