The Instigator
B_A
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
hiroki01
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points

Should Marijuana Be Legalized For Recreation Use Throughout the United States?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
hiroki01
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 894 times Debate No: 43617
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

B_A

Con

To begin I am very much against regulations on citizens because they have the choice to do whatever substance they want.

Lets start first with a plausible after effect of the legalization.

If marijuana is to be legalized there will be an actual increase in crime and poverty.

If marijuana is legal than the distribution of marijuana through drug cartels and dealers would diminish. Where there is drug dealing there is violence, simply put. Just because marijuana is taken away doesn't mean violence is all of a sudden slowed down. In fact those drug dealers that were mainly dealing pot may now start dealing the more hardcore drugs. Drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, and heroine cost much more, which means the dealer is much more invested and willing to act if something goes wrong.

The poverty side where people become addict to it. I know marijuana, the substance itself, is not addictive but the high and euphoric feeling is. Just as people blow their money on alcohol, they are going to do the same with marijuana. For people that were afraid of trying marijuana before because of it being illegal may become more turned on to it through the legality of it.
hiroki01

Pro

I thank Con for setting up the debate, and look forward to an engaging and civil debate.

As the “Pro” in this debate, I will argue for the resolution that “Marijuana should be legalized for recreation use throughout the United States.”

Con opens his argument by writing, “To begin I am very much against regulations on citizens because they have the choice to do whatever substance they want.” I am deeply perplexed by how his strident belief in the self-ownership of individuals can be reconciled with his stance that Marijuana should be criminalized in the entire country. He claims, on one hand, that citizens have the “choice” to do whatever to want (to their own body), yet advocates proactive legal intervention for people who choose to use Marijuana recreationally out of their free will. There is a clear contradiction in these two sets of belief simultaneously held by Con.

Next, Con outlines two potential objections to the legalization of Marijuana which I call, for the sake of reference, the “argument from crime” and “argument from poverty”. I will show how these two sets of arguments are deeply flawed.


Re: Argument from Crime

Con’s argument from crime begins with a point that’s hugely supportive of my case. He suggests that “if marijuana is legal than the distribution of marijuana through drug cartels and dealers would diminish”. I agree, and that’s *clearly* a point in the favour of the legalization of marijuana, since it would in fact *lower* crime rates. With legalization, anyone who wants to procure the drug for recreational use can overtly do so without having to do so exclusively through drug cartels. Consequently, violent crimes associated with these groups will necessarily be lowered.

Surprisingly, Con continues by asserting that the “crime problem” would exacerbate owing to how these cartels will “start dealing the more hardcore drugs.” Firstly, this is a bare assertion without any evidence, and is nothing more than an unfounded assumption on Con’s part. Secondly, if cartels had wanted to deal in more “hardcore” drugs, they could have done so regardless if Marijuana was legalized. In both cases, Con’s argument here quickly falls apart and is clearly irrelevant to the resolution.


Re: Argument from Poverty

Con’s line of argument here goes along the lines of “Marijuana is addictive, like alcohol; therefore people will recklessly spend their money on it and poverty will reign.”

There are two main problems with such an argument. Given Con’s belief in the self-ownership of individuals, I’m surprised he has overlooked the importance of individual agency in such scenarios. If someone wants to spend his entire family fortune abusing alcohol for instance, that is entirely his choice as a free agent, and the law has no right to intervene by telling him how to spend his money. Additionally, a lot of “addictive” ways to spend your money are in fact legal. I can name a few: alcohol, gambling, and even video games. It would be absurd to think that the law has to step in everything an addictive commodity is introduced into the market. That would greatly threaten the liberty and autonomy that's a basic civil right of all American citizens.


I will wait till the next round to post my arguments for why Marijuana should be legalized for recreational use in the United States, and look forward to hearing how Con would respond to my rebuttals.
Debate Round No. 1
B_A

Con

Just because you have the right as a human to do what you want, doesn't mean you should have the legal right to do it. To make it even more simple. If you aren't smart enough to do it without getting caught, then you aren't smart enough to do it at all.

In a rebuttal, both our assertion of crime increasing or lowering is all in speculation. Neither one of us can predict the future so we wouldn't know the causes of legal implementation. They are just opinions on what could or would happen. Having said that it is in my belief that the people part of the drug dealing world, would have a very hard time finding a job. Jobs do not come easy and neither will the money that they had made before. With this, I would venture to guess that they would fall back to what they know, which would be dealing. This makes my case for why the drug dealers would start selling the "hardcore" drugs which in turn would keep crime the same or even increase.

We all make choices. Choices to do good or to do bad. Whether it be beneficial or detrimental. Either way its a choice you have to live with. Although, if there is a law in place to protect you from possibly making a bad choice, then what is the harm. It is the governments responsibility to protect it's citizens from harm; whether that be terrorists or substances. But it is the fact the government would be condoning the use of marijuana if they were to be legalized. Then in turn making people think it is perfectly fine to do it.

Can't wait to here the pro's arguments for why marijuana should be legal.
hiroki01

Pro

Thank you, Con.

In response to my previous argument, Con attempts to resolve the inherent tension between individual autonomy and legal intervention by writing, “Just because you have the right as a human to do what you want, doesn't mean you should have the legal right to do it.” Essentially, Con wants to apportion more weight to the law to the point that it’s inviolable and unchallengeable, and allow it to adjudicate and intervene even into matters of the private sphere. Yet, we have to recall that the American legal system operates on the fundamental principle of a clear separation between private morality and public law, whereby the law is by necessity formal and impersonal and ought not intrude into the private realm as long as the act does not impinge on other free individuals.

Con then continues, “If you aren't smart enough to do it without getting caught, then you aren't smart enough to do it at all.” I can’t read this in any seriouus way apart from it being a blatant disrespect of the law, nor can I understand how this is relevant to the resolution. Is he suggesting that illegal trafficking of drugs is alright as long as the perpetrators are not caught?

I will now move on to rebuttals.


Re: Argument from Crime

After I showed Con how he has in fact argued in my favor, he decided to change his mind regarding the effect of legalization on crime rate. Now, he says, “neither one of us can predict the future so we wouldn't know the causes of legal implementation. They are just opinions on what could or would happen.”

Of course, these are merely “speculations,” but that doesn’t mean all scenarios are therefore equally likely. In fact, there are historical precedents that attest to how criminalization of a drug precipitates crime activities. During the Prohibition of alcohol in the United States from 1920 to 1933, “organized crime received a major boost,” resulting in the emergence and flourishing of a “profitable, often violent, black market for alcohol.” [1] The article also notes that “rather than reducing crime, Prohibition transformed some cities into battlegrounds between opposing bootlegging gangs.” This trend is analogous to the thriving of drug cartels today, whose drug-dealing activities have thrived precisely because there is clearly demand (which exists regardless of the legal status of the drug). As a result of the highly restricted drug distribution to circumvent vigilant policing measures, smuggling of drugs have become incredibly lucrative and associated violent crime has escalated between competing drug cartels.

Con fails to address my point on how cartels can deal in hardcore drugs if they should choose to even if marijuana remains illegal. Instead, he insists without evidence that drug dealers, upon legalization of marijuana, would “fall back to what they know” and continue dealing, only that now they will do hardcore drugs instead. This claim is as slippery and unfounded as the suggestion that all criminals, once released, would continue committing crimes. Such an assertion ignores the majority of criminals who have been reasonably successful in being accepted into society as well-adjusted, sensible, and reformed individuals. I don’t see why this can’t be the case if marijuana is decriminalized.


Re: Argument from Poverty

Con has not rebutted either of my points raised in this section. Please extend both of my arguments here.

He has made some remarks which I will address in my own argument below.


The Threat to Self-Rule

One of the central tents governing the United States is that the individual should be free from state intervention, insofar as his actions do not in any way interfere with the liberty of other individuals. This is the only reason why suicide is legal: because everyone has the ownership of his body (a premise I assume Con accepts given that he has not furnished a moral argument for not having full autonomy over one’s body). We are all aware that even today, suicide is generally frowned upon and stigmatized, causes a great deal of distress to people around the victim, and the state definitely does not encourage it. In spite of this, suicide remains outside the purview of the law and any extraneous intervention is unconstitutional.

It therefore terrifies me when Con writes, “Although, if there is a law in place to protect you from possibly making a bad choice, then what is the harm. It is the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens from harm; whether that be terrorists or substances.”

Firstly, there is no objective morality by which one can appraise whether an action is, in itself, “good” or “bad,” and such judgments are highly contextual.

More importantly, I see Con’s proposal as nothing but an invitation for abuse of the law and devolution into tyranny.

A clear example to illustrate my point: When Rousseau enjoined that man must be “forced to be free” [2], never did he think the slogan would later be (mis)appropriated to justify atrocities under Robespierre’s Reign of Terror in the aftermath of the French Revolution. A brief look to history suggests that any model of value-judgment monopolized by the state or its institutions (e.g. the law) constitutes a serious threat to the liberty and autonomy of all people. The citizen should be the one protecting himself (or otherwise, should he choose to do so), not the state.


Financial burden of Drug Criminalization

Since I’m running out of words, I’ll make this straightforward.

Currently, the government spends a staggering amount of money on the policing and surveillance of drug activities, and the enforcement of the law. A Harvard study found that “drug legalization would reduce government expenditure by $48.7 billion annually,” while the legalization of marijuana alone would reduce it by $13.7 billion. [3] Even if we ignore other potential benefits from the decriminalization of marijuana, such as a decline in crime rates, this is a possibility that should be taken seriously by virtue of how considerably it reduces spending and eases the Federal budget.


In sum, Con has not given a strong case against why marijuana should be illegal, with most of his arguments founded on vacuous assumptions or his own opinion. I have, on the other hand, shown how the legalization of marijuana would potentially bring about a variety of benefits, contrary to what Con asserts.

As such, the resolution is affirmed.


Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.jstor.org...
[3] http://scholar.harvard.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
B_A

Con

B_A forfeited this round.
hiroki01

Pro

Con has forfeited the last round. Please extend all my arguments.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
B_A

Con

B_A forfeited this round.
hiroki01

Pro

Unfortunately, Con has forfeited again. Please extend all my arguments with regard to how:
i) Legalization of marijuana will potentially lower violent crime incidence by dissolving the monopoly of illegal drug-dealing by cartels.
ii) The policing of marijuana-related activities costs an inordinate amount of money, while legalization will save $13.7 billion per annum.
iii) It is not under the jurisdiction of the law if one should choose to smoke or consume alcohol on his private property. The same right of the individual, and the corresponding non-intervention on the state's part, should be extended to the recreational use of marijuana.

I have also demonstrated how Con's various arguments against the resolution, such as his beliefs that it is the state's duty to "protect" citizens and supervise how we spend money, and that people in the illegal trade can never be socialized and reformed, are patently untenable.

The resolution is affirmed. Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Ma555 3 years ago
Ma555
Let's say it is legalized the OD rates will shoot up as will "driving when high" and as a result deaths will rise also
Posted by Poiesis 3 years ago
Poiesis
This is too subjective for me.

There are no definitive studies linking marijuana with violence or crime rates (other than it being illegal to use it LOL). There's no way to observe this in a controlled environment with specific numbers. You'll notice that all of the studies use estimated numbers, because it is impossible to know exactly who is using. Since it is impossible to know who is using, we have no basis of plausible comparison. Furthermore, we would then need to prove that it is specifically because of this use that they have committed anti-social behavior.

Either way, my only argument is that people have a fundamental right to choose what they do with their own bodies. If a woman has the right to have an abortion by law, it is hypocritical if that does not extend to every other choice involving the body as well.

If someone wants to shoot heroin into their own body, I say let them do it. They do NOT have a right to steal from someone in order to buy it though. If they commit a crime in order to use the drug, prosecute them for that. Regardless of whether or not crime rates rise or fall by controlling these substances you cannot persecute a group of people because of what they MIGHT do.

By allowing the government to dictate what we can or cannot do with our own bodies, we are leaving the door open to some extremely frightening possibilities. We are accepting them to make informed decisions for us instead of utilizing our own capacity for decision making. At some point, the government may choose wrong. Without the individual's right to make his or her own choice, a wrong decision could damage our entire population instead of the few who decide to make it.

For the record, I do not use drugs. But I believe that I have a right to do so if I want.

Since the instigator has affirmed this already, it would be pointless to debate it.
Posted by B_A 3 years ago
B_A
Somewhat agree with that. I feel like nicotine is more so the gateway drug than marijuana. Nicotine is start of the addictiveness.
Posted by saxman 3 years ago
saxman
I was going to accept this debate, then i saw you were on the con side. I am again recreational marijuana for more reasons than i feel like writing right now. Marijuana is the "Gateway Drug". Many go on harder drugs after marijuana.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 3 years ago
zmikecuber
B_Ahiroki01Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro, since Con forfeited. Pro's S/G was slightly better.. Con used "its" and "it's" in the wrong places, while I didn't catch Pro making any grammer errors. Arguments to Pro-he properly rebutted Con's arguments, and especially turned the Crime argument on its head. Pro was the only one to use sources.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
B_Ahiroki01Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct points to Pro as Con forfeited the last two rounds. Argument points to Pro as the argument were rational and Con made multiple self contradicting statements which effectively lost the debate for Con before it began. Spelling and grammar points to Pro, as Con made some glaring errors. Sources points go to Pro as sources were cited. Wish Con had not forfeited.