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Should Recreational Marijuana Remain Illegal in the United States?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 626 times Debate No: 27573
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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I believe that given the studies of the effects of marijuana and the possible positive effects on our economy that recreation marijuana use should be legalized (to those over the age of 21) in the United States. I also believe that the constitution does not permit the federal government the right to ban the use or growth of the marijuana plant (cannabis). I appreciate your excepting my challlenge and hope to learn an understanding of your views and I hope I may even have an impact on your views as well. Good luck to you.


I thank Pro for initiating this debate.

I assume round 1 was acceptance due to the brevity of pro's post.

A few rules:

1. No semantics.
2. 8,000 character limit.
3. Forfeit results in immediate loss.

I look forward to Pro's first arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


CapitalistPig forfeited this round.


smoothpoints forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I'd first like to apologize on my missing the first round - been having trouble trying to find time to get everything in recently with finals week next week so I appreciate Pro's cooperation with the past round.

I'd like to open my debate with a simple question to Pro as to how (if marijuana was legalized and was age restricted as alcohol and tobacco are now) the legalization of marijuana would negatively effect the lives of himself and those around him. This is of course a simple question that can be easily argued either way. I'm assuming fears such as substance abuse, driving under the influence, and under age usage are the main concerns for most on the anti-legalization side of marijuana. These are of course legitimate and understandable fears. But I do offer a counter to each of them and thus is how I will structure my forth coming argument.

First let's look at one major fear that most people have with any drug not just marijuana - substance abuse. Many people fear that marijuana will just be another drug to get hooked on. I suggest that in fact - this fear is even less to worry about as compared to alcohol and tobacco - substances that are already legal in the United States. To counter this argument I look first to addiction rates as reported by Dr. Jack Henningfield (Ph.D. in Psycho-pharmacology) and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz MD of the University of San Francisco. In a study they examined the effects Marijuana, Alcohol, Heroin, Cocaine, Nicotine, and Caffeine had in reference to addiction. They used the ideas of Withdrawal, Reinforcement, Tolerance, Dependence, and Intoxication; ranking each on a scale of 1-6 (1 being highest 6 being the least) then averaging the over all scores. ( The results were as follows:
Marijuana - 5.4
Caffeine - 5.4
Nicotine - 3.0
Cocaine - 3.0
Alcohol - 2.4
Heroin - 1.8
Marijuana - 5.2
Caffeine - 4.4
Nicotine - 3.6
Alcohol - 2.6
Cocaine - 2.2
Heroin - 2.0
Based on their results I think it's pretty easy to say that compared to even caffeine - something we as Americans seem to take in on a nearly daily basis - marijuana proves to be less addictive. Meanwhile the drugs we've legalized are much more addictive, in fact, alcohol seems to be nearly twice as addictive as marijuana use yet we're brought up on the ideas of "Reefer Madness".

This brings me to my next argument - impairment. While I'm sure any marijuana smoker you meet will tell you they're perfectly fine if not better drivers high - I argue this is not necessarily the case and as such (much as we do with alcohol) doing things such as driving under the influence of marijuana would still remain illegal if the drug were legalized. As someone who is willing to admit on having driven high I can tell you that while I do drive at a slower rate and seem to be much more cautious of those around me - that doesn't mean it's a good idea to drive high. Your mind wanders much more, your reaction time is slowed (though not to the rate it is with alcohol), and focus can be difficult to maintain depending on how much you've consumed. I argue that marijuana should be legalized because people have a right to do with their bodies as they wish (though marijuana proves far less harmful than either alcohol, nicotine, or even over the counter drugs). However, when people drive impaired they're putting not only their own lives at risk but the lives of those around them and as such other's rights are restricted by the impaired. As such if legalized I'd suggest that impaired driving be handled much as alcohol is handled now - if it can be smelled on your breathe, if a packed pipe, bowl, bong, etc is found in your car, bloodshot eyes, etc. that you will be arrested for impaired driving and as such be handled legally just as you would be for driving drunk.

Now onto what I'm sure plenty of parents fear - if marijuana is legalized, it'll be easier to get it to minors and underage usage will spike. I argue the opposite actually. Sure you will always have underage usage of any drug - there simply is no way to stop it. Even when tobacco and alcohol were made illegal full grown adults even risked everything to get it. There simply will be no stopping the use and production of it. But look for a moment at a country like Portugal who literally legalized all drugs. Since their doing so the umber of addicts have decreased because instead of sending them to prison, users are sent in to rehabilitation centers. Now people may suggest, "We're broke - it'd cost too much to send them to rehab!" However I suggest the following - by legalizing marijuana not only do we decrease the amount of people in prison simply for possession charges and by taxing the marijuana we use to revenue generated to fund rehab programs. But as I said earlier - addiction rates are extremely low for marijuana compared to other drugs and as such you will see very few marijuana addicts among the United States in need of such treatment, thus leaving plenty of revenue to go into local economies through sales and into the federal government through taxes. Considering our deficit of nearly $17,000,000,000,000 I'd say the revenue could do anything but hurt us. Heck it'd even increase jobs as dispensaries opened up around the nation. You need growers, seed sellers, clerks, truck drivers, etc.

Now I'm also going to suggest the guidelines I'd personally like to see established if legalized on a federal level. Restrict usage to the age of 18 (if you can fight for your country why can't you smoke the peace pipe?), driving under the influence would be treated as driving drunk, you can carry no more than 2 grams on your person without being considered a dealer. If you are going to deal you must do so out of an established location and you're open to inspection at least yearly and randomly with a warrant from a judge if suspected of mischievous sales (laced marijuana). You must have a dealer's license to sell marijuana. If you're caught selling without one you will go in front of a judge and he will decide what to do with you. As we do with alcohol you are welcome to grow your own marijuana however you will not be allowed to sell it without a dealer's license. Underage sales cost you your license permanently.

I'm not an advocate for marijuana because im just "some hippy who wants to smoke pot in front of the cops". I'm an advocate because 1- the federal government has no right to make it illegal based on the constitution; 2- people have a right to do with their bodies as they wish; and thirdly - because this war on marijuana costs the federal government $42,000,000,000 yearly on a product that is only growing in popularity in America and is less harmful than what any official is fine with you using.


smoothpoints forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by miketheman1200 3 years ago
Good debate topic, luck to both of you!
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