Should marijuana be legal
Debate Rounds (3)
1. The government has no right to enforce marijuana laws.
There are always reason why law exist. While some advocates for the status quo claim that marijuana laws prevent people from harming themselves, the most common rationale is that they prevent people from harming themselves and from causing harm to the larger culture. But laws against self-harm always stand on shaky ground"predicated, as they are, on the idea that the government knows what's good for you better than you do"and no good ever comes from making governments the guardians of culture.
2. Enforcement of marijuana laws is racially discriminatory.
The burden of proof for marijuana-prohibition advocates would be high enough if marijuana laws were enforced in a racially neutral manner, but"this should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with our country's long history of racial profiling"they are most definitely not.
3. Enforcement of marijuana laws is prohibitively expensive.
Six years ago, Milton Friedman and a group of over 500 economists advocated for marijuana legalization on the basis that prohibition directly costs more than $7.7 billion per year.
4. Enforcement of marijuana laws is unnecessarily cruel.
You don't have to look very hard to find examples of lives needlessly destroyed by marijuana prohibition laws. The government arrests over 700,000 Americans, more than the population of Wyoming, for marijuana possession every year. These new "convicts" are driven from their jobs and families, and pushed into a prison system that turns first-time offenders into hardened criminals.
5. Marijuana laws impede legitimate criminal justice goals.
Just as alcohol prohibition essentially created the American Mafia, marijuana prohibition has created an underground economy where crimes unrelated to marijuana, but connected to people who sell and use it, go unreported. End result: real crimes become harder to solve.
6. Marijuana laws cannot be consistently enforced.
Every year, an estimated 2.4 million people use marijuana for the first time. Most will never be arrested for it; a small percentage, usually low-income people of color, arbitrarily will. If the objective of marijuana prohibition laws is to actually prevent marijuana use rather than driving it underground, then the policy is, despite its astronomical cost, an utter failure from a pure law enforcement point of view.
7. Taxing marijuana can be profitable.
A recent Fraser Institute study found that legalizing and taxing marijuana could produce considerable revenue.
8. Alcohol and tobacco, though legal, are far more harmful than marijuana.
I have written in the past that the case for tobacco prohibition is actually much stronger than the case for marijuana prohibition. Alcohol prohibition has, of course, already been tried - and, judging by the history of the War on Drugs, legislators have apparently learned nothing from this failed experiment.
I am strongly against legalizing marijuana.
I will first counter my opponent's arguments, then provide some of my own.
1. The government certainly does have the right to tell people that they cannot smoke marijuana. The Pro's only argument here is that it is "on shaky ground", but that is not a real argument. The government does have the right to do this because there are far more health risks than benefits, which I will explain latter on in my argument.
2. The Pro's argument that marijuana should be legalized because its enforcement is racist is flawed. That is like saying that we should legalize murder just because more black people are convicted than whites. This is clearly a faulty argument and should be ignored.
3. The Pro has no source to back up her statistic about the cost of enforcement, so it to should be ignored. Even if you take her word for it, cost is not a good reason to legalize marijuana. All law enforcement costs quite a bit, so by Pro's logic, we should let all the criminals out of prison because it costs too much to keep them there. Also, the police force in general costs "about $635 billion" , so $7.7 billion isn't really all that much.
4. The Pro's argument that marijuana crimes ruin lives is not valid. Of course getting arrested for committing a crime will be bad for you; that's one of the main reasons behind the justice system. We should not legalize something just because the punishment hurts them. By that logic, we should make everything legal and have no laws.
5. Pro says that marijuana creates a criminal underground, but gives no indication that legalizing marijuana would help. Marijuana is just one of many of gang related "illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings."  You can see here that there are many more crimes than illegal marijuana sales going on here, so legalizing one of them would not make the gangs go away.
6. Once again, Pro's arguments are unsupported by evidence and logically faulty. Just because we cannot catch every criminal does not mean that we should just let them commit their crimes. By Pro's logic, if we cannot catch every murderer, we should probably make murder legal.
7. Pro says that we should legalize marijuana because it would bring in tax revenue, but that would go against the moral code of America. Legalizing marijuana for the purpose of tax revenue would be akin to the government taking bribes. We would be allowing a criminal act to take place in return for money. Bribery is against American honor and should not be a reason to legalize marijuana.
8. Pro's point about how alcohol and tobacco are already legal does not advance her case at all. I personally believe that alcohol and tobacco hurt our society, so her point could be as much a reason to outlaw alcohol and tobacco. Just because alcohol and tobacco are legal doesn't mean that they should be, therefore this point falls.
Now, onto my argument.
The main reason that marijuana should not be legalized is the harmful effects it has on the smoker's health. Smoking marijuana, especially at a young age, can have seriously detrimental effects on the smoker's mental capacity. A Science Daily report said that "people who start using marijuana at a young age and those who use the greatest amount of marijuana may be the most cognitively impaired".  Smoking marijuana also increases the risk of cancer. Men's Health says that "men who reported smoking pot in the past were twice as likely to have certain types of testicular cancer".  Finally, government studies say that "marijuana users generally report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, relationship problems, and less academic and career success compared to their peers who came from similar backgrounds".  This should be enough reason to keep marijuana illegal.
tiffanystorrie forfeited this round.
tiffanystorrie forfeited this round.
No votes have been placed for this debate.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.