The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Should marijuana be legalized?

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/20/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,320 times Debate No: 31497
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




Marijuana should be legalized because if it remains illegal, all it does is create a black market for it, and directly causes more gun violence. What's a leading cause of gun violence? Gangs. That's why the US murder rate is so much higher than other developed countries: because the war on drugs causes more violence. If there's demand for a product, illegal or not, there will be supply, and no matter how much you make border patrol better, the drugs will be smuggled through the border.


I accept your challenge.

Since Pro has already given his resolution, I, Con, will give my own: Marijuana should not be legalized for several reasons, but the most prevalent is because it is a gateway drug to more potent, and thus more harmful drugs. If marijuana was legal, and available to all US citizens, more people would request access, legally or illegally, to more powerful drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. for two reasons. The first would be since marijuana would be legal, more people would become used to its effects, and would need other drugs to reach a high. Secondly, since marijuana would be legal, rebellious kids would have to find other ways to "stick it to the man" and find other drugs to do. Then, because of this higher demand for other, more potent and expensive drugs, gang violence would not go down, but quite the contrary. If new markets for more powerful drugs were suddenly opened by a wave of marijuana users looking for new highs, drug cartels would jump on the opportunity to smuggle in more dangerous substances into the US, creating more tension between gangs, as these drugs yield higher profit.

Also, we have to realize that marijuana is still a drug, with many effects. First is its addictive qualities, like all drugs have. Then, there is the fact that like alcohol, marijuana impairs judgement and reaction time negatively, posing a dangerous threat for drivers. Finally, like tobacco, there are chemicals in marijuana which hurt the body; they may not lead to cancer quickly like tobacco, but nonetheless they do negatively impact the body. Furthermore, there would have to be an immense amount of government regulation on this new legal drug, making sure that marijuana imported by the US is not tainted/laced with other drugs, setting reasonable prices for the drug, establishing a legal limit as to how much one could own, coming up with a way to tax marijuana, preventing people from cheating the system by buying the drug elsewhere and selling it at a cheaper price than the government does and passing new legislation which would prohibit the use of motor vehicles under the influence of marijuana.

All these issues would take weeks, if not months, for our Congress to resolve; thus, the legalization of marijuana, while positive in ideology, is not practical in a modern society such as the United States'.
Debate Round No. 1


I see your point, but these problems are already happening, even though marijuana is illegal (in most states and countries). All that it has done, as I said before, is create a black market for the drug. The Netherlands has legalized the use of recreational marijuana, and has some of the lowest crime rates in the world. There is no reason to keep marijuana illegal if 1/5 people in the USA will try it anyways. Now, for health benefits of marijuana:
Helps relieve pain and stress
Sufferers of asthma, spasticity, and glaucoma have been found to benefit from use of marijuana
Helps to think creatively
So use of marijuana even has benefits, and it's less addictive than smoking or other, harder drugs.
Now what I'd like to know is what's the point of making something illegal if people are just going to do it anyways?


I thank Pro for responding.

First off, legalizing marijuana would not eliminate a black market for it, nor would it reduce crime rate as you imply. If cannabis was legalized in the US, drug cartels would continue to grow and sell the drug cheaper than the government could sell it for. Thus, there'd still be competition among gangs, which would then lead to gang-related violence. Also, because these cartels would continue to grow marijuana in the US, primarily in recluse locations (Yellowstone Park is a prime example), and also sell it illegally, the US would still have a "War on Drugs", but not to eliminate the drug altogether, but to eliminate the government's competition in selling marijuana.

A quick note on crime rate as well, countries like Japan, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, etc. all have lower crime rates than the Netherlands, and all have prohibited the use of marijuana [1]. Thus, by your logic, I could argue that legalizing marijuana would increase crime rate, not decrease it like you have argued.

Finally, I'd like to point out some negative effects of marijuana use, and use a medical source instead of copying what I've heard from pro-marijuana talking heads. First, marijuana has been shown to decrease the amount of neuron connections are possible within the brain, lowering IQ by up to 8 points. Also, like I said, marijuana decreases reaction time and judgement; in fact, smoking marijuana and driving doubles the risk of getting into an accident. Then, the heart rate of marijuana users has been shown to increase by 20 - 100%, which can be dangerous to those who are prone to heart attacks, or have heart problems in their family. Next, contrary to what you have said, marijuana is shown to be an irritant to the lungs, which would actually worsen the symptoms of asthma, not relieve it. Marijuana also increases the risk of lung infections, like bronchitis and pneumonia. Another physical risk of marijuana is the increase in the risk of testicular cancer.

Some other effects of cannabis use are not necessarily physical, but mental. For instance, marijuana has been shown to have a correlation with conditions like depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, and general apathy. Smoking cannabis while pregnant is also shown to cause mental deficiencies in infants in the fields of memory and problem solving.

Also, this is from the same website, and deals with the concept that cannabis is not very addictive by saying, "Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and among daily users (to 25-50 percent). Thus, many of the nearly 7 percent of high-school seniors who (according to annual survey data) report smoking marijuana daily or almost daily are well on their way to addiction...Long-term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent" [2].

Debate Round No. 2


I sincerely thank you for replying and for citing your sources.

In a 2005 study, 4400 students were investigated and users of marijuana were found to have lower rates of depression than people who have never tried it. This is the largest study between cannabis and depression to date. Also users of medical marijuana were found to have been rid of hepatitis C, an infection that affects over 3 million people per year. In a peer reviewed study, 92 percent of women who smoke marijuana found it to be "very effective" of "effective" when used for morning sickness. It also helps reduce vomiting and pain with cancer and AIDS victims, and in the past 10,000 years, not one person has directly died from the use of marijuana. You need to smoke 15 thousand joints in 20 minutes to get a toxic dose of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. Compared to 5.4 million dead from smoking cigarettes each year, many being from second hand use. It is also arguably the most commonly used drug in the world. Why would this be legal yet marijuana would not be?
A regulated and legal market would reduce the selling and use of marijuana in teens because it's more valuable to sell when it's illegal, making it less likely to be sold to their peers. Legalizing it would reduce the flow of money to gangs as well, because it's extremely profitable to smuggle it.



I thank Pro for his quick reply and rebuttal.

While I'd like to commend you on your research, I have an inkling of doubt due to the age of the study you have provided. In 2005, there wasn't as much controversy over marijuana as there is today; thus, less research was conducted on the plant at that time, which may have led to inaccurate or just assumed results. Also, since there are so many kinds and mixtures of marijuana, it's difficult to accurately test whether marijuana has positive or negative effects on the body; some may show a negative effect, while others may show none whatsoever, but in reality this is because of the composition of the drug, not necessarily the effects of the drugs.

Now, I'd like to essentially break down all of these conclusions this study has reached. All this study does is apply the symptoms of marijuana to people of certain illnesses. Conclusions are meant to be new facts drawn from prior knowledge, but all this study really accomplishes is adding two already known facts together to create a compound fact, and then pass that off as a scientific revelation. For example, you said that marijuana reduces vomiting, and it eliminated morning sickness in women. That's not a new scientific feat, that's just adding two already known things together, A) Morning sickness induces vomiting and B) Marijuana reduces vomiting so A + B = C) Marijuana reduces morning sickness. Obviously now, you should see that these facts you present are nothing more than common sense conclusions from already known facts; in essence, any idiot could figure out marijuana's effects given enough prior knowledge. The same can be applied to cancer and AIDS victims

Here, I'll make it more clear. Let's say for the sake of argument that we live in a world where ibuprofen (Advil) is illegal. Advil advocates may say "X% of migraine sufferers say that Advil relieved their pain" but if you know that A) Advil is a pain reliever and B) Migraines cause pain then you can come to the logical conclusion that C) Advil relieves migraines.

Next, I'd like to cite WebMD to rebut the claim that no one has died of marijuana use. When one talks about overdosing on marijuana, they are usually referring to THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), marijuana's main chemical. However, there are long-term effects of marijuana that are not caused by THC which can cause death in a similar fashion as cigarettes.

WebMD, UK's cancer research center and Dr. Lynne Eldridge all agree that marijuana has some negative effect on the lungs. WebMD blatantly states as a short-term risk that, "The risks of smoking marijuana go up with heavy use. Although the link has never been proved, many experts believe heavy pot smokers are at increased risk for lung cancer" [1]. On a side note, WebMD also says that, "Contrary to what many pot smokers may tell you, marijuana is addictive, at least psychologically. Even among occasional users, one in 12 can feel withdrawal symptoms if they can't get high when they want to. Among heavy pot smokers, the rates of dependence are higher" [1].

UK's cancer research center claims that cannabis is very similar to cigarettes in its composition and its effects in an article which reads, "Cannabis smoke contains many of the same cancer causing substances (carcinogens) as tobacco - at least 50 of them. In addition, cannabis is often mixed with tobacco when smoked. One of these carcinogens is benzyprene. Benzyprene is in the tar of both tobacco and cannabis cigarettes. We know that benzyprene causes cancer. It alters a gene called p53, which is a tumour suppressor gene. We know that 3 out of 4 lung cancers (75%) occur in people who have faulty p53 genes. The p53 gene is also linked to many other cancers" [2].

Finally, Dr. Lynne Eldridge states while some studies (she mentions a 2006 one which is very similar to yours) have shown no risks of marijuana, she states that, "Marijuana likely increases the risk of testicular cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, a type of brain tumor, and the risk of leukemia in the offspring of women who use it during pregnancy" [3]. She also agrees that the composition of marijuana is similar to that of tobacco, which means that the dangers of tobacco are also present in marijuana.

Hopefully you can see that marijuana is just as dangerous, if not more so, than cigarettes or alcohol. In fact, due to its similar composition to tobacco and its effect of impaired judgement and reaction time, it is more like a combination of both tobacco and alcohol, with all negative effects of the two. Also, this drug will not decrease any crimes within drug-related gangs because they will continue to sell it at a cheaper price than the government, and the U.S. would have to spend more time and money trying to pass legislation trying to regulate the drug, as well as starting a new campaign to prevent smoking marijuana and driving. All in all, it is impractical to legalize marijuana because of its controversy, effects both short and long-term and the cost it would demand to regulate it and prevent abuse of it.

Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by tiffanystorrie 3 years ago
why should marijuana be legal

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
Posted by eXclusua 3 years ago
For the record, hemp is poised to replace and significantly augment wood, paper, oils, and supplements. And that isn't even scratching the surface of the rest of its medical and industrial applications.
Posted by Gandhi 3 years ago
I don't doubt it, nor am I actually against keeping marijuana illegal, but I had to debate against it.
Posted by jdog2016 3 years ago
I guarantee you that in the next 5 years weed will be legal in the entire us.
Posted by Gandhi 3 years ago
Marijuana is every bit as dangerous as alcohol, as it impairs judgement and reaction time like alcohol does. Every time someone gets into a car high on marijuana, they have about the same risk of getting into a car accident than someone who is drunk.
Posted by Pherolex 3 years ago
Why would alcohol be legal for recreational use and marijuana not? I just see no actual reason why a worse drug (alcohol) would be legal and a SAFER one (marijuana) be illegal. Makes no sense.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Nyx999 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: They were both brilliant. :)
Vote Placed by induced 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: cons position is indefensible. with all the money we waste on a drug war and all the people who's lives are ruined because they were caught with pot and didnt do anything wrong, Con doesnt seem to realize how serious a ban is, and doesnt like to be told facts