The Instigator
tannerhenley17
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Nzrsaa
Con (against)
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Should the United States consider the legalization of cannabis?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/18/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 762 times Debate No: 46182
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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tannerhenley17

Pro

There are many pros to this idea of legalizing cannabis.

1. Taxation could significantly improve the economy.

2. There would be a great decrease in crime statistics as we can infer from the affects of The Prohibition Era of the United States.

3. Cannabis has been proven to treat diseases such as Glaucoma, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and many more.

4. Cannabis has not been proven to be addictive.

5. Cannabis is more defective than Marinol, although more toxic.

6. Rates of cannabis usage are increasing as seen by USA Today polls.

7. No one has ever died from overdosing on cannabis.

8. It is not addictive as tobacco or alcohol and affects to bronchial tissue are less severe.
Nzrsaa

Con

Hi Pro! I look forward to the debate. I'll respond to each point you make, and then offer some arguments against the legalization of cannabis.

1. Taxation could significantly improve the economy.
While there will be a significant level of tax revenue, I think that there will be several hidden losses. For starters, there will be a huge loss of productivity in labour. Legalising marijuana will mean many more people will use it - after all, it is more available. This means that as a population, all the negative effects of marijuana - namely it's role as a depressent - will mean that workers won't be able to perform at their full potential. This reduces the level of output in the economy, which has a number of negative concequences. This is a Negative externality - where the social cost to the economy - the loss of output, for example - will heavily outweigh the amount of tax gained. It hardly seems worthwhile to legalise something just because of tax reasons - not only would the tax levels be insignificant compared to the whole economy (the US gained $5.4 trillion in tax in 2013), there are far more practical ways of gaining tax revenue - such as a rise in corporation, of income tax - than legalising a drug.

2. There would be a great decrease in crime statistics as we can infer from the affects of The Prohibition Era of the United States.
It seems to me that the only decrease in crime statistics would be the decrease in those caught in possession, dealing, or growing marijuana, and does not have much impact at all on the important crime - murder, rape or theft, for example. The only reduction in crime will be marijuana related crime, and not general, non-cannabis related crime.

3. Cannabis has been proven to treat diseases such as Glaucoma, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and many more.
While this may be true, i see no reason why regular pharmaceutical medication can't treat these, at a much cheaper, more widely available and more profitable (and therefore more beneficial to the economy) means. Moreover, Due to the fact that marijuana won't be patented (it is already in circulation), there will be very little competition in terms of medical research and innovation for the same treatment - there will be no need to. If this is the impact on science and knowledge as a whole, then I certainly don't want it legalised.

4. Cannabis has not been proven to be addictive.
This is not true at all in fact, 9% of long-term marijuana users become dependent on it [1], compared to alcohol at 8% [2]. In fact, most studies have shown marijuana to be addictive.

5. Cannabis is more defective than Marinol, although more toxic.
There are several other legal, available and profitable medicines to treat the same conditions as marijuana does, as discussed in point 3.

6. Rates of cannabis usage are increasing as seen by USA Today polls.
This is barely an argument for legalisation - merely because a lot of individuals illegally use marijuana, does not for a second justify legalising the drug. If an increasing level of people do use marijuana, then the best course of action would be to discourage demand, not to legalise it.

7. No one has ever died from overdosing on cannabis.
While there may be no deaths directly occurring from marijuana overdose, there has certainly been indirect deaths from its use - in fact, "hundreds of young people die each year in "accidents" caused by their prolonged use of the drug" according to Britain's most senior coroner. [3].

8. It is not addictive as tobacco or alcohol and affects to bronchial tissue are less severe.
As discussed in point 4, cannabis is far from not addictive, and has a similar level of addiction to alcohol. Although, admittedly not as addictive as tobacco, although that is barely an argument for legalising marijuana - at most, it is an argument for making tobacco illegal as well.

My argument
My argument is simple - simply, there are several health issues concerning cannabis usage, and it would be irresponsible for the government to legalize it. Such health issues include: the fact that marijuana is a 'gateway' drug, that provides a pathway for harder, more dangerous drugs. "A study of over 300 fraternal and identical twin pairs found that the twin who had used marijuana before the age of 17 had elevated rates of other drug use and drug problems later on, compared with their twin who did not use before age 17" [1]. Secondly, prolonged marijuana use leads to mental health issues later on in life. Hamish Turner, a coroner, mentions that marijuana leads to "physical and mental problems in young people" [3]I think that these facts are too serious to ignore, and to legalise the drug would be a huge step in the wrong direction for our society.

Sources:
[1] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[2] http://www.ncadd.org...
[3] http://alcoholism.about.com...
Debate Round No. 1
tannerhenley17

Pro

As I have seen from your side of the debate, I should probably give credit towards my resources so my side is maybe a little bit more trustworthy. Thanks. I'm thirteen and am learning...

A very important remark that Texas journalist, Gary Cartwright, makes states "In America, we spend nearly 8 billion dollars trying to enforce the laws prohibition the use and possession of marijuana. All we get for our money is a huge increase in organized crime, an endless string of drug related murders, and the highest incarceration rate in the civilized world." If marijuana was legalized, these cons would got away and we could invest by taxation. - Drug Legalization by Peggy J. Parks

Intellectually, Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the DPA states "What's needed now are conservative politicians willing to say enough is enough: Tens of billions of dollars down the drain each year. People losing their jobs, their property, and their freedom for nothing more than possessing a joint or growing a few marijuana plants" and "I've had countless conversations with police and prosecutors, judges and politicians, and hundreds of others who quietly agree that the criminalization of marijuana is costly, foolish, and destructive... Marijuana prohibition is unique among America's criminal laws. No other law is both enforced so widely and harshly and yet deemed unnecessary by such a substantial portion of the populace." -Drug Legalization by Peggy J. Parks

America has spent an estimated 51 billion dollars towards the war on drugs. More than 70,000 people in Mexico and 38, 329 people have died from the Mexican Drug War currently going on at the Mexican-United States border. It can be inferred that there would be a decrease in violence occurring, because there would be less reason to get involved in drug dealing with the Mexican drug cartel, especially with lower sales price in the US. There is already predicted to be a loss of an estimated 4.636 billion dollars from the Mexican drug cartels, as an effect of the legalization of marijuana in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. The total revenue estimated for the tax and regulation of marijuana in California is 1.4 billion dollars. From the info above, it is hard to say that death, theft, rape, and other violent crimes wouldn't drop significantly. Every human life is precious and this is a small way decrease violent crimes. - http://www.drugpolicy.org...

You state that marijuana can pose a threat to labor effort in the United States. As this is very true, marijuana could become quite a big industry and could definitely fill for the unemployment rate. For hardworking Americans (Believe me, not everyone that is unemployed is a lazy bum as the Fox News Network represents them), this is a great opportunity for success and living the American dream.

Though there are other drugs and approved by the FDA, marijuana is proven more effective. Like I said, it is more toxic, but you would probably want to choose marijuana over dying from a disease such as MS, Cancer, or Glaucoma. You said that 9% of people who use marijuana long-term stay addicted. So it really depends on like I said, a possibility of death from a disease or syndrome, or a 9% chance of becoming addicted to a slightly harmful drug.
Nzrsaa

Con

Hey Pro

The first point you make is that "In America, we spend nearly 8 billion dollars trying to enforce the laws prohibition the use and possession of marijuana", and that there is "Tens of billions of dollars down the drain each year".
But are those $Billions really going down the drain? Are we not preventing the use of marijuana - which dopes the nation - making an unproductive and uninterested workforce? Just think - If we legalise marijuana, more students and employees will use it. This makes them perform worse at school and at work - marijuana is renowned, admired and used recreationally for its doping properties. This produces an unproductive, uneducated and uninterested workforce. If we legalize marijuana, then we will lose those $Billions in economic output many times over. The business of marijuana production will simply cancel itself out with the lost output across the whole economy.

"More than 70,000 people in Mexico and 38, 329 people have died from the Mexican Drug War currently going on at the Mexican-United States border. It can be inferred that there would be a decrease in violence occurring, because there would be less reason to get involved in drug dealing with the Mexican drug cartel, especially with lower sales price in the US", and that "marijuana could become quite a big industry and could definitely fill for the unemployment rate"
I think that you are overestimating the impact of a would-be industry, and It is my inclination that these foreign problems will still remain, even if marijuana is legalized. Because if it is, then it will be like any other good. And if it is like any other good, then it will be priced, according to free-market forces. And so just like any other good on the market, it will be produced abroad and imported from foreign countries, where the violence and bloodshed and terror will still remain. You assume that jobs will be made in the US but why would you assume that? The reality is that as many jobs will be given to illegal, foreign deug cartels who produce cheap drugs en mass as they will do to domestic workers. After all, abroad is where production and means of production is already established. There is a reason why the illegal trade occurs there and not here, and that is because they produce it cheap and in large amounts. Just because something is legalized does not mean that all of the stock will be produced domestically - on the contrary, it will be produced where it can be produced cheaply - i.e in Latin and south America, just like pre-legalization. The heavily taxed domestic production will be no contest for the cheap labor from abroad. It won't create many Jobs in the US - admittedly there may be some, but in proportion, it will be insignificant in the overall workforce. And with drug cartels becoming even larger with the introduction of legalization, it can only be inferred that these violent gangs will kill even more than before.

You also make the point that: "People losing their jobs, their property, and their freedom for nothing more than possessing a joint or growing a few marijuana plants"
Well There is a reason why people lose their Jobs after being caught in possession of marijuana - it is because employers now know that they are doped up, and are going to be unproductive at work (Marijuana remains in your system for a month after taking it [1]). It is not just a mindless action against a minor crime - it is a genuine concern for the firm's productivity and competition in the market. The same would happen if a worker came in 1 hour late, or if the police found illegal weapons in someone's house - it is a genuine problem that needs to be dealt with.

As for marijuana as a medicine, I think that the side effects of it make it unsuitable for use. (such side effects include increased blood pressure, slowed reaction times, paranoia, short-term memory loss, anxiety and depression[1]). These side-effects just don't occur in industry standard pharmaceutical medicine.

I look forward to the next round :)

Sources:
[1] http://www.webmd.com...
Debate Round No. 2
tannerhenley17

Pro

tannerhenley17 forfeited this round.
Nzrsaa

Con

Shame that Pro forfeited, was a great debate.
God Bless!
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by debatability 3 years ago
debatability
Aw it's a shame that this got no votes :(
No votes have been placed for this debate.