The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

The US should legalize drugs.

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Time Remaining
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/15/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 781 times Debate No: 97023
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)




This debate is the bronze medal match of Bsh1's individual debate tournament for his DDO Olympics. Congratulations to my opponent for making it so far in the tournament, he is an excellent debater and I look forward to the challenge.

We previously started this debate but ran into an unforseen issue. As such, I have added rule #8.

Full text of resolution: The USFG should legalize consumption of all drugs for recreational purposes.

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Constructive (No rebuttals)
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Case Defense/Closing Arguments

USFG- United States Federal Government
should- compelled to do something as it is the best path of action
legalize- to make legal
drugs- often illegal substance that can cause addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness
recreational purposes- essentially any reason


1. No new arguments in the final round.

2. No kritiks of the resolution.

3. No counterplans.

4. No trolling.

5. No semantics.

6. No forfeits.

7. BoP is shared, resolution must be looked at on balance.

8. Pro (Me) must copy-paste rounds 2 & 3 from the previous debate. No new arguments are allowed to be made. Con (fire_wings) must do the same for round 2.

If any of these rules are violated the offender loses the debate.

fire_wings already accepted the rules and definitions of the debate in the previously started one. Therefore, no changes to rules or definitions may be made.

Thank you and good luck, may the best debater win!


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I. Intro
Thank you to my esteemed opponent, fire_wings, for accepting this challenge. I look forward to this debate!

I will work to uphold values of personal liberty, as well as pragmatic reasons as to why the United States should legalize drugs. I therefore propose that whichever debater best upholds liberty and wins on a cost-benefit analysis wins the debate.

II. Liberty
Individuals should be able to do whatever they choose so long as it does not directly harm other individuals. What a person chooses to do with his or her body is up to them. Consumption of drugs does not inherently lead to harm to others, so drugs should be legalized on this basis alone, as this should be a decision left to the individual. As British philosopher John Stuart Mill said "Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."

III. Health
Users experience greater health risks under prohibition than not. If outlawed there are no regulations on it, meaning nothing to stop issues of potency, dirty needles, etc. As far as needles go, sharing is a very easy way to spread diseases. "In 2010, 8 percent of new HIV cases in the United States were attributed to IV drug use." [1] Furthermore, legalization allows users to feel safer in seeking out help with their addiction [2] which will make them more equipt to end their dependence. Other regulations as far as discriminating based on age and creating potency restrictions could also be created.

"Precisely because the drugs market is illegal, it cannot be regulated. Laws cannot discriminate between availability to children and adults. Governments cannot insist on minimum quality standards for cocaine; or warn asthma sufferers to avoid ecstasy; or demand that distributors take responsibility for the way their products are sold. With alcohol and tobacco, such restrictions are possible; with drugs, not. This increases the dangers to users, and especially to young or incompetent users. Illegality also puts a premium on selling strength: if each purchase is risky, then it makes sense to buy drugs in concentrated form. In the same way, Prohibition in the United States in the 1920s led to a fall in beer consumption but a rise in the drinking of hard liquor." [3]

IV. Economics
The government spends $85 billion on enforcing drug policy annually [1] this is $85 billion in taxpayer money annually that could be spent on better projects including but not limited to infrastructure, scientific discovery, and education (particularly education on the harms of drugs) that benefit the community as a whole more than drug policy would. Additionally, as is evident by the case study in Colorado, the government will be provided a surplus from the taxation of drugs that can also work toward these same goals for civic progress. It's been estimated that this tax revenue could amount to $46.7 billion. [2] Furthermore, basic economics lets us know that prohibiting a good does not eliminate the demand for that good. The still-existing demand is instead fulfilled by the black market [1] which brings me to...

V. Crime and The Drug War
As stated previously, the market for drugs still exists. Instead, it forces buyers to illegal sellers. This helps give rise to criminal empires that use drugs as their main source of income. These organizations then attempt to corrupt government via bribes, threats, and infiltration.

"Colombia is the most egregious example, but Mexico too wrestles with the threat to the police and political honesty. The attempt to kill illicit crops poisons land and people. Drug money helps to prop up vile regimes in Myanmar and Afghanistan." [3]

Legalization would work to take down these regimes. Instead of purchasing from drug-fueled criminal empires these same substances could be produced by legal entities, funneling profits away from the cartels, making them less powerful, and in turn less destructive.

VI. Crime and Prison
Put simply, the US incarcerates too many people, and too much of this is due to drug offenses.

"Since the war on drugs began under Nixon, and escalated with Reagan, our prison population has skyrocketed 500 percent. Today, we have the highest incarceration rate in the world, and nearly half a million people are in our prisons and jails for drug offenses, compared to under 50,000 in 1980." [2]

This figure constitutes roughly 1/4 of our prison population. [3] In addition to it being ridiculous that individuals are jailed for a decision they decide to make to their own bodies, this brings other unique harms, the first of which is prison crowding. Essentially, prisons are too full. Many are over 200% capacity, leading to atrocious conditions.

"Two of the appended pictures show gymnasiums filled with beds, prisoners standing around in the narrow corridors between them. The third picture shows two cages the size of telephone booths. California locked suicidal prisoners inside such cages when there were no available beds in mental health facilities. Kennedy's opinion referenced a prisoner who was "held in such a cage for nearly 24 hours, standing in a pool of his own urine, unresponsive and nearly catatonic."" [4]

This violates the 8th Amendment provision against cruel and unusual punishment. We must protect the rights of all inmates, and legalizing drug use would be an easy way to drastically reduce our prison population and in turn improve the life of all inmates.

Additionally, imprisonment (unsurprisingly) has negative effects on the individual and the family, particularly in minority families, who are targeted at disproportional rates. [3]

Once incarcerated, users' prospects and those of their families, already often limited, instantly decrease. For the most part, when these folks enter jail, they're marginalized --disproportionately people of color and the poor -- but not violent or dangerous. But after months or years in custody, they become socialized to prison norms, where aggression is an asset and violence commonplace. Someone whose only crime is using a drug does not necessarily have any criminal tendencies, but when they come out of prison and can't find a job because of their record, many turn to crime, the only occupation they've been taught in prison. Almost two-thirds will re-offend within three years, clearly indicating that our current form of punishment is not a deterrent.” [2]

Imprisonment ruins entire lives due to simply ingesting a mind-altering substance. This also has a negative externality on society as a whole, as we create criminals out of individuals who were doing no harm to anyone except themselves to begin with.

VII. Conclusion
Legalizing drugs would provide a plethora of benefits, making it a pragmatic policy option. It would also align with personal freedoms guaranteed to the citizens of the United States. Therefore, from both a moral and cost-benefit standpoint, it is clear that the United States should legalize drug use.

Thank you, now over to Con.

VIII. Sources


I thank my opponent for making his arguments. I will write a new argument because the last one was a copy&paste, and I know that the argument sucked. I will just be making my constructive case right now, and no rebuttals. I will just be going through one thing.

I: What the Resolution says

The resolution says, "The US should legalize drugs" Therefore, Pro needs to unban the *illegal* drugs. Pro doesn't need to say that some drugs are good, because the drugs which are good are probably legal, and you can't legalize a legal thing. So Pro is talking about legalizing illegal drugs, which the drugs are in this list: ( I have to show why legal drugs should be illegal. And, it says they should legalize drugs, which means all drugs. Pro needs to legalize all of the illegal drugs.


The BoP is shared, but different. I have to show that we should illegalize the legal drugs, when Pro has to show that we need to legalize all the illegal drugs. But I have two ways to show my burden. The resolution is that The US should legalize drugs, so there are two ways to show my burden.

1) All Drugs should be illegal

2) Drugs shouldn't be legal

These are different. I will hereby choose number 2 that Drugs shouldn't be legal to fullfill my burden in this debate.

III: Illegal drugs should not be legalized

My first argument will be about that illegal drugs should not be legalized. I will be giving a source and a quote about why illegal drugs are bad.

"Illegal drugs aren't good for anyone, but they are particularly bad for a kid or teen whose body is still growing. Illegal drugs can damage the brain, heart, and other important organs. Cocaine, for instance, can cause a heart attack — even in a kid or teen.

While using drugs, people are also less able to do well in school, sports, and other activities. It's often harder to think clearly and make good decisions. People can do dumb or dangerous things that could hurt them — or other people — when they use drugs [1]."

This is a source about that illegal drugs are bad for you. But of course, there is the harm principle, which shows us that people can use their liberty, so it isn't a big deal of whenether you are hurt or not, so we can have drugs. But this, of course is wrong because of two reasons. First, as it says in the second "quoted" paragraph, it shows that these people who use drugs can do dangerous things, which can harm OTHERS. Thankfully, the harm principle says that we can do stuff UNLESS it harms others, but the source already shows that it harms others.

The second point is addiction. Most people don't actually really WANT to do the drugs. They are just in an addiction. Addicition in drugs are very dangerous [2]. There are some ways to solve it, but obviously you have to pay money to go to the doctor, so people can't do it. No one actually wants to do the illegal drugs also, it's just that they are doing it to reduce stress in the meantime [1]. I've proven that we can't just say we should legalize drugs because of the harm principle, as I showed it does not match with the harm principle, and they are harmful. This totally prevents my opponent's burden to legalize illegal drugs, as I already showed why illegal drugs are harmful, and they should continue to be illegal. Vote Con.

IV: Legal drugs should be illegalized.

As I have showed in my burden, I don't need to talk about ALL the drugs, as my burden shows. I will just be talking about a few of the legal drugs, and show why they should be illegal.

i: Smoking

My first legal drug I will be talking about is smoking. There's already many debates about smoking ban, and it's a long debate to discuss, so I'll only make a short point on this. Smoking does harm others, as the secondhand smoke harms and kills non-smokers [3]. For the harm principle, my opponent's standard, he basicaslly says that drugs do not harm others, but it actually does. In two years, 58 million people got exposed to secondhand smoke in the US [3]. Secondhand smoke is also very bad for your body, and others, like lungs [4]. My opponent's standard clearly says "unless it harms others". It does give harm to others, therefore, we should ban these legalized drugs.

ii: In General

There are too many bad legalize drugs, I'll just make another subpoint about 25 of them. Marijuana is illegal in many places in the US, so we will call it an illegal drug. There are very bad legal drugs, even worse than some illegal drugs. They are both bad, so we should ban them. There are 25 of them in total [5].

V: Conclusion

I have met my BoP by showing that illegal drugs should not be legalized, and that legal drugs should be illegal. Therefore, vote for Con!!!

VI: Sources






Vote CON!!!!!
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you, fire_wings. I'm going to start with some technicalities that must be addressed. Just as a brief note (since it doesn't fit in well anywhere before the first time I mention it) we will for the most part consider marijuana an illegal drug, because it is illegal in the greater number of states in the US.

I. Rules
Con has violated rule #8 [1], that he may not change his arguments in round 2, and that I may not in rounds 2 and three. This rule is in place because our debate began on 11/4/16 [1], so Con has now had 12 days to craft a constructive and a rebuttal to my arguments, which is clearly not fair. I called special attention to rule #8 in the opening round, because it was not included in the last debate. As I provide that violation of rules means the offender concedes the debate, Pro should win on this basis alone. The rules have been broken, making this debate unfairly skewed toward Con.

Despite clear indication that I should win based on rule violation, I will also continue to respond to Con's case and prove why we should legalize consumption of illegal drugs in the United States. I will adjust my round 3 arguments so that they actually respond to Con's brand new round 2 arguments.

Con does not need to prove legal drugs should become illegal, this is just an extra BoP he takes on. I also am not quite clear on Con's BoP analysis, because it seems he may be arguing that if he proves even one drug should be illegal, he wins the debate, which is not the case, as I clearly set up that the resolution must be looked at on balance meaning that the whole of the issue must be considered. If that is what he's arguing, I could do the same by saying "if one illegal drug should be made legal, I win." Neither of these are the case. Essentially, my BoP is to prove that it is in the best interest of the US that drugs that are currently illegal should become legal to consume, while Con's is to prove that they should not become legal. Remember: on balance.

III. Re: Illegal drugs should not be legalized

A. Con's source first mentions kids and teens. Under legalization kids and teens would not have access to drugs. Like alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana (in states where pot is legal) all these newly-legalized drugs would have age minimums to use them.

B. From there Con attacks the harm principle, which he must have accepted as a weighing mechanism in the debate. He makes a good point: people under the influence can harm others. However, he ignores the fact that we accept certain amount of risk: alcohol is legal despite the fact that people can become more aggressive or can get behind the wheel. Speaking of driving, we can look at the speed limit: if we wanted to make everyone completely safe, the speed limit would be 5 MPH. We accept a small amount of risk for personal liberty. The vast majority of the time people consume, they do not do harm to others. Furthermore, as per my constructive, we can see that people who are jailed for non-violent drug offenses are more likely to come out violent criminals [2] which means that in the US more people will be hurt by the drug-users turned violent criminals due solely to the fact that drugs are illegal than would be hurt by users in a legal world. Finally, to completely put this argument to rest, remember that making the drugs illegal fuels the drug war and the violent cartels that terrorize much of the world. The Con world actually promotes drugs harming other people more than the Pro world. It's important to remember that it's not just consumption of the drugs we're debating, but everything leading up to that consumption also. The harm principal is upheld on both ends better in the Pro world. People can make autonomous decisions and there will be less harm to third parties.

IV. Addiction

A. Addiction is a sad thing; I have people close to me that have become addicted. However, that doesn't mean it's not within an individual's control. The first time an individual uses is of their own free will, which coincides with the harm principal.

B. From there addiction makes it harder to deny using, but use is still somewhat under the user's control:

"Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control..." [3]

It's clear that addiction doesn't force them to use, it just makes it harder to stop.

Addiction is harmful, but a harm that is to the individual, brought on by the individual, which means that it falls under the harm principal.

C. In this sub-point I'd like to reference my constructive. I proved that legalization will actually help addicts because they will 1. Be more likely to seek treatment, since what they're doing isn't illegal and 2. Be sent to rehab, rather than prison. [2]

V. Re: Legal drugs should be illegalized

A. Smoking
First note that my opponent's source says that 58 million people are exposed to secondhand smoke, not that 58 million died or contract cancer or anything. There's also no indication a to how much exposure qualifies for what his use of the term "exposure" means. Additionally, we again have many things in our society that pose slight dangers. For example, I will again use the speed limit analogy. If you were to want to minimize deaths from automobile accidents, the speed limit would be 5 MPH everywhere. We accept certain risks in life. If you don't buy this first argument, however, smoking is already legal and this wouldn't be changed. Smoking is non-unique to the Pro world, which means that this point is irrelevant. Con cannot claim this as a harm when it exists in both worlds.

B. First, we need to realize once and for all that all these legal drugs would not become illegal in the Con world. It's "The US should legalize drugs" not "The US should either legalize all drugs or no drugs should be legal." Second, Con asserts that marijuana is bad then that these drugs are worse. Two problems here. First is that Con never proves marijuana to be bad. In fact, the only reason the FDA has not supported marijuana for it's positive health benefits is because long-term, broad studies have not been conducted; however the FDA recognizes benefits under the smaller scientific studies. [5] Therefore, it's easy to be "worse" than marijuana; marijuana is good! Second, the source is biased. Of course "The Weed Blog" is going to claim that these things are worse than marijuana, they're trying to promote marijuana.

C. Even if you still don't buy that Con's arguments about legal drugs being illegal are outside the realm of the resolution, reference back to my constructive: prohibiting something doesn't make it stop. This is especially true when the market has already been saturated with a product. People will still want their caffeine. They'll still want their alcohol. They'll still want their tobacco. Making all of these illegal is completely impractical. If Con is advocating making alcohol illegal, I'd urge him to study 1920-1933 in American history. It won't work for alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or any other drugs.

VI. Conclusion
I have given three distinct reasons for you to vote Pro in this debate. First, Con broke a rule he agreed to, which, as per the rules, means I, Pro, win. Furthermore, Con has yet to prove any unique harm to legalizing drugs that are currently illegal that do not fall under the harm principal or is not the vague assertion that "people can hurt other people" which can be done without drugs just as easily, which I refuted. Finally, I have proven unique benefits to legalization of drugs, including liberty, health, economics, the drug war, and prisons. For all these reasons I can see nothing but a vote for Pro. Thank you.

VII. Sources




You know what? I don't care. If you just want to be lame, then do it. I didn't want the debate to be stuck in the forfeit glitch before, so I tried my best on my first argument. It even actually says "tejretics" in there, and no source, which clearly show I didn't have any time. And, my opponent said to me in the messages that he made the debate, and I could accept. I just skimmed his round 1, and never I saw rule 8. I wanted an actual debate here, with better arguments that my first one.

I will let my opponent advance, and be bronze.
Debate Round No. 3


I suppose this was unfair. In any normal debate I'd expect my opponent to read the rules and then if transgressions are made, it is his/her own fault. However, as this was a continuation, it would be reasonable for fire_wings to have assumed all rules were the same so no need to re-read them. Therefore, I propose an augmented end to this debate. Fire_wings can make new rebuttals, but no new offensive arguments, in this last round. Rebuttals only. This will make the debate even in that we each had constructives and rebuttals only. From thererhe voters can decide the winner. I apologize, I should've called your attention to the new rule via PM or some other means.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by fire_wings 1 year ago
Actually I think I have time to argue, nevermind what that said.
Posted by fire_wings 1 year ago
C'mon, that time I didn't have any time, and I just did it... I did that in the day I posted.
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