The Instigator
Valladarex
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
Aleck123
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

The United States Should Legalize All Recreational Drugs

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Valladarex
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,528 times Debate No: 44378
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (35)
Votes (2)

 

Valladarex

Pro

Welcome!

This will be a debate on whether or not all recreational drugs should be legalized.

Con must not have less than 3 debates completed and must have knowledge that he or she will be able to complete the entire debate without worry. If you wish to accept this debate, then say so in the comments.

Burden of Proof will be shared. I must prove that drugs should be legalized and my opponent must prove that they should stay banned.

The debate will be 4 rounds, with Round 1 being for guidelines set on my part, and acceptance / first arguments from Con. Rounds 2-4 will be for arguments and rebuttals.

I hope for a fantastic debate.
Aleck123

Con

Recreational drugs represent the short term spur or benefit to the user. An analogy being a hamburger - it may satisfy your hunger for the first 3 minutes yet your hunger will return again. Although one may argue this analogy is distant to the topic, I would say recreational drugs may help for a short period of time, however their long term effects are far more dangerous. For this reason, they should not exist as it is far healthier for a human to be ok in the long run than in a short burst of time. Almost forgot to say that they can also be addictive. Where do their benefits exist? And if somehow the question is answered, answer this one: "Why should they legalize recreational drugs?"
Debate Round No. 1
Valladarex

Pro

Opening Statements

My Arguments will be seperated into 5 parts, with subsections for the first 3 parts.

1. Prohibition has Failed

The purpose of drug prohibition is to prevent the recreational use of the prohibited drugs. After decades of using American resources, time, and effort, has prohibition been effective in achieving this goal?

Drug Use

According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older has gone up from 8.3% to 9.2% between the years 2002 and 2012. Out of those drugs, Marijuana usage has gone up considerably higher, from 6.2% to 7.3%. Psychotherapeutics use has remained similar, starting at 2.7% and ending at 2.6% between these years. Hallucinogens has also remained similar, starting at .5% in 2002 and ending at .4%. Some of the exceptions to the increasing or similar drug rates are cocaine, from .9% to .6% use, and methamphetamine, which dropped from .3% to .2%.(1)

What can be taken from these statistics is that the drug war over the past decade has had little to no results in decreasing illicit drug use. The amount of people using illegal drugs has actually gone up, showing the failure of prohibition to end drug use.

Drug Trafficking

One important factor in achieving the goals of prohibition is to prevent drugs from getting into the hands of those who desire them. One may hear of the successes of the DEA in seizing large quantities of a variety of illicit drugs. But have these seizures made a meaningful impact in preventing drug supply nationwide?

In the table below, the change in drug price and purity for heroin, cocaine, and marijuana over time are shown. This can be compared to the table below that, which shows the amount of drugs seized in the same time frame.

What can be concluded from this data is that “the global supply of illicit drugs has likely not been reduced in the previous two decades.”(2) Since drug supply of illicit drug use has not been reduced, even after decades of effort, it is evident that the war on drugs is a failure.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, "The largest income for transnational organized crime comes from illicit drugs, which account for some 20% (17%-25%) of all crime proceeds, about half of transnational organized crime proceeds and 0.6% to 0.9% of global GDP.”(3)

What can be taken from this is the drug trade is still alive and well, noting that the more than .6% of the total Gross domestic product of the entire planet is derived from drugs.


2. Human Harm

Every so often, you may find something on the news about a violent attack by drug cartels and gangs. One may think, “wow what a horrible thing to happen”, and then move on to thinking about something else. The violence, kidnappings, beheadings, and torture all has its roots in the high payoff of being able to smuggle drugs across US-Mexican border successfully.

Mexico

Mexico’s drug war has cost 70,000 lives since 2006, yet drugs still flood across the border. (4) This ongoing war has been extremely gruesome, with the belligerents being the Mexican government backed by the US, and the powerful drug cartels located in the various states of Mexico. As the number of deaths continue to climb, one can only imagine how influential our war on drugs here in the US is to hundreds of thousands of lives in our neighboring country.

Colombia

In Colombia, there have been 450,000 homicides since 1990, which is largely attributed to the war on cocaine there. (5) This gigantic number increases every day, as the war on drugs within that country continues. The amount of money the Colombian government has spent on this war is in the billions annually.

Venezuela

“There have been 43,792 homicides in Venezuela since 2007.”(6) Also said in the article was “In Iraq, a country with about the same population as Venezuela, there were 4,644 civilian deaths from violence in 2009, according to Iraq Body Count; in Venezuela that year, the number of murders climbed above 16,000.” This puts in to perspective the enormous damage the war on drugs has
caused.

Although one could not say, if drugs prohibition ended, all the homicides would stop, the resources and motivation for a large portion of these deaths would be removed. The homicide rates would decrease substantially if the engine of gangs and cartels, the profits of illicit drugs, was cut off.

3. Economic Harm

In total, America has spent more than $1 trillion on the Drug War. (7) Ever since 1970, when Nixon’s war on drugs began, the amount of money put into the war has risen drastically. “His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it's $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon's amount even when adjusted for inflation.”

According to the Cato Institute, "This report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. Of these savings, $25.7 billion would accrue to state and local governments, while $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government. Approximately $8.7 billion of the savings would result from legalization of marijuana and $32.6 billion from legalization of other drugs.

"The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $8.7 billion of this revenue would result from legalization of marijuana and $38.0 billion from legalization of other drugs." (8)

We spend billions every year on a war that has failed. This is not only unfair to the American tax payers, it’s unfair to the other countries that have also spent billions of dollars to prevent profitable recreational drugs from reaching our borders.


4. Rebuttals

“Recreational drugs represent the short term spur or benefit to the user. An analogy being a hamburger - it may satisfy your hunger for the first 3 minutes yet your hunger will return again. Although one may argue this analogy is distant to the topic, I would say recreational drugs may help for a short period of time, however their long term effects are far more dangerous.”

This debate is not about whether or not recreational drugs are beneficial to human health. It’s about whether or not drugs prohibition should or should not be in place. Personally, I am not a fan of recreational drugs and wouldn’t recommend anyone do them. This is not the purpose of this debate though.

“For this reason, they should not exist as it is far healthier for a human to be ok in the long run than in a short burst of time. Almost forgot to say that they can also be addictive. Where do their benefits exist? And if somehow the question is answered, answer this one: "Why should they legalize recreational drugs?"”

I need not answer the question, “Where do their benefits exist?”, if I can answer the question, “Why should they legalize recreational drugs?” with completely unrelated reasons. As demonstrated above, there are an ample amount of reasons to support the legalization of recreational drugs, completely unrelated to whether or not they are healthy.

5. Conclusion

The war on drugs has been fought relentlessly for decades, not only by the United States, but by countries worldwide. Because prohibition has failed, the economic harm is enormous, and the human harm is devastating, the United States should legalize all recreational drugs. The country would benefit greatly from the increase in money. It could allow us to focus our resources on rehabilitation/education as opposed to punishment. It could save 100,000s of people from being victims to the war on drug war.


Vote Pro.

Sources:

1. http://tinyurl.com...;

2. http://tinyurl.com...

3. http://tinyurl.com...

4. http://tinyurl.com...

5. http://tinyurl.com...

6. http://tinyurl.com...

7. http://tinyurl.com...

8. http://tinyurl.com...

Aleck123

Con

Last time I checked, you don't just legalize something just for the sake of it - you legalize it by exploring the disadvantages and advantages of it, may it be human health or the "economy" and if one weighs out the other then this will considerably help decide what is suitable. So in fact it does concern human health.
You may have graphs and statistics to support your argument yet, in my opinion and hopefully in the opinion of others, these become materialistic and unworthy. You are attempting to argue that the prohibition of drugs has caused war and deaths. With parts of this statement I agree, but to legalize drugs just to prevent the Cartels causing more deaths is pointless. In fact you are submitting into their desires and for now they are recreational drugs but if legalized, they will soon be after machine guns. What are you going to do then? Just let them have it because they are causing trouble. A sign of submission to criminals will show weakness in the government and soon citizens will lose their trust in them. The act of legalizing these drugs to prevent war with the Cartel will soon result in the Cartel increasing in power and wealth and corruption.

Next you are arguing upon the large amount of money spent on war in a battle against drugs. Well, the point of a government is to be in democratically in control of the country. Now to have a law overturned due to the pressure of criminal activity shows how weak the government is. To pursue the war against them will show great courage yet also the country will become feared upon by criminals. A quote from Atticus Finch vaguely explains this : "It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what".
You talked about how prohibiting drugs caused 'economical harm". The money spent on this war is money spent worthwhile. The younger generation should not be allowed the choice, no the temptation, of whether to take drugs or not. They should live in a country where the government is strong and resilient to all pressure and rely upon it. A government with a moral spine to say what's wrong and to prohibit it despite great financial losses. These attributes shown by the government will become iconic and hence breed a proud and righteous younger generation.

My last thoughts: Although the instigator shows various statistics proving the great financial losses of the country as a cause to prohibition of drugs, I have to say that this area is where great money is needed. Yet why not propose a cut in the manufacturing and releasing of drones? Because prohibiting drugs help humans survive and the other destroy humans.

Vote Con
Debate Round No. 2
Valladarex

Pro

Valladarex forfeited this round.
Aleck123

Con

I will also forfeit this round in order to speed up this debating process.
Debate Round No. 3
Valladarex

Pro

The Importance of Statistics

"You may have graphs and statistics to support your argument yet, in my opinion and hopefully in the opinion of others, these become materialistic and unworthy."

Statistics on hundreds of thousands of people dying from something we helped contribute to isn't materialistic and unworthy. These deaths aren't just government forces and cartel members, they're also innocent civilians caught in the gunfire. Many women and children have died in this war as well. Countless families have been broken apart, destroyed, and displaced. For example, in Mexico's drug war, 5 children were killed in a single state, in a single week.(1) One was a 4 year old girl. Another a 2 year old boy. These type of things happen throughout the Americas.

" You are attempting to argue that the prohibition of drugs has caused war and deaths. With parts of this statement I agree, but to legalize drugs just to prevent the Cartels causing more deaths is pointless."

How could you say it's pointless to prevent innocent people from dying? This is not only disrespectful to those that have lost everything from the drug war, their livelihood, homes, family members, and even children, but it's simply heartless.

The Desires of Cartels

" In fact you are submitting into their desires .... submission to criminals will show weakness in the government and soon citizens will lose their trust in them."

Drug Prohibition is the very thing that allows criminals to enrich themselves. Drug lords, distributors, and gang members are the last people to want drugs to be legalized.

The Power of Cartels

"The act of legalizing these drugs to prevent war with the Cartel will soon result in the Cartel increasing in power and wealth and corruption. Next you are arguing upon the large amount of money spent on war in a battle against drugs. Well, the point of a government is to be in democratically in control of the country."

One of the main reasons to support drug legalization is to crush the cartel's profits and substantially weaken their power. The most effective method to stopping the cartels would be to take away their monetary resources through legalizing the production of recreational drugs here in the US, which would bring down the profits of those cartels by many factors.

Joseph D. McNamara, PhD, and a former chief police stated that "About $500 worth of heroin or cocaine in a source country will bring in as much as $100,000 on the streets of an American city. All the cops, armies, prisons, and executions in the world cannot impede a market with that kind of tax-free profit margin. It is the illegality that permits the obscene markup, enriching drug traffickers, distributors, (and) dealers.”(2)

Government Strength

"Now to have a law overturned due to the pressure of criminal activity shows how weak the government is. To pursue the war against them will show great courage yet also the country will become feared upon by criminals."

Governments are fallible. They make good decisions and bad decisions. This doesn't make them weak though. One of the strengths of the US political system is its ability to change and adapt to new information and an evolving society. When we have gathered information over decades to support an idea, the government would show its adaptability and versatility in changing toward the direction of truth. This is one of the times where the government would not be weak, but strong, to change.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

"You talked about how prohibiting drugs caused 'economical harm". The money spent on this war is money spent worthwhile. The younger generation should not be allowed the choice, no the temptation, of whether to take drugs or not."

The government limiting an individual's choice to do something which does not infringe on the rights of others is not something I agree with. There are many things bad for us, but we do them anyway. I will give an example.

Let's say we banned junk food because it is a leading cause of many health issues. Billions could be spent on sending people to jail for being caught selling, manufacturing, and consuming foods such as donuts and cookies. What would result from this ban is a massive black market, in which people are able to sell junk food illegally. The government could try endlessly to prevent people from eating these deliciously unhealthy treats, but the supply and demand would be too much for government to prevent. The prisons would fill up with nonviolent offenders of these laws. There would still be people getting obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, as these laws would fail to prevent people from over-consuming junk food. After 40 years of a failed war on junk food, do you think the money spent would be worthwhile? Is it actually a morally justifiable thing to prevent the consumption of junk food?

This analogy is very close to what's happening with drug prohibition. Billions are spent annually on enforcing drug laws. Nonviolent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all inmates in the United States.(3) Drug usage has increased. Drug trafficking has increased. Even worse, hundreds of thousands have died in the process. The benefits aren't there to outweigh the enormous costs. The younger generation will have the choice to take drugs whether the government wants them to or not. The temptation will always be there, as the government has failed to prevent temptation through criminalization. Prohibition has failed.

Morality of Government

"They should live in a country where the government is strong and resilient to all pressure and rely upon it. A government with a moral spine to say what's wrong and to prohibit it despite great financial losses. These attributes shown by the government will become iconic and hence breed a proud and righteous younger generation."

The younger generation will be the ones to determine what the government should be strong and resilient against. The government's moral stance on issues will change as time moves on. The government's course of action on problems will also change. If the younger generation sees drug usage as a problem large enough to tackle using government, there are better ways to do it than the failed policy of prohibition.

Where Money is Needed


"My last thoughts: Although the instigator shows various statistics proving the great financial losses of the country as a cause to prohibition of drugs, I have to say that this area is where great money is needed."

Instead of using that trillion over the past 40 years on drug law enforcement, imagine if we instead spent that money on educational programs and addiction rehabilitation. Imagine the results that could have been made if instead of treating the problem as a criminal issue, we treated it as a health issue. I agree that drug addiction is a problem. But what I hope I have convinced you by now is that drug prohibition is a failing and destructive method to prevent it.

Conclusion

Drug prohibition was an idea based on the best of intentions, and has been fought diligently for decades. Sadly, the criminalization of drugs has caused much more harm than supporters would have ever imagined. Prohibition was never going to work, as the supply and demand of the drugs would remain constant, unchanging by the illegality of it. The enforcement and funding has never been so strong, yet it has not led to promising results. There are other ways to fight this problem, if we can even agree recreational drug use is completely a problem.

End the cartels. Save thousands of lives. Save billions of dollars. Prevent peaceful people from filling up the prisons. Support the legalization of recreational drugs.

Vote Pro.


Sources:

1. http://www.nydailynews.com...

2. http://aclu.procon.org...

3. http://www.nationalreview.com...

Aleck123

Con

I will never once doubt your love and care for those families but please don't ever twist my words to portray me as some heartless tool. When I said "more deaths", I mean the lives of Cartel Members and oppositions, NEVER DID I once refer it to "innocent lives". So don't ever speak of what was never told. You said many lives were lost as a cause to the drug war but you never stated how many lives were lost as a cause to the drug usage. It is equally sad and painful as being in the war.

As most readers realised your stats do include the deaths of innocent civilians aswell as Cartel members, and this is disgraceful. Yet what I meant was that you argued and debated with OVERWHELMING figures that just repelled people from reading it. 1 or 2 is enough. By the way a debate is a debate, my love and most people's love goes out for all the families that have suffered from these situation and not just you.

The desires of the Cartel
You said "Drug Prohibition is the very thing that allows criminals to enrich themselves". NO, it is this idea of rebellion in which money is a side product that attracts. If drugs are legalised, then they will be after guns or chemicals- anything which involves rebellion and money. This analogy may be disant but it's like when you're a little kid, you chew gum because first it's nice (money), but it's also rebellious. The Cartels will be after anything and that's why if the government stops them here ,they show their authority.

The Power of Cartels
So taking down those big words in your sentences such as "monetary", your idea is to start up new addictions and let the public of the country suffer so you can "bring down the profits of those Cartels". Yes I understand that addictions start up everyday but it would be much harder to become addicted when prohibited. For me and maybe for others, this idea of bankrupting the Cartel by providing more services that will sell these products and so more production of these products is a bad idea - regardless of your source.

Government Strength
Yes of course are governments are "fallible". At the en of the day under those big suits and houses they are just like us. But let me remind you that a "bad" decision is different to a "wrong" decision. One shows regret and mistakes and can almost be forgiven. However a "wrong" decision shows immorality which will of course no matter what will show weakness. You mentioned "change" shows strength, and yes I agree but only for the good. Change for the sake of change or for fear or pressure or even money is one that shows immorality.

Cost Benefit analysis
Your argument of the jails being clogged because of the inmates being "nonviolent" does not work. If the crime is committed, it has been committed, despite violence or not. A punishment is the consequence of an action. However your quotes of "drug usage has increased. Drug trafficking has increased" seems to be false as a quote from https://www.ncjrs.gov... stated that :
"Cooperation between civilians and police forces working together within communities across the country have successfully decreased drug-related crime." On a grand scale as such, money seems to be wasted yet this quote just proves how the prohibition has helped reduce violence and increase societal relationships and help reduced suffering. Small steps make large effects so one must not forget these.

Lastly drug prohibition is not only morally correct and life saving, but think how much jobs it produces and income to working class people. If legalised drugs will corrupt the town by increasing unemployment and homelessness and hence more crimes.

Vote Con
Debate Round No. 4
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Aleck123 3 years ago
Aleck123
No problem
Posted by Valladarex 3 years ago
Valladarex
I'm terribly sorry about not getting to the debate. I procrastinated then got swamped with a ton of college work. I will definitely make an extensive response final round.
Posted by Valladarex 3 years ago
Valladarex
Yes, it would.
Posted by Nels4Tats 3 years ago
Nels4Tats
Got a question. Would DMT be considered a recreational drug?
Posted by Aleck123 3 years ago
Aleck123
Thankyou dtaylor, this teaches us both Valladarex a message.
Posted by Aleck123 3 years ago
Aleck123
Sorry forgot to read it. My bad.
Posted by dtaylor971 3 years ago
dtaylor971
Well, in his defense, you shouldn't have opened it, but challenged Mikal to the debate.
Posted by Valladarex 3 years ago
Valladarex
What is this BS. I said i opened for YYW or Mikal, not Aleck123. Did you even bother reading the requirements or comments?
Posted by dtaylor971 3 years ago
dtaylor971
I'd take it, but I'd like to give Mikal a chance to take this one first.
Posted by Valladarex 3 years ago
Valladarex
It's open for YYW or Mikal to accept.

When I say all Recreational Drugs, I mean all the recreational drugs that are used, whether it be soft drugs like marijuana, or hard drugs like heroin and meth. Basically any drug that is on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
ValladarexAleck123Tied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: I think Con's lack of justification for why drugs should be kept illegal is a big problem in this debate. He says it's morally correct, but I never see an explanation for why. He says they're harmful, but doesn't explain how keeping them illegal makes them less harmful. He says that a government looking weak by changing policy in the face of criminals is bad, but I see a solid response to this from Pro. Generally, it appears that the real world harms of keeping drugs illegal are far easier to see by the end of the debate. Pro sources most of his arguments, so he also wins points there. Conduct goes to Con due to the forfeit.
Vote Placed by PiercedPanda 3 years ago
PiercedPanda
ValladarexAleck123Tied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: Great debate! I believe Pro had better arguments, and I enjoyed his graphs. He also had more reliable sources. Con earns conduct points because pro forfeited.