The Instigator
TheNorseman007
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
michaelperry13
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

The United States should NOT Legalize Marijuana

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
michaelperry13
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/16/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 991 times Debate No: 44127
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)

 

TheNorseman007

Pro

Hey everyone! This has been a very controversial topic as of late so I thought it would be fun to debate it. Just to be clear CON will have to argue that the US should legalize marijuana.

Round 1: Acceptance - CON...just post "I accept" as your argument

Round 2: Constructive - You may only post things that benefit your case, and you may NOT attack your opponents case in this round

Round 3: Rebuttals - This round is for refuting your opponents constructive

Round 4: Conclusion - Final Remarks, voter issues are allowed

Thanks guys and I'm looking forward to a good debate!
michaelperry13

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
TheNorseman007

Pro

As the resolution states, "The United States should", we are analyzing a decision that is to made by a government. As the goal of a government should be to protect its people, whatever decision they make should uphold this philosophy. Basically, any decision made by a government should minimize harm, and thus, any decision that causes harm is not correct. That being said, I stand firmly resolved that the United States should NOT legalize marijuana.

CONTENTION 1: Marijuana Is Harmful

As I stated earlier, a government should not make any decision that has harmful effects. As marijuana is a harmful substance, the decision should be made NOT to legalize it.

The National Institute for Drug Abuse explains:

Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person's existing problems worse. In fact, heavy 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. For example, marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of dropping out from school. Several studies also associate workers' marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers' compensation claims, and job turnover. (1)

This statement from the NIDA clearly demonstrates some of the harmful effects of marijuana. Additionally, marijuana has also been proven to cause cancer. The Foundation for a Drug Free World elaborates:

Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke. One major research study reported that a single cannabis joint could cause as much damage to the lungs as up to five regular cigarettes smoked one after another. Long-time joint smokers often suffer from bronchitis, an inflammation of the respiratory tract. (2)

As these studies have been proven, it cannot be denied that marijuana has harmful effects. As such, the governing body of the USA should decide not to legalize it.

CONTENTION 2: Legalizing Marijuana leads to Public Safety Issues

Legalizing marijuana would make it more prominent. This cannot be denied. If the access to anything is easier, its prominence would be increased. Marijuana has also been the cause of several DUI incidents. Similar to alcohol, it impairs a drivers judgement and increases the likelihood of an accident.

The following incidents is an example of this:

Courtney Manning's death was one of three marijuana-related DUI fatalities in the Santa Cruz County this year, according to the CHP. (3)

NORML has also made the following statement:

Survey data indicates that approximately 112 million Americans (46 percent of the US population) have experimented with the use of illicit substances. Of these, more than 20 million (8.3 percent of the population) self-identify as "current" or "monthly" users of illicit drugs, and more than 10 million Americans say that they've operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of an illicit substance in the past year. These totals, while far from negligible, suggest that the prevalence of illicit drug use among US drivers is far less than the prevalence of alcohol among this same population. (4)

This statement directly addresses the concern I express in this argument. 10 million people have operated a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana. And it is NOT yet legal. So it must be assumed that if it were to be legalized this number would go up. This causes a direct threat to the safety of everyone on the road. Any government trying to protect its citizens should recognize this and make sure NOT to legalize marijuana.

CONTENTION 3: Legalizing Marijuana Would Increase the Illegal Use of Marijuana

As evidenced by Colorado, legalizing marijuana comes with certain bi-laws restricting the amount any person can carry and grow. If we compare marijuana to gambling, we see a trend. Since the legalization of gambling, illegal gambling has increased.

CNBC makes the following statement:

Legalized gambling has not reduced illegal gambling in the United States; rather, it has increased it. This is particularly evident in sports gambling, most of which is illegal. Legal gambling is taxed and regulated and illegal gambling is not. Legal gambling sets the stage for illegal gambling just the way legal marijuana would set the stage for illegal marijuana trafficking.

The gambling precedent suggests strongly that illegal drug suppliers would thrive by selling more potent marijuana products outside of the legal channels that would be taxed and otherwise restricted. If marijuana were legalized, the only way to eliminate its illegal trade, which is modest in comparison to that of cocaine, would be to sell marijuana untaxed and unregulated to any willing buyer. (5)

This article describes not only how legalizing marijuana could lead to an increase in its illegal use, but also that its illegal use could become more dangerous. If it were made more potent, the cancer-causing agents would increase, its negatives impacts would increase as well making it even more dangerous. Both of these are reasons that a government should make sure that it stays illegal.

For these reasons and many more, I urge an affirmative vote.

====================================

Evidence:

1 - http://www.drugabuse.gov...
2 - http://www.drugfreeworld.org...
3 - http://watsonville.patch.com...
4 - http://norml.org...
5 - http://www.cnbc.com...
michaelperry13

Con

I believe that marijuana would economically stabilize the United States, improve the lives of cancer patients, lower the crime rate of the US by severing our bonds with foreign drug cartels, and make it so we wouldn't have to waste our important police forces on arresting people for possession.

First off, marijuana would be a major cash crop in the United States if it were legalized. In Colorado, in just the FIRST WEEK of being legal, the marijuana sales exceeded 5 million dollars. (1) Because it is estimated that 100 million people in the United States have used marijuana, and it's obvious that they aren't all lifetime criminals, it would be a good plan to just legalize it. (2) That way, the United State's government will be able to collect the hefty tax that comes with marijuana being purchased legally. This will make America lots of money, and get our economy moving like no other new product could.

Now, I would like to point out that because many studies have been done that show marijuana "causes cancer," and many other studies have been done that show that marijuana doesn't cause cancer, that that means that there is no CONCLUSIVE proof that marijuana causes cancer. There have been studies that suggest otherwise, therefore it is not valid to just reference random studies. In fact, there have been a SUBSTANTIAL amount of studies that prove just the opposite, that marijuana can CURE cancer. (3) In fact, here are 20 studies that prove that cancer cells can be killed by the use of cannabis.

I would also like to say that marijuana does not cause nearly as much cancer as cigarettes do. There has NEVER been a documented cases of lung cancer caused my marijuana, and I'm sure you know that 80-90% of lung cancer cases are caused by cigarettes, and an estimated 159,480 people died last year because of it. (4) (5) (6)

Like I also said before, legalizing marijuana in the United States would help us distance ourselves from the drug cartels of different countries. In fact, a think tank in Mexico released that if JUST Colorado, Oregon and Washington legalized marijuana, the drug cartel's earnings would go down 30%. (7) Because the marijuana would be domestically grown if it were legalized in the United States, we could essentially completely cut Mexican and Colombian drug cartels out of the picture. This would lower the crime rate, and make our citizens safer.

My last statement is just simply a fact. If we made it legal to use marijuana, we wouldn't have to waste our valuable police forces on arresting college kids for carrying marijuana... they could concern themselves with much more important business. This would also make our streets safer, because the police forces would be more focused on things that mattered.

Because I have shown you that there is no conclusive evidence that marijuana causes cancer (in fact evidence of the opposite,) that legalizing marijuana would stabilize the US economically by creating a brand new industry, and that through distancing ourselves from foreign drug cartels and keeping our police forces on the important issues, our citizens will be safer, I urge a vote for con.

(1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
(2) http://norml.org...
(3) http://www.collective-evolution.com...
(4) http://patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com...
(5) http://www.lung.org...
(6) http://seer.cancer.gov...
(7) http://www.cbsnews.com...
Debate Round No. 2
TheNorseman007

Pro

Alright, so let's take a look at your case.

You first claim that marijuana could become a major cash crop. I am not going to deny this. However, that alone is not enough to legalize it. You never disregarded my statement that a government is obligated to protect its people. So, if marijuana still poses a threat to the people, the benefits of selling do not outweigh the safety costs of legalizing it. Basically, if I can prove marijuana is still harmful, this contention can be disregarded.

You address my first contention by saying there is no CONCLUSIVE evidence to prove that marijuana causes cancer, and that there is a substantial amount of research to show it cures cancer. While that may be true, you never address my full contention. That was merely one of the reasons marijuana is harmful, but if you look back at my argument, I have evidence that it also increases accidents, lowers life satisfaction and increases job turnover.

Then, you say that legalizing it would severe our ties with drug cartels. However, in my case I showed how legalizing marijuana would increase illegal activities related to it. As you never refuted that it must be assumed that you agree with it. Therefore, this contention of yours can also be disregarded.

Finally, you say that if we legalize marijuana we won't have to waste police on possession charges. The police don't focus on marijuana possession charges. If there is a bigger case, they will focus on that. So your argument contains a logical fallacy.

For these reasons, I still urge an affirmative vote.
michaelperry13

Con

My opponent says that "I never refuted" some of his cases, and ignores the structure of his own debate. I was told that I couldn't attack his cases in the second round, so I did not. Because of this, I will take up this round to make all of my statements completely clear. I also apologize that some of this may be disorganized. It threw me off that my opponent didn't abide by the rules of his own debate by criticizing my arguments.

My opponent agrees that marijuana would be a cash crop. This means he agrees that by means of marijuana's legalization, the United States would be better as a result. He then continues to say that I "disregarded [his] statement that a government is obligated to protect its people." Although that is true to some degree, our government is also supposed to give people a choice. If the government's ONLY duty was to keep everyone safe, we would have outlawed alcohol and cigarettes decades ago! They have been proven to be much more dangerous than marijuana, yet they remain legal.

My opponent cites a CNBC article that supposedly proves that legalizing marijuana would have the same effect on our citizens as legalizing gambling. The article makes this statement:
"Legalized gambling has not reduced illegal gambling in the United States; rather, it has increased it. This is particularly evident in sports gambling, most of which is illegal. Legal gambling is taxed and regulated and illegal gambling is not. Legal gambling sets the stage for illegal gambling just the way legal marijuana would set the stage for illegal marijuana trafficking."

HOWEVER, this source makes a claim, but does not cite a source. No where in the article could I find a source that showed that the numbers of illegal gamblers has gone up. I read the article cited by CNBC (MacCoun & Reuter, 2001) and it does not even reference the fact that illegal gambling has increased since the legalization of (some) gambling.

My opponent says "You address my first contention by saying there is no CONCLUSIVE evidence to prove that marijuana causes cancer, and that there is a substantial amount of research to show it cures cancer. While that may be true, you never address my full contention." My opponent has just agreed that marijuana is not necessarily bad for people. Therefore, the whole argument of "the government must protect its people" is dead now. Legalizing marijuana would not do anything to hurt the people.

Because he agrees on this front, he instead moves on to say that it would have other negative effects, which I will address later on.

Let's make something clear. It is the person's choice whether to use marijuana! Cigarettes are harmful, much much more so than marijuana, yet they are legal. If a person does not want to use marijuana, they don't have to! However, that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be available for the other people that DO want it. Because when I said that there is substantial proof that marijuana can cure cancer, and you agreed with me, that means that you agree that marijuana DOES have positive effects on a population. You said it yourself. Therefore, the people that don't want to use marijuana don't have to, and the people that want it and need it can get it.

Because of these reasons, you cannot use "absences, tardiness, lower life satisfaction, and job turnover" as a reason for not legalizing. It is the person's choice.

I also disagree with your assertion that legalization would increase accidents. You cite a source, that IN ITSELF, says this:
"Survey data indicates that approximately 112 million Americans (46 percent of the US population) have experimented with the use of illicit substances. Of these, more than 20 million (8.3 percent of the population) self-identify as "current" or "monthly" users of illicit drugs, and more than 10 million Americans say that they've operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of an illicit substance in the past year. These totals, while far from negligible, suggest that the prevalence of illicit drug use among US drivers is far less than the prevalence of alcohol among this same population."

This source says that the use of marijuana and then driving is FAR LESS than the prevalence of alcohol among this same population! Your own source says that it's not nearly as bad as alcohol. You even quoted it in the debate.

Don't you think the correct precautions and laws would be put into place to combat high driving? If there were incredible fines imposed on the first offense of high driving, less people would do it.

In conclusion, the amount of high drivers would be too insignificant of a problem for it to be addressed in this debate.

I have now addressed my opponent's "full contention," abiding by the rules he set for this debate.

Then, you make the statement that "...So it must be assumed that if it were to be legalized this number would go up."

Do you have ANY proof for that? Why should the number go up? You make a statement, but cannot give any evidence that what you say would actually happen. This has to be PROVED, because you have the burden of proof. If it cannot be proven, the points go to con.

My opponent does not deny that legalizing marijuana would sever our ties with drug cartels.

I'd like to point out that my opponent has in NO way shown that legalizing marijuana would increase illegal activities related to it, unless my opponent is referring to the fact that "illegal use would increase" or that "there would be more accidents."
I have shown that there is no proof that illegal use would increase (because he has in no way cited a useful source.)

He also has not proven that legalization would lead to more use of illegal marijuana. I don't even understand how this can be said. All he has done to prove his point is compare the situation to gambling, and a parallel can NOT be made between the two.

I have now refuted your arguments that relate to

I'm sure there would still be people that would stick it to the man and not want to pay a tax, but the majority of people, as we both know, would rather follow the law. We could simply impose even larger fines for the illegal use of marijuana to scare people off, but it would not be necessary.

Unless my opponent PROVES DEFINITIVELY that the legalization of marijuana would increase illegal use of marijuana (which it would not,) the points go to con.

My opponent uses the slippery slope fallacy when saying that legalization would increase the potency of illegal marijuana.
It would? Prove it.

And I have proven that alcohol causes more accidents than marijuana. There were over 10,000 DUI deaths in the United States in 2012. (1) My opponent has not shown that there are a significant amount of deaths caused by high drivers.

Your statement about police not focusing on marijuana possession charges is very uninformed. There were 12,196,959 arrests related to marijuana last year. That's one arrest every 42 seconds. You can't possibly say that that constitutes "not focusing on marijuana possession charges." Because I have proved that they DO waste time on marijuana possession charges, the statement stands. (2) It is NOT a logical fallacy, it is FACT.

My opponent has agreed that marijuana can have positive effects (economically) (health-wise. Even legalization medically is legalization.) My opponent has effectively agreed that legalization would sever our ties to drug cartels of other counties, and I have shown that police would be able to focus on the larger cases than possession if marijuana were legalized. I have shown that marijuana related deaths are slim to none. Because the use of marijuana is a choice, it can not be brought up that people would have personal problems as a result of marijuana legalization.
For all of these reasons, I urge a vote for con.

(1) http://www.madd.org...
(2) http://www.usnews.com...
Debate Round No. 3
TheNorseman007

Pro

TheNorseman007 forfeited this round.
michaelperry13

Con

My opponent has not posted an argument, so I will interpret that as a concession.

This was an interesting debate and I wish we could have gone more in depth on the issue.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by michaelperry13 3 years ago
michaelperry13
That's all right! It was lots of fun.
Posted by TheNorseman007 3 years ago
TheNorseman007
Sorry I didn't post an argument for round 4. I was making an LD case for a real tournament. Excellent debate..your a great debater!
Posted by Voxol 3 years ago
Voxol
Marijuana is going to really help out the economy since the Gov't can put high taxes on it.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
TheNorseman007michaelperry13Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Despite the forfeit, Con barely wins this debate in my estimation. Pro's arguments about health harms still stand by the end, and I feel that his arguments about ensuring public safety are still prominent. The only reason these don't net him the round is because Con makes barely sufficient arguments against them, essentially negating the cancer point and stating that alcohol and tobacco are worse. If that latter argument had been enhanced by saying "a government should not be acting hypocritically," then it probably would have gone away completely, but that link is missing. I get the idea that crime rates might go down, but there's some uncertainty here. Con barely wins due to a lack of warrants on Pro's part. Taxation seems a decent benefit, but I'd like to see where that money is likely to go. I don't see any reasons at all why freedom to do a given drug is so important, so I end up balancing these, and Con only barely edges it out. Conduct goes to Con due to FF.