The Instigator
cimone0142
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Sarai.K82
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

legalization of marijuana

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/27/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 330 times Debate No: 81628
Debate Rounds (3)
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cimone0142

Pro

I believe that marijuana should be legal for the benefits it will bring to our towns, county's, cities, and states. Look at Colorado, they received $53 million in tax revenue, and that is increasing I might add. They have a 28% tax rate for marijuana, can you imagine the money we could bring in for our states? The things we could fix with that money, it could go towards education and our schools, fixing up our roadways and improving the failing infrastructure in our states. I live in a small town and we don't have a lot of things, what we have is back roads that ruin our cars, we have schools that barely have money for things we need. We have businesses failing because the economy is going down the toilet. With the amount of people that are growing, smoking, and using marijuana right now, there is no reason marijuana should not be legalized. If people are so afraid of it, lets look at the statistics. In the United States the annual leading cause of death, is tobacco, with 435,000 deaths per year. Poor diet and physical inactivity is next with 365,000 deaths per year. Alcohol kills 85,00 people per year...alcohol impairs your ability to do pretty much anything/everything. Suicide and homicide combined kill on average 50,930 people per year. Marijuana...0, Marijuana has never killed anyone, it has been studied and stated that there is no connection between marijuana and lung cancer. I am not trying to force people to smoke marijuana, I am not saying that everyone should believe in what I believe in, but what I am asking is for you to look at it from my perspective, and about the other 78% that agrees with me. Marijuana is a plant...people have been smoking it for years, decades, even centuries. We should legalize marijuana which has been found to be the safest drug, with no deaths, no effects, no harm, and start putting the hammer down on the drugs that are destroying our cities, my generation, your children, friends, even our country. There are drugs out there that are killing people, 17,000 people I might add, and we are more focused on taking people to jail for smoking a joint. Let's flip a switch, look at it from another perspective, and see the benefits it could bring to our economy, see that we should start putting our fist down on the drugs that are actually killing people, and realize that this plant, this plant that grew in nature, and was used by mankind for many reasons, along with healing and pain relieve, and see that we are literally locking up people for smoking a plant is kind of ridiculous. It should be legal, it will allow us to focus on the things in our country that really need to be focused on. Again, under no circumstance am I trying to persuade anyone to smoke marijuana, my only hope here is for people to see this and for them to look at it from a different perspective. Thank you for reading this, and to put it bluntly, lets legalize Marijuana!
Sarai.K82

Con

Sorry for my delay in responding to this debate, I first needed to do a load of whites and smoke a joint. I appreciate the chance to grapple with you on whether cannabis should be legalized and look forward to our back and forth discussion on the issue.


Your leading argument in favor of legalizing marijuana is the economic benefit the country will see due to increased tax revenue. We actually already have a model for taxation on a legal intoxicant that we can use to hypothesize how taxes on marijuana may work. It’s alcohol.


Currently, about 86% of the people over the age of 18 drink alcohol in the United States. [1] I’m not sure of the exact number but that clocks in somewhere between 130 and 170 million drinkers. State and local governments take in something north of $6 billion a year in tax revenues from alcohol. [2] But we have to balance the gross profit of $6 billion to state governments against the net cost of alcohol misuse, which costs the United States more than $223.5 billion annual. [3] It’s not a net wash.


But you may argue that marijuana is different! People don’t misuse marijuana in the same ways that they do alcohol. So I think it’s important to examine whether there is a legitimate problem with marijuana abuse. The facts show that a significant portion of the people who use marijuana are in fact experiencing clinical problems (defined in the DSM IV as marijuana use disorder) with their use of cannabis. [4] Specifically, as the use of marijuana in the United States has risen from 4.1% to around 9.5%, the percentage of people experiencing clinical signs of addiction has also risen. What the study said is that “… approximately 30 percent of people who used marijuana in the past year met criteria for marijuana use disorder during 2012-2013, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This includes symptoms such as taking the drug in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended by the user; the persistent desire to cut down or control use/unsuccessful efforts to do so; failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home as a result of marijuana use; and tolerance and/or withdrawal.” [5]


My point isn’t that marijuana is evil. But that the tax revenues you see as being the salvation of government come at a cost. This is true whether you’re talking about alcohol, the lottery, or marijuana. Yes, you can raise funds by taxing these items, but you are also going to be spending money to address the problems that are associated with the “drug of choice.” Gambling addiction, driving while impaired, lost work hours they all have to be taken into account. Keep in mind, you are not talking about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, which requires a prescription and has built in controls and some arguable checks to deal with abuse, you are talking about flat out legalizing the drug for all purposes by all people.


As you concede, we know that alcohol impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle. But studies also show that marijuana “significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.” [6] It’s the illicit drug most often found in the blood of people involved in accidents, including fatal ones. So let’s not give marijuana a complete pass. And as you list the number of people who have died for specific reasons, keep in mind that a reason we have limited statistics on marijuana is that it has been illegal. In Colorado, where marijuana use is now for the most part legal, we have already had our first series of deaths relating to the misuse of recreational marijuana. [7]


Look I’m not saying that marijuana is inherently dangerous or a gate way drug to heroin, but I am saying it’s a drug. And like any drug you need to be aware that it can have potent and powerful effects on the human body. If you were arguing for the legalization of marijuana for specific purposes such as medical use, I would be lining up with my picket sign to support you.


But I think marijuana needs to be controlled in the same way you would control any other prescription drug. And I don’t think increased revenue is a winning argument. Like all “sin” taxes, the increased revenue comes at a cost. The argument that locking someone up for “smoking a plant” is disingenuous. Opium is a plant. Alcohol comes from grain.


[1] http://www.niaaa.nih.gov...


[2] http://www.taxpolicycenter.org...


[3] http://www.niaaa.nih.gov...


[4] http://www.scientificamerican.com...


[5] http://www.nih.gov...


[6] https://www.drugabuse.gov...


[7] http://www.cbsnews.com...

Debate Round No. 1
cimone0142

Pro

What is the problem with smoking a plant that makes you happy? I know people who have smoked for years, and they do not have "social impairment" they go to work and school and they work their hardest. If you don't have self control then obviously you should not smoke or do drugs. You shouldn't even drink alcohol. Alcohol is a drug, marijuana is a drug I am not hiding that. You're going with the fact its addicting, ok. But if you're going to say that smoking weed can lead to an addiction then maybe you should think of this. Addiction can be to anything, not just drugs or alcohol...People get addicted to food, tattoos, sex, phones, working out. There are many forms of addiction, and no matter how good it may seem or how bad it may seem, its still an addiction to something, at least with being addicted to smoking marijuana it makes you happy. And coming from a teenagers stand point, this world is pretty shitty, and if you want to call it being "addicted" to it because it makes you feel good, then by all means go with that. But when you want to say it causes a "disorder" that's where you're wrong. Something can only be bad for a person when they abuse it. It has been known that marijuana is the safest known drug, and I do not get why people are so afraid of it. I think that if people look at things from all perspectives and not be so rapid to judge then maybe we could have some new view on this topic. I feel like you made some good points I will say that, but only 9% of cannabis users become addicted, and my guess is its people who have been sheltered their whole life and are being shown something that makes them feel different. Pot is not dangerous, what's dangerous is the other drugs that no one seems to care about, everyone wants to make a huge deal about pot heads, but no one wants to make a difference on the people who are shooting up or snorting the drugs that actually kill people.
Sarai.K82

Con

You ask, “What is the problem with smoking a plant that makes you happy?” If our sole criteria is happiness, there may be no problem. For that matter, Oxycontin and MDMA are better drugs if you want a quick euphoric high. But to determine whether as a matter of public policy we want to remove all legal barriers to the use of a substance, there are other criteria that come into play.


The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently did a comprehensive overview of Colorado marijuana use by adolescent and young adults. [1] According to this study, early marijuana used can have a long term impact on the ability to learn. The study also concluded that marijuana use might trigger underlying psychological problems. [2] While your anecdotal evidence that you personally know people who have smoked for years without any problem carries some weight, it cannot counter the evidence that comes from long-term, scientific study.

I also don’t find persuasive your argument that “if you don’t have self-control” don’t do drugs. A person who lacks self-control isn’t going to be able to abstain from using drug use if there are no controls whatsoever stopping that person. Mind you, if we are talking limited legalization (which we are not here), then the medical marijuana laws do provide some barriers to the uncontrolled use of marijuana via the requirement to obtain a prescription and the legal duties placed on people dispensing medical marijuana.

I also wouldn’t necessarily oppose “decriminalizing” as opposed to legalizing marijuana. Since marijuana has been legalized in marijuana, Colorado has seen increasing trends of poison center calls, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits related to marijuana in Colorado. This date is preliminary, but a three-fold increase in the hospitalization rates for children with possible marijuana exposures is a statistically significant fact. [3]

You point out that there are worse drugs. But we actually do have a tremendous series of programs dedicated to the use and abuse of other drugs such as cocaine and heroin. We have programs set up throughout the United States to deal with alcohol abuse. We have strict controls on the prescription of opiates and other pain killers. No one is giving a “pass” to other drugs. The question is whether the complete legalization of marijuana for use by anyone for any purpose serves society’s interests.

I would suggest not. Certainly, there is no support whatsoever for legalizing marijuana use by teens. The vast majority of public support focuses on the use of marijuana for medical purposes, which is different than the unlimited legalization you support. Don’t get me wrong. Marijuana can be used safely. It can be of great benefit when used to treat a variety of ailments. But it can also be abused. We need laws in place that will address and minimize the potential for abuse.

[1] http://kdvr.com...

[2] http://kdvr.com...

[3] https://drive.google.com...

Debate Round No. 2
cimone0142

Pro

cimone0142 forfeited this round.
Sarai.K82

Con

Pro forfeits. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
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