I accept this challenge, and wish my opponent good luck.
This is a common tactic in debates used by those who oppose the legalization of marijuana. It is a diversion, and one that side-tracks the argument off into another tangent, and rather a new topic of whether all drugs should be legalized because they may or may not be safer than alcohol. I choose not participate in another subject because the argument of whether marijuana should be legalized is enough of a discussion in itself and one that Guidestone agreed to participate in by his acceptance of my challenge on the subject of marijuana legalization at debate dot org.
Since marijuana, or "cannabis", is a schedule I controlled substance by federal law, it is deemed a drug with no medical potential. Therefore, scientific researchers unfortunately cannot easily study cannabis so that scientific research can be conducted in a fair and conducive setting. But, many prominent doctors are beginning to become more open to the notion that is has tremendous potential for a number of ailments. In fact, preliminary research suggests that it has promise for many neurological disorders like epilepsy. Other preliminary data suggests curative/preventative properties for diabetes type II, and, the big one, cancer. Rather, the data is suggesting that marijuana actually has protective qualities and is bringing hope to those sticken with terrible diseases in medical marijuana states that have access to it's active and non-psycho active properties when no other "legal" drugs have made a difference(1).
But when we have confirmed scientific evidence that alcohol is indeed more dangerous than marijuana, then I would argue there is definitively something morally wrong with the laws in our society. And by that I mean that if we are to judge those who consume marijuana are wrong in doing so because they are breaking the law, and if those laws are correct that punish those who are found guilty of consuming this substance into their bodies, then it begs this question: Should alcohol also be illegal as well? By many conservative and traditional opinions, ideals and personal principles, and by history itself, we know the answer to be yes. But we also know that alcohol prohibition put power into the hands that were corrupt and that it caused the growth and empowerment of a black market, the mafia and in turn provided a financial basis by which organized crime could flourish(2). Prohibition of alcohol only prevented the government from regulating the industry, making it a safer product, and collected tax revenue from its sales. It didn't stop people from consuming it, and was deemed a failure and eventually repealed. In some cases, it only made it easier for the young to get it, and made it cheaper for others. The prohibition of marijuana is doing essentially the same thing. The drug war against marijuana has made Mexican drug cartels powerful and violent and has failed to end the supply and demand of marijuana. By some estimates, as many as 100,000 people have died in the last decade from Mexican drug cartel territorial wars. Cannabis prohibition has made it easy for children to get it. The consumers have become less resistant, more peaceful and therefore easy targets by drug enforcement agents, resulting in imprisonment of millions of U.S. Citizens, making the United States prison population the biggest of it's entire population than any other modern civilization than of any other on Earth(5). There has been a swift change in the thinking that it currently sweeping the nation. Just this year, Gallup(6) and Pew(7) polls have measured that more Americans now feel that marijuana should be legalized than are against the notion.
It is with this logic that the marijuana laws are changing at the state level. 20 states have enacted medicinal marijuana laws for those with chronic illnesses and 2 states have enacted laws making the recreational use of marijuana legal. The U.S. Justice Department has recently stated they will not interfere with state laws that prevent distribution to minors; revenue from marijuana sales going to criminals, gangs or cartels; state-authorized conduct being a pretext to traffic other illegal drugs or other illegal activity; diversion into states that do not have laws authorizing marijuana conduct; violence or the use of firearms in cultivation and distribution; drugged driving and other harm to public health; the growing of marijuana on public lands; marijuana use on federal property.
My opponent argues that marijuana is a gateway drug and has provided a study to support his statement. But more recent research suggests that more prevalent gateway substances are the legal ones, alcohol and tobacco(4). In this case, it again supports my argument that if one substance is banned, so then should legal ones be banned that are even more influential to try other drugs.
My opponent argues that marijuana use causes health issues. Again, I am not debating whether pot can have potental side effects. I am simply saying that if American society finds alcohol safe enough to legalize, we should not demonize cannabis that is a safer choice, an aspect which Guidestone has not argued. But if we were to go down this road, I will say that there is absolutely no evidence that anyone has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. But, there are thousands of well-documented cases where alcohol has been the sole cause of poisoning and death. And to fairly administrate such a debate solely on specific health aspects, we may not be able to fully complete this discussion until fair, verifiable scientific research on cannabis has been studied and affirmed.
I thank my opponent for his response, but there are some problems with it.
Fact of the matter is, in my rebuttal to your response, I effectively named several solid reasons that marijuana should be legalized. None or little of which you have responded to directly. You have avoided the discussion/issue of cannabis legalization as a whole. Let me reiterate my points in a list fashion that will be easier for you to follow and respond to. And if you wish to challenge any of these statements, let me know and I'll provide data and sources--no problem. But, I don't think any of this is far fetched by any means and in the interest of time and good debate, I'm going to just put it out there:
1) Prohibition of cannabis has been a 1.5 trillion dollar waste of taxpayer money since it began in the 30's.
2) Prohibition of cannabis has proven ineffective in preventing people from getting and consuming it at their whim.
3) Prohibition of cannabis has created a very lucrative black market.
4) Prohibition of cannabis has created and funded very powerful organized crime gangs. cartels and basically what are considered to be terrorists.
5) Prohibition of cannabis has incarcerated millions of non-violent drug offenders, and as a result our nation has locked away more people per capita than any other nation on earth.
6) Ending prohibition will enable government to regulate and tax the sale of it. The revenue generated from those taxes can be used for social programs that help those who abuse it and have problems with it.
7) Ending prohibition will in take the business of distribution away from the organized criminals, in turn taking their power away.
8) Ending prohibition will make it more difficult for children to access cannabis.
9) Ending prohibition will make it easier for serious scientific research to take place that can confirm or deny many medical, wellness and preventative attributes already associated to it. Colorado just within the last 2 days have confirmed they will spend 7 million, half of their marijuana legislative budget on research. This is huge news regardless of which side of the debate you're on.
10) Ending prohibition / regulation of cannabis will create enormous tax revenue. Not incarcerating millions of folks will save billions too. 2014 sales projections are in the 3.4 billion range, which obviously doesn't include states where it is currently illegal.
11) Ending prohibition will enable policy makers to reallocate law enforcement personnel to focus on more important crime issues like terrorists instead of cannabis users.
Your suggestion that we go backwards and prohibit alcohol again and never end prohibition of cannabis is irrational because it already has failed once with alcohol and continues to fail with cannabis. Perhaps you lack understanding or have been influenced of damaging stereotypes that are associated with cannabis users in our popular culture. The fact of the matter is, most cannabis consumers are closet users. They are not the mindless "Spicoli" personalities that everyone associates. Rather, they can be brilliant, intelligent people. You might've heard of these who have either admitted to it or have been caught in the act:
1) Steve Jobs
2) Oprah Winfrey
3) Carl Sagan
4) Morgan Freeman
5) Bill Gates
6) Michael Phelps
7) Barrack Obama
...just to name a few. But, too much of anything can be bad for you. Chronic use of weed specifically can slow down cognitive functioning. Obviously, in support of my argument, I want to focus on the positive aspects. In addition to cannabis' recreational, medical, preventative, curative, wellness / nutritive properties, let's look at the plant and how it could solve many other problems currently facing our country.
An industrial form of cannabis, also known as hemp, is low in the psychoactive ingredient THC, but grows rapidly and produces an enormous amount of substance that can be a replacement for gasoline. In fact, the first automobiles were designed to burn hemp gasoline.
Way back, a man named William Randolf Hearst used his vast media empire to demonize cannabis and ultimately was successful. You might've heard of the "Reefer Madness" era. This period in time the prohibition of alcohol had just ended. It was a new target for the massive law enforcement resources left idle after it's repeal. Have you seen the movie Citizen Cane? Orson Wells played Hearst. Hemp threatened his logging business. By the way, Americans at this point became very good at clear cutting forests everywhere. Yet hemp fiber makes superior textiles (they used to make auto body panels from hemp! They were strong and light too!), clothing (the word "canvas" itself used to be made from cannabis, which is why it starts with "can") and regenerates very rapidly and efficiently. Our constitution was printedwritten on cannabis canvas and the first American flags were made with it. Paper users of today wouldn't be also known as tree killers if we still used hemp. And the paper would be very much better quality of we could grow hemp instead of using our beloved and important trees. Way back them, the superior minds that were considered the fathers of our nation (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, etc) were required to grow hemp. And, hmm-hmm, they most likely smoked it too). They often made royalty payments (aka taxes) to the King in England with hemp instead of currency. Speaking of currency, that too was made from hemp.
Like it or not, this is the direction our country is going. Legalization. Some say it's inevitable. But there still may be time to stop it! Tell me why it should be stopped. I want to hear it.
"Marijuana should be legal because it is safer than alcohol. Yep. That's right. That's just an excellent beginning to an enormous debate that is full of solid reasoning and logic, and has proven challenging for the best in the business."
It is unfortunate that my opponent is deciding to quit on an issue he cares about.
I agree it is impossible to debate someone who is using irrational, non-objective phrases and comments, like a continual use of logical fallacies which you have done twice. When I read the lacking sources comment I did laugh because I am not the one who has made of list of unsourced information. Also, you claimed to find information in sources which it didn't like in round 2 "Also, I want to know where he found that marijuana has "curative/preventative properties for diabetes type II" because not even the word diabetes appears in the article he supposedly got it from." For using "non-objective deductive reasoning" you didn't dispute how it didn't work, so I don't see what is wrong with it. "Using two word responses which have no meaning to specific points" I used one two word response that was "So What?" because you failed to show how that was a problem, so there was a point. As for using "diversionary tactics" see round 2 "How is this not what he considered diversionary. When I follow his logical through on being less harmful than alcohol that is diversionary, but when he follows my logic through that gateway drugs should be banned that is not diversionary. To me this just seems logically inconsistent. I do support smoking and alcohol bans so I am logically consistent." He does the exact same "diversionary tactic" I used.
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