The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Legalization of Marijuana

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,811 times Debate No: 49770
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




I tried to have a debate on this issue once and my opponent forfeited so I am trying again.

Pro (me) will be arguing for the legalization of marijuana for those 21 and older (as it is for alcohol in the United States). I will not be arguing in favor of any other regulations besides the age limit.

Con will be arguing against the legalization of marijuana.

Con is to start his/her argument in round 1.



Decriminalization of marijuana would be detrimental to society. The negative effects come in four main forms:
1.) Marijuana can cause permanent braincell loss.
2.) Driving while high is already a problem in Colorado.
3.) Marijuana is already known as a gateway drug. Legalizing it will only cause more people to want to explore hard drugs.
4.) Marijuana makes people someone they're not by altering brain chemicals, thus dehumanizing them.
Sources will be used in the next round when these arguments are explained.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to Con for accepting my debate.


to Points 1 and 4

Your assertions that marijuana can cause permanent brain cell loss and that it can alter brain chemicals, regardless of their accuracy, are irrelevant to this debate. For one thing, both of these assertions are true for plenty of other legal things, perhaps most notably alcohol. [1] People are going to do risky things like consume alcohol and marijuana, and it is not the government's role to protect people from themselves and what they choose willingly to put into their own bodies. If it was, we would have to succumb to outright authoritarianism, where the government could dictate how we ate, drank, slept, etc.

to Point 2

Driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana are both illegal. If your solution to the problem of people driving under the influence is to ban the substance(s) they are using, then you would have to ban alcohol as well, and we both know that alcohol prohibition caused gang violence & murder (the Al Capones) and didn't stop people from drinking.

To Point 3

A study by the Journal of School Health showed that although the idea of a “gateway drug” is accurate, the blame should not be put so heavily on marijuana, but on alcohol. The study showed that alcohol was the gateway drug, and that students who used it were far more likely to use other drugs in the future. [2]


1. The dangers of marijuana, while potentially real, are irrelevant to this debate. The reason for this is twofold:

First, while it seems intuitive that legalization of drugs would lead to more drug abuse, in many cases use remained the same and in some cases it even decreased following legalization. Portugal is a great example; over a decade ago, they decriminalized all drugs and since then have seen a 50% reduction in drug abuse. [3] This means that potential dangers of marijuana should cause us to advocate more strongly for its legalization in order to reduce its use.

Second, it is not the responsibility of the government to protect people from themselves. For example, while I personally think eating fast food is unhealthy in the same way that I think smoking marijuana is unhealthy, I am not going to have the government tell someone else what they can and cannot put into their bodies because they own their own bodies.

2. The war on drugs has caused incredible amounts of violence and death. Prohibition on marijuana causes the existence of drug cartels and gang violence, in the same way that the prohibition on alcohol did. Legalizing marijuana would put any cartel dependent on the marijuana black market out of business.

3. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This is largely due to drug related arrests, with almost 2 million drug abuse violation arrests per year. More then 80% of these arrests are for possession, and not sale or manufacture. [4] A lot of money that could be saved by not having to imprison almost 1% of the population.

4. Marijuana has plenty of uses besides getting high. In fact, there are several strains of marijuana that contain little or no THC that could be and were once grown in the United States for a ton of other purposes. It can be used to make textiles (clothes, shoes, fabrics, canvas, net, rope), paper, building materials (cement, insulation, etc), food (margarine, vitamins, cooking oils, granola), hygiene products (soap, shampoo, lotion, etc), and industrial products (paints, varnishes, inks, lubricants, abrasive chemicals, etc). There is also incredible untapped potential in the medical benefits of marijuana. Many people with epilepsy have already benefited incredibly from the use of marijuana, and doctors are calling for permission to do more research into it. [5] Non-psychoactive cannabinoids have also demonstrated the ability to kill cancerous cells in patients with leukemia. [6] Keeping marijuana illegal is therefore preventing an incredible number of patients from getting treatment, holding back potentially lifesaving research, and shutting down potentially vibrant markets for marijuana's many other uses.










In your response to points 1 and 4, your argument is a stretch. Of course people are going to make bad decisions and there are certain places the government has conceded (like with alcohol) and rightly so. The difference between alcohol and marijuana is that alcohol is less likely to cause long-term damage on your body and has no chance of causing long-term damage on your brain, unlike marijuana. In no way is outlawing drugs for the good of the people authoritarian nor will it lead to such rule.

In your response to point 2, again, it's not about getting rid of the problem so much as it is about cutting the losses. The point is, drunk driving is such a problem already that police don't need to deal with driving while high on top of that.

Responses to Arguments

1.) The dangers of marijuana are absolutely relevant to this debate just as the side effects of medication are relevant to the approval process of the FDA. However, I do not wish to start a debate within a debate so we will let the audience decide if they should be concerned with the legalization of something that makes people stupid.

To your first point in which you reference Portugal, I find those statistics very interesting. However, it makes one wonder if the government increased spending in anti-drug campaigns. Making people learn the hard way is an option but not necessarily one that provides for the general welfare of the people, which the U.S. government is required to do. Whether this issue falls under the government's jurisdiction is another matter, but I believe in this case it is.

Fast food and other unhealthy things do not parallel well with marijuana. Marijuana changes people, with long-term use permanently, which has an impact on society as a whole. Smoking in public places has been banned for the same reasons. Parents did not want their kids to see people smoking as frequently. So too could one claim that parents to not want to see people high or smoking weed in public because weed is unhealthy for your mind and causes you to act differently, something that parents probably wouldn't want their kids to see.

2.) Yes, legalizing things reduces crime, but there is a fine line in this train of thought. Legalizing prostitution or theft would reduce crime as well but only because the definition of crime has changed. Even separate from that argument, what would be the cost for legalizing such activity? One must consider the whole picture and impact it would have on society. Cartels would also take a major hit by a one-time heavy investment in not a fence, but a wall at the southern border to prevent trafficking and a domestic emphasis on control and cultural change.

3.) {The first response here could also be applied to #2}. First, the incarceration rate would go down even more by making many more things illegal. Why don't we do it? Because it would be ultimately detrimental to society. Instead, we need a change in order to create a culture that sees the damage caused by substance abuse which can be done without letting people play "trial and error" by decriminalizing marijuana. The second solution to this problem is instead of putting people in prison, enroll them in rehabilitation programs (probably even outpatient for minor offenses) instead of throwing them in jail. This principle is being used in other countries for a wide range of crimes and drug crime would be a perfect avenue to start trying that method here in the U.S.

4.) Absolutely, marijuana has untapped potential. My only objection is to any and all use that damages brain cells and makes people high. There are pills that will hopefully be on the market soon that are THC-free. Other species of the plant with no THC should also be allowed for other uses. My only objection is to using marijuana that inhibits a person's mind.

All things considered, it is not rational, wise, or honorable to use drugs recreationally for the purpose of getting high and the government is right in making such activity and the substances through which said purposes are achieved illegal.
Debate Round No. 2


My argument was not a stretch. Not only is your assertion that “alcohol is less likely to cause long-term damage on your body and has no chance of causing long-term damage on your brain” unsupported and false ([1]), but it still remains irrelevant because you have not demonstrated that prohibition decreases use (and I have demonstrated that it can even increase use). Also, if the government is to determine its policies on the premise that its responsibility is to prevent people from doing things that could cause themselves harm, then it does indeed imply authoritarianism because the government would have to ensure, among many other things, that everyone remains on a government-approved maximum of things like grams of fat, percentage of trans fat, percentage of saturated fat, grams of non-complex carbohydrates (sugars), etc.

Your point about police not needing to deal with people driving while high since they already have to deal with people drunk driving is null and void because it assumes both that marijuana use would increase in general and that marijuana use while driving would increase. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 11 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers who were pulled over tested positive for illicit drugs. [2] People are already driving under the influence of drugs and you cannot presume that legalizing marijuana will increase the number of people already doing so.

1. You assert that the dangers of marijuana are relevant, but you didn't actually refute my argument that they are not. Rather, you merely contradicted me and moved on. The fact is, marijuana's dangers are only relevant if you can demonstrate that legalizing marijuana would increase its use, which you have not done.

The dangers that you did elaborate, however, are untrue. You argued that unlike fast food, marijuana changes people permanently after long-term use, which has an impact on society as a whole. This couldn't be more untrue of fast food, which is a big contributor to the obesity epidemic in the United States today. To argue that marijuana is having a worse impact on society than fast food is simply dishonest.

Your final point here was that parents wouldn't want their kids to see public smoking of marijuana. This is somewhat of a separate discussion, since tobacco use is legal but prohibited in public in many areas. However, in either case, it is the responsibility of the parent to allow their child to see or not see someone smoking in public.

2. You argue that legalizing prostitution or theft would reduce crime as well but only because the definition of crime has changed. This is a false comparison, however, because legalizing marijuana would not reduce crime simply because the definition has changed. Rather, crime would be reduced because there would be less gang violence and murder. Both before and after the legalization, murder and violence would be criminal.

Also, drug cartels would find ways around a wall at the southern border. The only way to put them out of business is to eliminate their black market. That's how we got rid of the gang violence from the Al Capones, and that's the only way we're going to get rid of the violence from drug gangs.

3. You provide a solution consisting of enrollment in rehabilitation programs as an alternative to putting someone in jail. Ironically, this is the definition of decriminalization (the abolition of criminal penalties), which is the word you have been using to describe what you are arguing against.

4. I am glad we agree that THC-free strains of cannibis should be legal. However, currently the United States government makes no distinction between the many strains, which is an important note to be aware of when stating that you support the prohibition of cannibis.

Your final point is that “it is not rational, wise, or honorable to use drugs recreationally for the purpose of getting high”. I agree with such a statement, but like I have said, such a statement is utterly irrelevant to our debate. Your argument presumes both that it is the government's responsibility to prohibit self-endangering behavior and that government prohibition will be effective in reducing such a behavior. Both of these things are untrue, as I have argued and demonstrated.

Thanks to Con for the debate!





elwpolitics forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by elwpolitics 7 years ago
I apologize for being unable to finish this debate within the allotted time. I appreciate peacenow for his time and arguments.
Posted by qw 7 years ago
i am with pro since marijuana helped a mother save her child who kept having seizures heres the link : , although it should be used only for medicinal value
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Finalfan 7 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: I'm sorry but this was a feeble attempt at justifying the legalization of marijuana. Pro dominated in every category especially since con forfeited his last round! Pro did a great job at illustrating the benefits to legalization while con used refer madness logic. I especially liked how he said Alcohol does not have long term damage on the brain and body. What he meant to say was alcohol destroys the brain and body much faster !

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