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Legalization of Marijuana

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,269 times Debate No: 15050
Debate Rounds (3)
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I would like to argue for the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use within the United States. First of all, as many states such as California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Michigan, Maryland, Hawaii, And the District of Columbia, as well as a handful of other states within the US have legislation approving the use of medical marijuana for different types of patients. This shows that there are legitimate benefits in using marijuana. I am also arguing for the use of marijuana for recreational purposes because of the fact that it can generate an extremely large tax revenue for our country and will help to relieve some of the stress and tension that our national debt has put on individual taxpayers. NORML.COM ( National Organization for Marijuana Legalization) has examined many surveys of the daily and yearly usage of marijuana in the united states and states that between 2.2 and 6.4 billion dollars could be generated from the legalization and taxation of marijuana within the United States. It is no secret to anyone that the current restrictions in place prohibiting the use and distribution of marijuana within the United States are not effective, with the legalization of this drug our government would be able to gain a better control over who can produce marijuana, what chemicals and substances can be used to produce it, who can use the substance, where it can be purchased, and where and when. To anyone who looks at this topic objectively it is easy to see that this is a much safer system for the production and distribution of this product that what is in place today in which a buyer does not really know what they are buying, and the government does not have a share in the revenue that is generated. One more reason that I believe the use, distribution, and production of marijuana should be legalized and regulated within the United States is that the harsh criminal penalties imposed on otherwise harmless offenders of these outdated laws creates a burden on all of society. A portion of our hard earned tax dollars are used by our government to fund the increasingly expensive process of convicting these people and housing them in over crowded prisons. The FBI stated that in 2009 there were 858,408 arrests for marijuana violations within the united states and I feel that the resources and man power used for these violations can be allocated much more efficiently in finding and prosecuting other criminals.


I will not argue that marijuana used in a medical environment can be useful in treating cancer. But, there is no justification in making it legal for recreational use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana affects many major body systems in a detrimental way. It causes your heart rate to increase by 20-100% shortly after smoking this causes a person to have more than a 4 times higher chance of having a heart attack. Marijuana also affects the lungs because they contain 50-70% more carcinogens then tobacco causing deregulated growth of cells in lungs leading to lung cancer. A study of 450 marijuana users that do not smoke tobacco concluded that people who smoke marijuana have more respiratory health problems. Now to the immune system, marijuana has been shown to impede the bodies ability to fight infection this means more people will get sick and more people will die. Now for the mind, marijuana has been shown to cause many mental disorders, including acute toxic psychosis, panic attacks, flashbacks, delusions, depersonalization, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, and uncontrollable aggressiveness. Marijuana has triggered attacks of mental illness, bipolar (manic-depressive) psychosis and schizophrenia. Can the government ever justify the legalization of a drug which has been shown to be so harmful to the body for recreational use? Currently marijuana is illegal throughout the United States for a good reason. Mexican Drug Cartels are responsible for most of the selling of marijuana in the United States. This is a 150-200 billion dollar business they have finances. If marijuana was legalized one of two things would happen first, nothing. The United States would have to tax their marijuana this means that prices would be higher than buying from the drug dealers. The psychology of the buyer is that people will buy something that is cheaper over the more expensive deal. Or the other option is that drug dealers lose revenue and begin selling more lethal drugs such as heroin or methamphetamines.
Debate Round No. 1


First I want to address the concerns you raised addressing the effects of smoking marijuana on the lungs and the respiratory system. While smoking anything is damaging to the lungs and this could deter many people from approving the use of marijuana for recreational purposes there is an alternative. Using a Vaporizer to consume marijuana eliminates the actual inhalation of smoke which is the cause of many of the toxins and carcinogens that will enter the users system. Vaporizers heat marijuana only to around 180-200 degrees Celsius which causes the psycho-active ingredients (THC) to boil and vaporize without combustion occurring. This offers the user a much more pure and clean way to feel the effects of smoking the marijuana without most of the carcinogens and toxins. Secondly, you mentioned a study of 450 marijuana smokers that do not smoke tobacco products, a survey measuring the differences between the respiratory effects of marijuana smoke compared to that of tobacco smoke should have a much larger sample size then just 450 people and should contain people who only smoke marijuana, only smoke cigarettes, and who smoke both. This will give a better understanding of the different effects, if any. Also on the topic of this survey did it mention what the preferred method of smoking marijuana was for these people? As stated before using a vaporizer will yield different results for the user than if they smoke using joint papers or blunt wraps. As far as the mental side effects that you spoke of, did you find a study that stated these side effects and if so did it speak on the level of use for the people who experienced theses side effects or there mental background? Of course if people abuse the drug it can have these side effects and alter a persons state of mind, much like how people who abuse alcohol or prescription drugs experience tremendous mental or personality changes. It can also be said that the people who experienced these symptoms were prone to experiencing them or already were experiencing these problems and sub consciously began using marijuana in order to self medicate and help them deal with there emotional problems. You say that marijuana is illegal for a good reason but nothing that you brought up in your argument that I have addressed so far is exclusive to marijuana. Smoking cigarettes and cigars is clearly extremely damaging to a persons health and to my knowledge serves no benefit to society but it is still legal. Drinking alcohol causes many mental side effects on the people who use it such as addiction but it is legal. All of the possible health related side effects of smoking marijuana that you listed can be found in many other products which are legal within the United States. As far as the Mexican drug cartels you say supply our country with marijuana, legalizing the product would most likely eliminate them from the market. Marijuana if legalized would become a corporate industry which is heavily regulated. This would provide the buyers with a much better idea of what they are actually buying, increasing their incentive to purchase from a legitimate distributor. Think about it, would you rather buy a TV from wal-mart or from someone you don't really know as a legitimate person? Also legalizing marijuana would allow for companies and investors to develop and research the product so that it can be manufactured at the highest quality for the lowest cost, which is an advantage that small time drug dealers do not have access too. Secondly just because it will be taxed does not mean that the price will go up for the end user. Much of what makes up the cost of a bag of marijuana today is strictly due to the risk that the producers and dealers are presented with in avoiding law enforcement. Once marijuana is made legal all of those costs will be done away with. Finally, Legalizing marijuana will not have any effect on whether or not people are selling heroin or meth-amphetamines; people who are into those drugs will be into them regardless of whether or not pot is legal.


Thank you for your argument. And I will answer it with six points.

1) Marijuana is often used as a stepping-stone drug, leading to heroin, cocaine, or other harder drugs.
According to studies made by institutions such as the NIDA Marijuana users use it thinking it is harmless. It causes a "high" and then a bigger "high" is needed to have an effect so people turn to harder drugs such as LSD, cocaine and heroin. People generally do not start with harder drugs but, marijuana emboldens people to do so.

2) Stoned driving and other dangers would be increased.
Marijuana is not a victimless crime because many crimes are committed when under the influence of drugs. Drunk driving is still a major problem in our society despite all the education and stiff penalties. Alcohol is legal. But, driving drunk is easy to detect and to stop. If someone is "driving high" it would be harder to detect. There is no distinctive breath odor from someone driving while under the influence of marijuana. There is also the possibility that the lapse of judgement caused by marijuana will cause felonies to be committed.

3) Legalization would increase the chances of the drug falling into the hands of kids.
Even unhealthy legal items such as cigarettes and alcohol are prohibited from being sold to kids. This is because kids generally don't exhibit the same reasoning, responsibility, and judgment of an adult. And their bodies aren't as equipped to handle the intake of these substances. The problem is even worse for marijuana use. Developing brains and bodies can be dealt serious blows by the use of marijuana. Any time you make something legal, you increase the accessibility to children. All too often kids and teenagers get their hands on alcohol or cigarettes. We shouldn't let the same thing happen with marijuana.

4) Because of drug-related arrests, people who have committed or are likely to commit more serious crimes can be taken off the streets.
People who produce, sell, traffic, or use illegal drugs have already established themselves as people who will break the law. Anyone who commits drug-related felonies isn't likely to be constrained in committing other felonies, such as robbery, rape, murder, etc. If such people are in prison because of drug charges, they aren't able to go out and commit other crimes. Also, it often occurs that there isn't enough evidence to imprison felons for the serious crimes like murder; however, if they can be imprisoned for something, society is much better off. At a minimum, they will be off the streets, unable to wreak more havoc.

5) Physical damage would be done to users that abuse the drug
Although some studies have been disputed, marijuana abuse has been tied to brain damage, cancer, lung damage, depression, amotivational syndrome, and even death. The brain damage has been shown to cause memory loss and difficulty in problem solving. It is the governments duty to protect the public from such dangerous drugs. After all, that's why the FDA was created.

6) More widespread use would increase the dangers of secondhand smoke-damage to bystanders
The dangers of secondhand cigarette smoke are well-publicized. Common sense tells us that more widespread usage of marijuana increases the likelihood that other people would suffer the damage of inhaling other people's smoke. Public places like bars would expose innocent patrons. In the home siblings, roommates, kids, and spouses would all face increased exposure. Thus, the health damage to society becomes somewhat exponential.

The government has a responsibility to protect citizens of the United States from dangerous things such as marijuana.

In your argument you mentioned something called a "vaporizer". Could you not say that more people would use other methods which are considerably easier to use like paper wraps or bongs?
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your response. Addressing your first point about marijuana leading users towards the use of other drugs, while many people use this as their main point in arguing against marijuana it is actually a myth. The relationship you are speaking of is more of a correlation than a causal relationship. Marijuana is the most popular and in many cases the easiest drug to get within the United States, while other drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, or LSD are less common and are not used by nearly as many people. The fact is that people who use these uncommon drugs are likely to have used marijuana at some time in their life. It is simply a myth that people who use marijuana will eventually want to use other drugs. While I will admit that detecting marijuana in the system of a driver is a tricky subject, a blood test will be able to tell with the highest level of accuracy in order to determine whether or not the driver had marijuana in their system and how long it was there for. Urine samples would also show if a driver had marijuana in their system but the problem with that is that a small amount of marijuana can be detectable through urine for quite a long time. For your third point you stated that legalizing marijuana would make it easier for children to gain access to the drug but I actually feel that the opposite would happen. In legalizing marijuana within our borders our government can also control better who it will be sold too. Drug dealers today do not need to ask for an I.D. from the person they are selling weed too but if it were sold in stores those people would have to verify the age of the person attempting to purchase it. With that our government could instate a zero tolerance policy; meaning that any distributor caught selling marijuana to minors would face heavy fines, imprisonment, and completely lose the right to distribute the drug. Considering the fact that legalizing marijuana presents a great deal of business to these distributors they will take the necessary precautions to do everything they can to keep marijuana out of the hands of children. Considering your fourth point, I feel that using marijuana charges to keep people who are suspected of committing other crimes is a complete violation of their rights and that is not how our legal system works. If there is not enough evidence to convict someone of a crime than using harsh penalties for marijuana related charges to keep them off the streets is completely immoral. If there is not proper and sufficient evidence that these people committed the crimes; maybe it is because they did not commit the crime, regardless of whether or not they bought or sold marijuana. Selling marijuana may be a crime, for now, within the United States but it is not an automatic sign that these people will commit other crimes and our government can not enforce harsh penalties simply because it is believed that this will prevent these people from committing murder or rape. For your fifth point I can only say that if it is our government job to prevent us from harmful substances than our government is quite hypocritical in allowing the sale of tobacco, alcohol, and even caffeine but not that of marijuana. Personally I would rather the government not make my decisions for me and instead educate myself decide how to live my life. Considering the fact that hard evidence exists that marijuana does have potentially positive effects on users and the fact that the negative effects that you have brought up in this debate are not exclusive to marijuana; I see no reason why our government has not over turned the laws against the use of Marijuana. I believe that our government does have the responsibility to protect the citizens of the United States but that responsibility should not take away the freedom to choose what or what not to put into our bodies.


THEBOMB forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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