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

Marijuana should be legal for recreational use

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/14/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 920 times Debate No: 92737
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




This is a debate about whether or not marijuana should be legal for recreational use. My stance is against the use of recreational use. This first round is for acceptance so please post something like "I accept your debate" for round 1. The remaining three rounds are for contention and debate. Legitimate debaters only.


I accept your debate. I have decided not to reveal my opinion, so the fact I'm supporting legalization in this debate does not necessarily reflect my personal stance on the matter.
Debate Round No. 1


Contention 1: Marijuana should not be legal for recreational use because the side effects that are brought by it can be life endangering. One statistic suggests that smoking marijuana can increase one's heart rate by as much as two times for up to three hours.[1] The recreational use of marijuana could endanger the lives of those who may have heart conditions. Another side effect found in marijuana would be from the aspect of smoking the drug. The smoke will cause the lungs to be irritated and may lead to respiratory issues in the future.[2] It can be claimed that marijuana may lower pain of certain cancers and diseases, or even to be used as a medical substance, however I ask that this claim is not brought in as a contention due to the fact that this debate's main focus is regarding the recreation use rather than the medical use. If a doctor feels marijuana can be a healthy medicinal supplement, then that would be a different story. The claim that marijuana can be taxed and help our country make some much needed capital is also invalid given the fact that the health risks behind marijuana are by far much more important to worry about rather than allowing the focus to be upon tax revenue.


I am assuming rebuttals in Rd 3, so I will make my own contentions in this round.

1. Marijuana is a non-lethal drug. Virtually no one has died from smoking marijuana. Stephen Sidney, MD, associate director for research for Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., in the Sept 20 issue of The British Medical Journal states that "the current knowledge base does not support the assertion that it has any notable adverse public health impact in relation to mortality," No one dies from a 'fatal marijuana overdose'. Since it cant kill you, why make it illegal?

2. Marijuana has relatively mild side effects. It is also non-toxic to humans. Dr. Mark Sircus says this in regards to marijuana use, "...a low risk profile is evident from the literature available. Serious complications are very rare...".

4. Marijuana is almost never addictive. 'In 1944, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia commissioned research to be performed by the New York Academy of Science. Among their conclusions: they found marijuana did not lead to significant addiction in the medical sense of the word. They also did not find any evidence marijuana led to morphine, heroin or cocaine addiction.'- CNN News .In fact, tobacco is three times as addictive, according to Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

5. Alcohol and cigarettes are addictive, but they are legal. If we want to be consistent in our values, then its a no-brainer that marijuana should be legalized.

6. Life, Liberty, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. If we can have guns, and cigs, and beer, and play football (linked to CTE and fatality), then why not?
Debate Round No. 2


As I'm sure we've all heard from our health teachers, marijuana is indeed a gateway drug. Marijuana can lead to the trial of other drugs which may be even more harmful that marijuana itself. I see what you mean by saying that there have been zero deaths in history from marijuana, however that statistic is simply regarding the short term effects while being under the influence. Your contentions have completely ignored the long term effects. For example, smoke inhalation (even from cannabis,) Can cause long term effects such as cancer. This debate is about the legalization of marijuana, and not about whether cigarettes and alcohol should be legal or not. Therefore, when I describe the health risks involved in marijuana (which are proved by what I have stated in round 1,) I am speaking about marijuana, not anything else.

Another reason that marijuana should not be legalized for recreational use, is because marijuana is terrible for mental health. Marijuana creates a feeling of anxiety to some user which have been linked to depression. This, I suppose would essentially be considered another health risk. With that being said, there are too many long term health risks behind marijuana, so therefore it should remain out of the hands of recreational users.


The key to the issue is causation vs correlation.

1. So, in response to your 'gateway drug' argument, marijuana is actually not a gateway drug. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that ' the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, "harder" substances. '. says this- 'Though studies of large populations of people have indeed found that those who smoke marijuana are more likely to use other drugs, these studies show a correlation without showing causation " a commonly misunderstood phenomenon in science.'. So its like saying that since usually it rains the day after your neighbor mows his lawn,mowing the lawn must bring rain the next day. It says more about the type of people that use drugs, than any problem or addictive power of marijuana.

In Holland, where marijuana is legal, there has actually been a decrease in people falling into the 'gateway' trap. 'A 2010 Rand Institute report found that there was "some evidence" for a "weakened gateway" in The Netherlands, and concluded that the data "clearly challenge any claim that the Dutch have strengthened the gateway to hard drug use." '-from a Time magazine article entitled 'Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth That Will Not Die'.

2. I will also point out that while marijuana has been linked to depression and anxiety, it can also be used to treat depression and anxiety. So wouldn't it stand to reason that the people who use marijuana take it because it relieves the depression? But when they are tested (presumably not while smoking a joint) they show up as depressed, anxious, etc.? What I mean is that the people more likely to smoke marijuana are people who are more likely to be depressed and/or anxious.

'There have been a number of studies that have explored the link between marijuana use and mental health symptoms. Strong associations are often found but this is not the same as a causal link (i.e. one causes the other).'- The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. They also say that 'results are mixed'.

3. Smoking weed does not cause lung cancer. Research from Johns Hopkins University showed that 'Marijuana, unlike tobacco and alcohol, does not appear to cause head, neck, or lung cancer.'

In marijuana/cancer studies, there is often no link between the two after accounting for smoking and drinking. Many weed users also do those things. The presence of tobacco can skew the results of such studies, unless you account for those substances. Marijuana on its own is 'unlikely to cause head, neck, or lung cancer', according to WebMD.

(On a somewhat irrelevant note, 'What we do know, is that smoking marijuana may help some people cope with cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, "cannabinoids may have benefits in the treatment of cancer-related side effects."- So marijuana may have the opposite effect. ----I bring this in not as a reason to legalize, but just to show that it has the opposite effect than what some claim it does.) (We can pretend I didn't say it if you don't want it in.)

So while weed may have some adverse effects on your lungs, it most definitely has not been proven to cause or increase the chance of lung cancer.

(Rebuttals/Summations in Rd 4?)
Debate Round No. 3


Pro claims that the fact that people who use marijuana are more likely to use other drugs, is a correlation but not a causation. Though there is a very slight and confusing differential between both causation and correlation, some would say that in this instance, that this is more of a causation rather than correlation. This is because people who are smoking marijuana, have been urged in some way or another to begin using a different hard drug. Therefore, marijuana is the cause of people trying other drugs because it opens up a world of newer, harder drugs with it indeed being a gateway drug.

To continue, pro claims that marijuana can be used to treat depression and anxiety, whether or not that is true or not, is not relevant to this debate, as we are debating about recreational use of marijuana, and not medicinal use for it. However, research provided by Mayo Clinic suggests that people who smoke marijuana are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, rather than non smokers.

With that being said, pro also claims that smoking marijuana does not cause lung cancer. However, this is untrue because according to the American Lung Association, smoke in itself no matter where it is from, including marijuana can cause all sorts of lung illness ranging from damage of the lung lining, or even chronic bronchitis.

Furthermore, marijuana is indeed harmful to our bodies, and can lead people (especially those that do not have very good control over behavior) to try harder drugs out there. Combine that with people that are prone to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and then we have got a world of very physically, and psychologically ill people. Maybe a consensus would be for a doctor to prescribe marijuana in some instance, which would be for a different debate, however the debate about whether or not marijuana should be available to anyone for recreational use, is proved to be con by the reasons stated above. Thanks for a good debate!


In summation,

We live in a world of risks. Everything we do can harm us. Look at the statistics of vehicular fatalities. Look at the danger of drowning, or injuring yourself during sports. We have guns, which can be used to kill others, even accidentally at times.

We eat sugary, fatty, chemical-laced food. We drink sugar-water and food coloring mixes (soda).

We drink alcohol, a substances that impairs the mind's ability to think clearly.

We smoke tobacco, which is proven to cause lung and mouth cancer, and can often kill.

How is marijuana any different?

Marijuana is not addictive, like alcohol and tobacco.

Marijuana is not, in and of itself, a 'gateway' drug. I have shown this through multiple sources. The people who use these drugs may be more likely to move on to other drugs, but through their own choice, not any fault of marijuana.

Con conceded my point when he said this- ' ...have been urged in some way or another to begin using a different hard drug.'

'Urged', not addicted.

In America, where I am from, we have the freedom to pursue happiness. To some people, marijuana is happiness. To continue to outlaw marijuana is both unconstitutional and contrary to the Declaration of Independence.

While I am not someone who has smoked or used marijuana, nor someone who plans to, I recognize the basic right to do what I want with my body. It's not bothering you, so let others be happy.

I rest my case.

Thanks you as well, this has been a lot of fun, and intellectually stimulating.

In the words of one far smarter than I, 'Vote Pro!'
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Omniscient_Debater 2 years ago
I see. You still did great though, and I did have a bit of a hard time deciding the winner.
Posted by enderwiggin 2 years ago
Thanks for analyzing and voting. I looked back and realized that part about marijuana not being any different was not what I intended to say. What I meant was that how is marijuana worse than those legal substances. I messed that one up, I apologize. Thanks again to both of you, great debate.
Posted by Omniscient_Debater 2 years ago
I apologize for almost missing the deadline I got busy.
Posted by Omniscient_Debater 2 years ago
Part 3

So Con wins arguments points for winning the most significant argument, and he wins conduct points for being fair.

Both of you did a great job and I enjoyed reading this debate.
Posted by Omniscient_Debater 2 years ago
art 1.

Part 2:

Con answers this by stating that it is a gateway drug because the smokers have been urged somehow to try harder drugs, which has no evidence and as Pro points out, "urge" doesn't mean "addicted", and even without that point, Pro still wins this argument, because Con doesn't prove that marijuana is the cause of this, so I can take his claim with a grain of salt.

Does it cause mental problems?

A huge problem I see in this argument chain, is that neither provided sources and make bare assertions, so I award neither sides this point. But this is irrelevant next to the arguments about marijuana being lethal or addictive.

And now for the final argument...


Con was very clear that he wasn't interested in bringing alcohol or tobacco into the debate itself, and although I do think Pro makes a good point that "if other substances that are worse are legal, then why shouldn't marijuana be legal?", it doesn't matter. It is the status quo that alcohol is legal, but that doesn't automatically mean that we should have other dangerous things that are legal too. I am not throwing my own arguments into this, but I am pointing out that this debate was only for marijuana, and Con only wanted it to be about marijuana, and even if I count it as an argument, his first argument is very short and he only extends it in the last round, which is unfair because it is the last round and Con cannot respond to him. So to sum it up, both matter which way I look at it, I cannot see Pro gaining any advantage from this argument because it is either invalid, or unfair and short when you make it fair.

So overall, this was a close call, but I gives this to Con, because he won the most important argument, which was danger and lethality, and if I could credit Pro's final argument as fair, he might have countered that, because that is also very important, but because it was unfair, I discredit it.
Posted by Omniscient_Debater 2 years ago

Rather than analyzing the debate round for round, I think it would be easier to simply analyze the chains created for each individual argument.

Is marijuana dangerous or lethal?

Con shows in the 1st round that marijuana can make your heart beat twice as quickly, which could cause major harm to people woth heart conditions, and that it can irritate your lungs and cause respiratory problems to your body, while Pro argues that there are no statistics that show that weed is lethal.
Con retaliated by arguing that any sort of smoke, no matter where it is from, can give you lung cancer, which can undoubtedly kill you. Pro responds with a source saying no typed of cancer can be formed directly from marijuana, while Con shows a source to once again show how any type of smoke can give you cancer, and that statistic alone gives this argument to Con, because Pro never refutes the fact that smoke itself gives you cancer, which means if that is left unrefuted, marijuana gives you cancer too, because it brings smoke into your body. Pro also concedes that tobacco gives you cancer, and immediately asks "how is marijuana any different?", showing that he concedes that it is lethal and very dangerous.

Is marijuana addictive/ a gateway drug?

In the 2nd round, Pro shows that smoking marijuana does not lead you to trying out other drugs, and is 3 times less addictive than tobacco, thus making it not very addictive. When Con responded to that, all he did was say that he was "pretty sure your health teacher told it you it was a gateway drug", and it is simply just a bare assertion, while Pro had a source showing it isn't a gateway drug. Pro then throws another source out there to prove him wrong and state that marijuana doesn't make others go on to try harder drugs, and used a statistic to show that multiple countries have had less people fall into "the gateway trap" since they legalized weed, which challenges claims of other countries having a strengthened gateway. -P
Posted by Omniscient_Debater 2 years ago
I will vote on this in the afternoon/evening.
Posted by enderwiggin 2 years ago
Ssshhh guys, wait until after. Don't give anyone ammo
Posted by nishantjain1 2 years ago
SecularGiraffe, what you aren't considering is the precedent and message the legalization of marijuana sends to adolescents and our young. Addiction begins at a young age, and especially in high schools where teenagers become more exposed to the drug as a result of it's legalization.

Also, while it is one's own choice whether to 'destroy their own body', drug addicts rely on federal welfare and government programs to sustain their lifestyle. Therefore, the legalization of marijuana would contribute to an ineffective society.
Posted by enderwiggin 2 years ago
Yeah I used other examples but the same concept.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Omniscient_Debater 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments.