The Instigator
Pro (for)
11 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Marijuana should be legalized

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/25/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,677 times Debate No: 28639
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)




I will be arguing for the legalization of Marijuana

Con will argue for the continuation of the "war on drugs"

I will argue for the legalization of Marijuana on the grounds that the prohibition of drugs is not a deterrent, Marijuana is less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol, the drug war costs too much money for its own good, and drug prohibition invades civil liberties

Con will provide arguments to support the war on drugs

First round will be acceptance or if the opponent wants, it can be for Con's opening arguments


I accept! You can go first, though. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


The "Drug war" is costing billions of dollars and yet, is it all worth it? Is it worth the billions of dollars? IS it worth the invasion of individual civil liberties? Is it worth the wasted effort?

First of all, prohibition does not help and may be increasing drug use in itself:

Here is a scenario. A group of kids from high school want to host a party and want to get completely drunk in it. But they find out that it is extremely difficult to obtain alcohol, since it is regulated to keep it away from people under 21.
But, they know a dealer who willl happily sell them weed.
"You don't have to be 21 to buy marijuana -- marijuana dealers usually don't care how old you are as long as you have money. It is actually easier for many high school students to obtain marijuana than it is for them to obtain alcohol, because alcohol is legal and therefore regulated to keep it away from kids."

Prohibition as a weapon to prevent drug abuse has not proven or has any provided evidence, to be a deterrent in drug abuse.
When Alcohol was prohibited, it certaintly did not work either

Marijuana has been proven to be less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol.

"Safer for the Consumer

  • Many people die from alcohol use. Nobody dies from marijuana use.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths, including more than 1,400 in Colorado, are attributed to alcohol use alone (i.e. this figure does not include accidental deaths). On the other hand, the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana.
  • People die from alcohol overdoses. There has never been a fatal marijuana overdose. The official publication of the Scientific Research Society,American Scientist, reported that alcohol is one of the most toxic drugs and using just 10 times what one would use to get the desired effect could lead to death. Marijuana is one of – if not the – least toxic drugs, requiring thousands of times the dose one would use to get the desired effect to lead to death. This “thousands of times” is actually theoretical, since there has never been a case of an individual dying from a marijuana overdose. Meanwhile,according to the CDC, hundreds of alcohol overdose deaths occur the United States each year.
  • The health-related costs associated with alcohol use far exceed those for marijuana use. Health-related costs for alcohol consumers are eight times greater than those for marijuana consumers, according to an assessment recently published in theBritish Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal. More specifically, the annual cost of alcohol consumption is $165 per user, compared to just $20 per user for marijuana. This should not come as a surprise given the vast amount of research that shows alcohol poses far more – and more significant – health problems than marijuana.
  • Alcohol use damages the brain. Marijuana use does not. Despite the myths we've heard throughout our lives about marijuana killing brain cells, it turns out that a growing number of studies seem to indicate that marijuana actually has neuroprotective properties. This means that it works to protect brain cells from harm. For example, one recent study found that teens who used marijuana as well as alcohol suffered significantly less damage to the white matter in their brains. Of course, what is beyond question is that alcohol damages brain cells.
  • Alcohol use is linked to cancer. Marijuana use is not. Alcohol use is associated with a wide variety of cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, lungs, pancreas, liver and prostate. Marijuana use has not been conclusively associated with any form of cancer. In fact, one study recently contradicted the long-time government claim that marijuana use is associated with head and neck cancers. It found that marijuana use actually reduced the likelihood of head and neck cancers. If you are concerned about marijuana being associated with lung cancer, you may be interested in the results of the largest case-controlled study ever conducted to investigate the respiratory effects of marijuana smoking and cigarette smoking. Released in 2006, the study, conducted by Dr. Donald Tashkin at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that marijuana smoking was not associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Surprisingly, the researchers found that people who smoked marijuana actually had lowerincidences of cancer compared to non-users of the drug.
  • Alcohol is more addictive than marijuana. Addiction researchers have consistently reported that marijuana is far less addictive than alcohol based on a number of factors. In particular, alcohol use can result in significant and potentially fatal physical withdrawal, whereas marijuana has not been found to produce any symptoms of physical withdrawal. Those who use alcohol are also much more likely to develop dependence and build tolerance.
  • Alcohol use increases the risk of injury to the consumer. Marijuana use does not. Many people who have consumed alcohol or know others who have consumed alcohol would not be surprised to hear that it greatly increases the risk of serious injury. Research published this year in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that 36 percent of hospitalized assaults and 21 percent of all injuries are attributable to alcohol use by the injured person. Meanwhile, the American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that lifetime use of marijuana is rarely associated with emergency room visits. According to the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, this is because: "Cannabis differs from alcohol … in one major respect. It does not seem to increase risk-taking behavior. This means that cannabis rarely contributes to violence either to others or to oneself, whereas alcohol use is a major factor in deliberate self-harm, domestic accidents and violence." Interestingly enough, some research has even shown that marijuana use has been associated with a decreased risk of injury.

The drug war costs too much money for it's own good:
The drug war is costing taxpayers billions of dollars just to have weed smoker imprisoned. The money could be used for more useful, important things that would improve out society or pay for even education about drug use that would prove to be more effective than "prohibition"
Drug prohibition also invades civil liberties as it invades the "Fourth Amendment" in "searches and seizures"

Why should marijuana be illegal?
Why? Don't individuals have the right to choose to smoke weed or not? Just as individuals have the right to use alcohol and cigarrettes? People deserve the freedom to smoke weed as the please whether or not the government agrees with their decisions.
Why should the government force their beliefs down people throats and jail people for simply doing something that they do not agree with but has no huge, harmful consequences towards society?
There are also many other reasons Marijuana should be legal

  1. "Medicinal use: Marijuana can be used as medicine because it helps to stimulate apetite and relieve nausea in cancer and AIDS patients.

  2. Hemp: The hemp plant is a valuable natural resource. Legalizing marijuana would eliminate the confusion surrounding hemp and allow us to take advantage of hemp's agricultural and industrial uses.

  3. Religious Use:Some religions instruct their followers to use marijuana. Just like Christianity and Judaism instruct their followers to drink wine on certain occaisions, some Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, and members of other religions use marijuana as part of their spiritual and religious ceremonies. These people deserve the freedom to practice their religion as they see fit. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that the government cannot 'prohibit the free exercise' of religion, and so marijuana should be legal."



While it may be true that marijuana is less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol, that does not make marijuana the no-risk factor drug. That just makes the United State's legalization of cigarettes and alcohol illogical. While there is no recorded death from marijuana overdose, that does not mean there is not a risk.

A user may not die from the plant itself, but they could die from what else is in the drug. Drug dealers line their weed with all sorts of other things to make it seem like the user is buying more weed, some of them that may be lethal to the user. Sometimes the dealer lines it with something like cat litter, or sometimes it is line with a drug like crack cocaine [1]. It is known that as many as 15,000 deaths were caused by cocaine use [3]. Also, many marijuana plant growers grow the drug using plant hormones and steroids to "push" the plant to produce the most potent marijuana possible [1].

The logical argument to this information is, of course, that the legalization of marijuana would stop drug growers from having to grow it this way because it would be regulated like tobacco cigarettes and alcohol. This is not true. Why would drug growers want to stop making more money out of their marijuana by adding cat litter and crack to the drug?
Why would people want to stop buying more potent drugs? All legalization would do is make it so the growers and users would not have to do it in hiding. Legalization would not stop the dangerous ways of growing and selling marijuana, it would increase it.

You claim that marijuana does not damage the brain. It does. According to [2], "Some studies show that when people have smoked large amounts of marijuana for years, the drug takes its toll on mental function...Marijuana affects memory, judgment and perception...If you use marijuana a lot, you could start to lose interest in how you look and how you"re getting along at school or work."

The choice to use marijuana despite its affects is all on the user, but kids and teens are pressured into using it all the time. If marijuana was legalized, kids would think it was okay, and they would be smoking it like cigarettes and binging on it like alcohol. If an adult wants to mess up his life, then fine, but a kid would not really know what the consequences could be if he started smoking weed. The illigalization of the drug at least warns kids that they should not smoke weed. Legalizing the drug would throw concern for child drug abuse to the wind.

You claim that marijuana use is not linked to cancer. It is. According to [1], "Marijuana contains known toxins and cancer-inducing chemicals, which are stored in fat cells for long periods of time."

"Scientific research relates marijuana use to damaged brain cells and respiratory systems, decreased hormone production in both sexes, acute memory loss, lowered immune systems and impaired motor skills. THC and marijuana smoke have been directly linked to miscarriage, in-utero fetal death, stillbirth and infant death just after birth, along with behavioral and biological abnormalities of offspring," [1].

You say that alcohol is more addictive than marijuana. This may be true, but that does not make marijuana non-addictive. According to [1], "Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction in some people. That is, they cannot control their urges to seek out and use marijuana, even though it negatively affects their family relationships, school performance, and recreational activities." Marijuana users can also develop tolerance, according to the same source. This means the user need larger and larger amounts of marijuana to get the same desired effects as they used to get from smaller amounts in the past. Marijuana can, in fact, be an addictive drug. People have been known to be violent or use violent measures if it means getting their weed.

The drug war IS costing taxpayers billions of dollars just to have weed smokers imprisoned. Legalizing marijuana would not help that problem! Many drug users would still end up in jail, not merely just for smoking weed, but for what they do because they are high on the drug. Legalizing marijuana would not solve that problem.

Yes, people do have their rights. I suppose people do have the right to smoke pot if they so desire, but people also have the right to be safe as well. Someone who is high on marijuana and in need of more could and would do a lot to get it, and that could involve injuring an innocent victim, or worse. Parents also want their kids safe from pressure to do drugs and from having the availability of a drug like marijuana in the first place. The legalization of it would get rid of what little barriers we have and make it so much easier for someone to get a hold of it, and everyone would, because there would be no consequences.

Debate Round No. 2


Of course there's risk with weed as with any other drug. This however does not justify the Government's morality being shoved down in law.

The distribution of weed and how it is dangerously used is none of the Government's business. People choose their own fates and if they want to use weed regardless of the risks, such as the use of alcohol and cigarettes, than they should use it.
The Government can try to stop abuse through education and therapy, but prohibition invades civil liberties.

Prohibition never successfully stops drug abusers from abusing drugs. So all prohibition does is waste billions of dollars to jail weed smokers instead of using that money for something useful.

Marijuana, with all it's risks, is not nearly as harmful as cigarettes, which is basically poison in a stick, or alcohol.

Kids and teens already use Marijuana. Teens especially. Weed runs rampant in high school and teenagers are already pressured to smoke weed. Legalization would change absolutely nothing.
The only thing legalization would probably change is saving billions of dollars on the "War on Drugs"

Yes kids don't know much about consequences. An effective way to stop drug abuse would be to educate kids and teens about the risks of marijuana abuse. Money that is used for education on weed would be much more well spent, than money that is used to lock up weed smokers.(Who btw will not just "stop" smoking weed)

Any drug can be potentially addictive. Weed is no different and shouldn't be treated differently from cigarettes and alcohol.

Legalizing marijuana will definitely solve the problem of frequent imprisonment.
"Many drug users would still end up in jail, not merely just for smoking weed, but for what they do because they are high on the drug. Legalizing marijuana would not solve that problem."

Not NEARLY, not even close, to as much people are jailed now just for smoking weed. People while high aren't that dangerous especially compared to when a person is drunk.

"Someone who is high on marijuana and in need of more could and would do a lot to get it, and that could involve injuring an innocent victim, or worse."

Con is acting as if Marijuana is the equivalent of cocaine. Things shouldn't be disporportionalized here. This would happen in a very rare case since any high person is generally peaceful and harmless and this would only happen in a very extreme case of a long-term marijuana user as opposed to the casual user.

"Parents also want their kids safe from pressure to do drugs and from having the availability of a drug like marijuana in the first place."

Marijuana is going to available whether or not parents appreciate it. There will always be pressure and legality will not change a thing. The only thing that legality will change is the fact that taxpayers will no longer have to pay up billions of dollars for the imprisonment of weed smokers (which is not proven in any statistic as a deterrent), and it would no longer have the authorities infringe on civil rights.
"Few public policies pose as great a threat to our fundamental civil liberties as the war on drugs. Since the 1970s, the U.S. judicial system has created a “drug exception” to the Constitution by permitting the erosion of our constitutional rights in the name of drug prohibition. Misguided drug policies have allowed extensive discrimination against drug users, women, people of color and the formerly incarcerated. The Drug Policy Alliance is a leading voice in the movement to reclaim the rights and freedoms infringed upon by the war on drugs. We believe that drug users should not be punished for what they put in their bodies, absent harm to others. We are working to eliminate drug policies that abuse the civil liberties of certain groups and individuals, as well as those that prevent people with drug convictions from rebuilding their lives. A war on drugs is simply a misnomer for a war on drug users."

Money will also be saved for use in education of drug abuse and much more effective educational remedies for the decrease in drug abuse.

The Government shouldn't shove down it's morals in the law and jail people, for something they choose to do to their own bodies.
The Government shouldn't invade civil liberties
The Government shouldn't waste billions of dollars on jailing people for personal choice
The Government should leave the people alone to make their own choices



The government is not "shoving down its morality in law". The government is trying to protect its citizens from stupid people who will do stupid stuff on drugs, and who will do stupid stuff to get those drugs.

If the "distribution of weed and how it is dangerously used" is none of the Government's business, then what is? People complain about how crappy the Government is because it is over protective. And in the parts it is not protective, people complain that it needs to be more so. If marijuana was made legal, the Government would immediately get complaints from people against it, saying that they are not being protected from a drug that can do harm to the body, and harm to victims of people addicted to a drug.

Prohibition will never completely stop drug abuse, but that does not mean that prohibition should be stopped. Nothing is ever fool proof. According to [1], prohibition has decreased the use of marijuana, even though it has not stopped it.

As I mentioned in round two, marijuana is indeed proven to be less of a risk than cigarettes and alcohol, but that does not mean that marijuana should be legalized. That is just a poor decision to not ban cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol.

Legalizing marijuana would not change "absolutely nothing". It would make the situation worse. Teenagers would have next to zero consequences (besides physical) when smoking weed, and more teens would be going to school high, not giving a care about school work and getting good grades. School grade point averages across the country would plummet. Also, teachers could smoke marijuana without getting fired.

Weed should not be treated differently from cigarettes and alcohol. However, cigarettes and alcohol should be treated more seriously. People are not responsible enough to take their body's health seriously. Having a restraint on these poisons will at least decrease the amount of injuries and deaths because of the abuse of these drugs.

"Con is acting as if Marijuana is the equivalent of cocaine."

Marijuana IS NOT nearly as dangerous as cocaine. People on weed are almost never as dangerous. I did mention in round two that some dealers line their marijuana with other substances (sometimes cocaine, the source cited in that argument), which could cause the user to act in a similar manner as someone on the other drug.

Debate Round No. 3


If Marijuana is legal, Marijuana users wouldn't have to do as much "stupid stuff" to get those drugs if it wasn't legal.

All the Government is doing is spending billions of dollars to try to "stop" what will never stop. People will never stop smoking weed just because it's prohibited.

What is the Government's business (if it really needs to be there at all) would be to protect citizen's from serious crime like murder and rape.

Also basic welfare/ poverty etc.

It should be concerned with protecting citizens from circumstances that involve general harm to other citizens, oppression, and anything that does not invade the private liberty of the citizen.

When I say "general harm" to other citizens, I have to mention that the use of weed does not necessarily count as "harm" to other citizens in the same way that smoking a "hookah" does not count as "harm" to other citizens.

Once the Government gets involved it always becomes invasive.

The Government violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.

That is an injustice!

Why would the Government go so far as to violate the Fourth Amendment, just to jail weed smokers?

If the Government sincerely wanted to stop people from smoking Marijuana, there should be increased spending (which wouldn't cost nearly as much as the money they spent for Prohibition) on education to educate people about the effects of Marijuana abuse.

That would serve much more effective as then people would learn more why they should stop smoking weed, instead of just being forced to not smoke weed

I already mentioned the education alternative earlier, which Con ignored.

Legalizing Marijuana would definitely improve a lot of situations.

*It would respect the boundaries on individual liberties more

*The Government would save billions of dollars they could use for education on drug abuse

*If the education is paid for to educated about drug abuse, kids could stop smoking weed simply by learning about how it affects their body


Plenty of teenagers already go to school high, not caring about school work and getting good grades. What would help is education on the matter instead of restrictions that invade civil liberties!

People are responsible for their own bodies and own choices and the Government doesn't have the right to be invasive about other people's own choices and bodies!

Education is the best weapon. Psychologically, children learn best from their parents, from imitation and education. Contrary to popular belief, children don't learn anything from physical discipline or punishment.

That's why people should have the choice to choose what they want to do with their bodies but also have an idea of the consequences (health consequences, that is.)

Since Marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as cocaine, it shouldn't count as being a form of potential harm towards other citizens other than the user.

Even though sometimes cocaine is put into Marijuana, that doesn't mean that Marijuana is faulty.

It's just dangerous distribution in general. Dealers do those kinds of things with any drug.

Neither alcohol nor cigarettes should be treated more seriously either. This is a matter of individual liberties!

As I've said before, the Government has not right to invade civil liberties for reasons that only involve the individual person's choices

The Government has no right to regulate a personal choice

The Government has no right to violate the Fourth Amendment for something as petty as individual choice

The Government shouldn't waste money that could be used for something more useful

And lastly once again,

The Government should leave the people alone to make their own choices



I forfeit this round.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by babyy 5 years ago
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Posted by dlshaw 5 years ago
Marijuana may not be as dangerous as cigarettes & alcohol but that is not a reason to legalize it. What, just because its better than those two things? There are other reasons it is illegal. For instance, it has mental disadvantages as well. I'm glad it's not legal & I hope it stays that way.
Posted by Yarely 5 years ago
Good luck to you too!
Posted by harrypotterfantng 5 years ago
I'm sorry for not leaving any final statements. School stuff being thrust on me right after holiday. Thank you for including me in the debate. Good luck!
Posted by harrypotterfantng 5 years ago
No problem.
Posted by Yarely 5 years ago
I'm sorry for the obnoxious spacing in the words in the last round.
I didn't mean to do that LOL
Posted by drstrange 5 years ago
I find Con's statement "prohibition has resulted in decreased marijuana use" confusing. According to a report from the international center for science and drug policy, the federal government has failed in every single one of its cannabis prohibition efforts. Despite a 600% increase in spending, cannabis is more readily available, cheaper and more widely used than a decade ago.
Posted by Jburn89 5 years ago
This debate seems to be focused off topic. The meat of the debate seems to be based around the potency of marijuana vs legal drugs. Potency, danger of use, long term effects, addictiveness... these are all mostly irrelevant to the debate. The real question should be: "Does prohibition work to decrease use of controlled substances?" In other-words, I would be happier to see arguments based on the effectiveness of prohibition, imprisonment and control vs decriminalization, legalization, taxation, regulation and treatment.

Just my two cents.
Posted by Yarely 5 years ago
You can accept if you want
Posted by RationalMadman 5 years ago
I wish I could accept.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Chuz-Life 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro only because of Cons FF round. Con did a good job of showing that two wrongs don't make a right. That booze is more harmful and deadly than pot does not mean that Pot by default should be legalized. If anything, Pros stats made me want to revist Prohibition of boooze.
Vote Placed by GorefordMaximillion 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: con ff (conduct). Con mainly argued about the degree to which marijuana is bad, and did not sufficiently refute the failure of the drug war.
Vote Placed by Jarhyn 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Convincing goes to PRO for CON's forfeit, in addition to the fact that all of PRO's excellent points centering around the inelasticity of the demand curve for controlled substances, and that criminal activity is forced by criminalization. Sources goes to PRO as CON's sourcing was argument from authority, the sources themselves secondary and lacking the primary sources, particularly the NYT source.
Vote Placed by min.5 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: 1