The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Marijuana should be legalized

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/13/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,424 times Debate No: 94684
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)




Round 1 is for acceptance.


I accept. For clarification purposes, being con, I will be arguing against the motion of the legalization of marijuana in the US.
Debate Round No. 1


1. Marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug despite overwhelming evidence that it has no place being listed that way.
According to the DEA, the definition of a schedule 1 drug is as follows:

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote (1)

The DEA has made the claim that marijuana is as dangerous a drug as heroin and LSD without providing any proof whatsoever that it should be listed as a schedule 1 drug.
25 states have legalized medical marijuana which is a direct contradiction to the definition of schedule 1 drugs. These states have recognized that marijuana does indeed have legitimate medical use (2)
4 states have went so far as to legalize it for recreational use. When you look at the drugs in the schedule 1 category it is true that 99% of them have no legitimate medical use as of right now. This is simply not the case for marijuana. According to WEBMD, It is used to treat conditions such as:

Muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis
Nausea from cancer chemotherapy
Poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness, such as HIV, or nerve pain
Seizure disorders
Crohn's disease (3)

Cancer is becoming one of the more common diseases in which patients are being prescribed marijuana.
There has been little to no evidence to support the claim that marijuana is anywhere near as dangerous as drugs like heroin or even alcohol which is completely legal.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes whether it be from drunk drivers, diseases, or from alcohol poisoning. (4)

"Alcohol-Related Deaths:
Nearly 88,0009 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women9) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.10
In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).11"

I challenge Con to provide some reliable evidence that marijuana has claimed anywhere near as many lives. Despite the devastating loss of life directly linked to alcohol consumption it is still legal in every state.
Alcohol was once prohibited in the 1920's but it was quickly legalized again due to the devastating failure of the prohibition.
In 1920 the 18th amendment was ratified to the US constitution that banned the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol until Congress adopted the 21st amendment to counter it (5).

2. Prohibition does not work:
The prohibition was a complete failure and only managed to push the demand for alcohol underground. Bootleggars became the only suppliers and they made enormous profits from their illegal operations. Today they would be drug dealers, supplying an overwhelming demand for something deemed too dangerous for the public by the government.
It is simply impossible to keep marijuana out of the hands of the public when the demand is so high. This is a plant that can be grown very efficiently in nearly any environment and many people now take their nurseries indoors. This makes detecting these people extremely difficult which becomes a burden on the taxpayers.
Marijuana is far easier to grow than alcohol was to produce.
According to
Marijuana remains the third most popular recreational drug of choice in the United States despite 60 years of criminal prohibition. According to government figures, nearly 70 million Americans have smoked marijuana at some time in their lives. Of these, 18 million have smoked marijuana within the last year, and ten million are regular marijuana smokers.

The vast majority of these individuals are otherwise law-abiding citizens who work hard, raise families, and contribute to their communities. They are not part of the crime problem and should not be treated as criminals. (6)

The fact of the matter is when something is prohibited, those that wish to obtain it will find a way to do so. The prohibition has done far more harm than good. It's created tens of thousands of criminals whom would otherwise be law-abiding citizens. This in turn creates a burden on law enforcement, the legal system, the prison system, and especially the taxpayers. It is becoming more and more common to see members of law enforcement speaking out against the prohibition of marijuana because it simply does not work. Furthermore it only helps to create the dangerous criminal element that aims to make a profit. Many of these dealers will defend their operation violently.
Many people that are opposed to legalization state concerns about marijuana being easier for children to obtain were it legal. Lets look at this concern from a logical position.
How many dealers sell alcohol? The answer is none but why is that? It's because dealers are not going to sell something that is perfectly legal and sold in every gas station and liquor store in the country. They would not make any profit from selling a legal substance and they would also likely be arrested for selling without a license. So they would not make a profit and they would go to jail. It would make virtually no sense at all to sell alcohol illegally.
Any teen can travel within 5 miles of their residence to obtain marijuana, it is the most common illegal drug today. What's more, drug dealers do sell marijuana because it is illegal. There is an underground market for it and I can assure you that drug dealers are not going to card a 16 year old trying to purchase pot.


Thank you, instigator, for your arguments

My opponent and I agreed on the debate structure in the comments. However, I must object to some of the points made in the structure of the debate. I think it will be more effective and conventional for both of us if we could list our sources beforehand and have the final round waived, rather than cited sources in the end. How else am I supposed to be convinced of the validity of your sources and that you haven't plagiarized, I believe this will save us a lot of time and will organize our debate for the better. I hope you consider my offer, but since this is your debate, I'll go along with your flow.

Anyway, let's begin!

I'll begin my debate with a couple of observations and definition of terms. I'll as well explain the (counter)plan of my debate. Now, I'll note that I'm for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but I'm against it recreationally. Though, I still agree that they should limit it as a medical substance.

Obs1: Since this is not a normative resolution because Pro affirms a change in the status quo, the burden will be on Pro to show the beneficial impact on the recreational / and or medicinal use of marijuana in the U.S. In order for Con to win, Con must successfully negate most of Pro's contentions, this is Con's main duty in this debate. Con must also provide evidence to substantiate marijuana's negative side-effects and the consequences of those side effects; therefore, this will prove that the complete legalization will hurt the U.S. instead of helping it.

My framework will focus on the premises that the legalization of recreational marijuana will not deter the crime rate and will not mitigate the trade of marijuana on the black market. Also, marijuana and its effects on the body will also be an important argument.

Crime rate ( - "An offense rate, or crime rate, defined as the number of offenses per 100,000 population, is derived by first dividing a jurisdiction's population by 100,000 and then dividing the number of offenses by the resulting figure."

Deter ( "discourage (someone) from doing something by instilling doubt or fear of the consequences."

To be more explicit, I'm going to provide evidence to deduce that the legalization of marijuana will increase the crime rate of America and will not stop the black market from dealing it. Also, since my opponent hasn't specified the type of use--medicinal or recreational--I'll be focusing more on recreational, since it's not part of the legal status quo of the US.


C1 - Health Impacts:

Even though marijuana has lesser dramatic effects than other drugs listed in schedule I, marijuana can devastatingly affect the human brain. Firstly, let's start off easy. Marijuana is undeniably a heavily addictive substance. People who smoke it (particularly underage groups who have higher risks and are more inclined to abusing the drug) find it difficult to focus and concentrate, that's the essence / softer side effects of the substance. Studies also show that marijuana can cause memory loss and deteriorate one's learning abilities as well (this is the consequence of cognitive decline marijuana leads to). Due to marijuana's increase in its THC dosage over the past decade, habitual smokers are more inclined to developing psychosis or schizophrenia. Currently, an average THC dosage you'll be able to find in marijuana will be around 9% or higher, however, 25% is the highest you'll be able to find. It's usually smuggled from Canada or Mexico. This is an incredibly high dosage, taking into consideration that it used to be only 3% (1).

Aside from the mental effects, marijuana can also deteriorate the physical state of the body. For example, chronic bronchitis is usually the most common illnesses marijuana can cause, and that's because it impairs the airways and cell linings. However, aspergillus--a mold leading to lung impairment--is also the lead cause of chronic marijuana use, that is if you have a weak immune system. But aside from the lungs, studies show that the immune system is also under threat because of the substance (2).

Even though the research on this topic is limited, researchers still have reasons to believe that marijuana causes cancer. Frankly, it doesn't come as a surprise since marijuana has over 50 ingredients (some of which are carcinogenic), and many of them are yet to be thoroughly evaluated. One carcinogen that researchers have studied is benzpyrene and THC; benzpyrene is also found in cigarettes. Now, these ingredients are known to alter a certain kind of gene (p53-'tumor suppressor gene'), which when altered, may inhibit cancer. 75% of people who were diagnosed with lung cancer have a defective p53 gene (3).

Another study found that the chemicals in marijuana accelerate the production "myeloid-derived suppressor cells", weakening the immune system. This experiment tested THC on rats. Rats with higher dosages had more of those cells produced. Researchers then deduced that because of this, THC leads to cancer growth, and even weakens the process of cancer therapy. Because instead of the immune system fighting the cancer cells, these suppressors activate cells that interact with marijuana's cannabinoids. Nevertheless, there was a mild concession that THC does have beneficial effects when treating certain types of diseases, but due to the limited research, if 'weed' truly does help treat cancer is still a subject for debate (4).

C2 - Crime rate:
This contention will be split into 2 sub-arguments.

Sub-argument 1 - Crime rate: Let's face it without offending anyone, if you suffer from an addiction to any substance (be it alcohol or marijuana), you'll do anything to acquire that substance. Even though marijuana supporters try to cover this up and twist the story around, Colorado's crime rate has surged ever since a big marijuana conglomerate planted its roots there. However, marijuana sale is strictly regulated. People cannot buy more than an ounce of marijuana unless they have a prescription. Also, all marijuana products' potency is tested, meaning that there are certain THC levels the product must meet before being sold. Even though this company helped create jobs, the police are feeling that people are getting out of hand. More and more people were stopped because of driving under the influence of the drug [Fact: 10 million people reported they drove under the influence of drugs in 2014 - the most common drug that people were influenced by was marijuana (5)]. Dr. Larry Wolk, head of the public health department in Colorado said more and more people are being admitted to hospitals because of nausea triggered by the drug (6).

The crime rate in Denver increased by 10% in 2015. The state's district attorney George Brauchler talked about the syllogism between the 2 entities on television, "That's not what you'd expect. You'd expect the harder-core drugs." ... "If cash is the only way to acquire marijuana, crime follows cash". He firmly believed marijuana is the culprit (8). In DC, after the legalization, violence increased by 15% in 2016. Over the year, homicides reached to 54%, all after marijuana was introduced (7). And frankly, it doesn't surprise me a bit. A study done by the University of Cambridge found that marijuana triggers violent behavior. Out of 411 male subjects born in 1953, 22% of them developed violent behavior after becoming chronic smokers (9).

Sub-argument 3 - Prohibition: My opponent compares marijuana prohibition to the prohibition era. Now, to address this, marijuana and alcohol are two separate substances that are in no way comparable with each other. Firstly, alcohol and marijuana differ in the way they affect the human body and the brain, the symptoms are very dissimilar. Surely, marijuana may be healthier, but people who smoke it are more inclined to committing crime; it's a drug that has greater ties to crime (12).

Excluding tax being placed on 'legalized marijuana', people are still satisfied, thinking that this might help end the War on Drugs. The truth is it is no different than before, dealers are still dealing. In fact, it's safe to assume that most of them might have products with higher potency and cheaper prices. The writer of the article put it well: "The same faces standing on the same corners. The same neighborhoods cruised by the same cops. The same cautious side-to-side look before a thickly flowered stem is removed from a backpack, peered at closely, maybe smelled and rolled between the fingers, and, in a quick change of hands, finally sold" (11).

=Fruther refutations and conclusion=
People used to use psychedelic drugs, cocaine, and heroin as medicine. Cocaine was used to treat headaches and used as an anesthetic during surgeries (10). Hell, cocaine used to be once legal, but this doesn't act as an excuse to relegalize it, doesn't it? Surely, you could argue that it's much safer to smoke marijuana than cocaine, I concur. But, look at the psychological effects these two drugs have on the brain. Alcohol, just like marijuana is regulated very strictly. Where I come from, you can't drink alcohol on the streets or buy it after 10 PM. In Netherlands, smoking marijuana is disallowed in public areas, only in cafe shops and other special areas permitting it. Essentially, smoking marijuana on the streets is illegal in Netherlands. However in the US, since people are deceived into thinking that marijuana is safer, they start committing traffic offenses, like driving under the influence of the drug. More people drive drunk than under the influence of alcohol.

-Challenge answer next round

Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Darenskiy 4 years ago
Ah man
Posted by Darenskiy 4 years ago
My rebuttals will be enforced in the next round, I was running out of space ))
Posted by Darenskiy 4 years ago
At the end I meant to say more people drive drugged not drunk lol :P
Posted by Challeger30 4 years ago
5 th round will be waived
Posted by Darenskiy 4 years ago
I would prefer round 2 to be arguments only, but since it is your debate I'll go along with the flow.
Posted by Darenskiy 4 years ago
Let's waive during the 5th round, I'd prefer to list my sources beforehand.
Posted by Challeger30 4 years ago
I would appreciate it if you would request a debate with con after we have completed ours. It is bad etiquette to cut into someones debate like that. However the structure you've suggested is what many debaters utilize so I shall do the same seeing as how Con has not objected.
Posted by Letsdebate24 4 years ago
Round 2: Pro argument / Con rebuttal and argument
Round 3: Pro rebuttal - new argument / Con rebuttal and new argument
Round 4: Pro rebuttal - closing statement / Con closing statements
Round 5: List sources

Most people seem to prefer no structure when debating but I do not have a preference, I am comfortable with any format. If you like the structure i've provided above i'll provide my first argument. If not suggest a new one
Posted by Darenskiy 4 years ago
Pro, don't you think it'll be easier for set up a debating outline. It's clear that round 1 is acceptance, but what about the other 4? Can you please take the time to address the debating outline in round 2.
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