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Recreational Marijuana Legalization

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/24/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 783 times Debate No: 76905
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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Recreational marijuana has many benefits in society today. It has gone through history as a drug grouped together with heroin, meth and cocaine. Grouping them together is highly unrealistic. There are many reasons that marijuana prohibition has done more harm than good and , if legalized, won't cause a massive American meltdown. I will start with 5 reasons and you may rebuttal any of them.

1) Marijuana's health benefits greatly outweigh the risks accociated with them.
The main medical risk i hear about is the fact that when you smoke it it damages your lungs. There is truth to that. Inhaling a hot smoke can damage the lungs and can leave tar everywhere. However the reason that happens is because it's not filtered like it is in a cigarette. The inhaling hot smoke predicament can be solved by using a bong which filters out the tar using water leafing a fresh clean smoke and it cools down the smoke considerably. Besides you can get oils, patches, and edibles. Thus most of the dangerous part of marijuana on your health is stopped. (Source: ). That only leaves the mental health side of things. Sure it has an effect on you brain but in the studies done in 2011 on a large swath of people who had a control group and a group of heavy marijuana users what happened suprised the professors. The brain had a few changes that weren't substantial and didn't prove to be a dangerous change. It was just a small difference with no substancial threat. For their reaction times change. That can only be expected from a mind altering drug ( Source: ) it's a 2015 study. Plus the benefits are much greater. It all starts with the reduced risk of many cancers and dangerous diseases including Heart disease, osteoporosis, and can even helps the brain after a traumatic brain injury.

2) Marijuana doesn't cause an increase in violent crime. The claim that it does is wrong and has negitively been used to tarnish marijuana and say it's a danger to society. Use this article as an example

3) Marijuana can add money into the economy and add another trade with canada. The tax revenue in the first year of colorado alone was 63 million and is projected to grow up to 1 billion by 2016 (Source: ) now multiply that by 50 to get a gross estimate of the amount of total revenue per year. Now isn't that a lot of money. Extra link:

4) If the legalization were nationwide then the cartels would feel quite the smack. If texas and new mexico, their biggest target consumers, were to legalize it they would feel a huge decrease in revenue. About 17% and only in those 2 states and California. (Source: ).

5) Keeping marijuana illegal is a waste of time and tax dollars it cost 14 billion a year to keep it illegal (Source: ). Not only that, your life can be completely ruined. Even being arrested and not convicted is enough to put a damaging mark on a persons record. Even for having a gram or an empty bong on theirselves. Plus it adds so many people in prison for a non-violent crime. 88% of drug arrests were for normal people possessing small amounts of marijuana. (Source: )
Read this to see how damaging it really is for an arrest for possessing marijuana

6) I know i said 5 but i had to bring up another topic. The alcohol and tobacco vs. marijuana topic. I won't get so deep into this but i will add a link for you to read
That source has a like to the actual study.

Those are a few reasons that marijuana should be legal. You may provide your assertions


I thank my opponent for challenging me and I look forward to the debate. I will start as my opponent has by supplying my main argument.

I believe that marijuana should not be legalized for many reasons. The first reason I would like to convey is that the health risks for marijuana outweigh the benefits. Marijuana use has been proven to weaken the immune system, increase risk for pneumonia and lung infection as well as causing psychosis in users that has resulted in death. Long term smoking of marijuana has even been linked to lung cancer. In addition to this, it demotes learning abilities days after use in students and the legalization would increase the number of intoxicated drivers on the road[1].

Also, the legalization would be a significant economic opportunity for drug dealers. As possession would not be illegal, it would be more convenient to purchase marijuana from a drug dealer untaxed than it would be to buy it for extra at the store. To continue that thought, the easy access given by the state would make it easier for it to get into the hands of minors. In addition to this, legalization would (contrary to some beliefs) provoke drug cartels based in Mexico[2].

"The 2014 UN World Drug Reportfound a "large increase" in the number of methamphetamine laboratories seized in Mexico and the United States."

"'Between 2013 and 2014, U.S. Customs and Border Protection saw an increase in seizures of heroin, up 5.2 percent, and methamphetamine, up 9.8 percent,' U.S. Customs and Border Protection media spokesman Carlos Lazo told Fusion."

"DEA spokesman Lawrence Payne told NPR last year that 'Sinaloa operatives in the United States are reportedly buying high-potency American marijuana in Colorado and smuggling it back into Mexico for sale to high-paying customers.'"
Sinaloa is a region in Mexico infamous for cartel activity.

Lastly, the fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal shouldn't determine whether marijuana should be. I do not deny that alcohol and tobacco can be harmful, but releasing another harmful substance to the public will in no way change that nor have a positive effect. It is simply adding another harmful substance into the mix. Marijuana is more intoxicating than alcohol and tobacco. Upon having a drink, the vast majority of humans will be under the legal limit and be able to drive[3]. Upon "smoking a bowl" of marijuana, one will be intoxicated, or "high". Tobacco does not have intoxicating factors like alcohol or marijuana. It does not take a single drink to get drunk, yet it takes one joint or bowl to get high. Giving the public access to this would increase the number of intoxicated drivers because it is adding another variable to the equation. Driving stoned is very dangerous[4] and a public safety risk as use has been proven to increase where it is legal[5]. For example, if X is drinkers and Y is intoxicated drivers, we have X=Y. If we legalize marijuana, then we would have X Z=Y. It would be dangerous and unfair to the American people to legalize marijuana.

Debate Round No. 1


I thank you for stating your starting arguement. I will start the second round to rebuttal your claims. However before i start i would like to mention than most of your sources are news cites. Please keep most sources to actual studies or an article with links to the study and use the most recent study of it's kind. Use mostly 2015 and sometimes 2014 dated journals if possible.
Since i am busy and pressed for time i will be posting quotes and full articles to rebuttal your arguments.

For your first claim your sources from the 1970 and 80's. It is severely outdated.
"It has been widely claimed that marijuana substantially increases users' risk of contracting various infectious diseases. First emerging in the 1970s, this claim took on new significance in the 1980s, following reports of marijuana use by people suffering from AIDS.


The principal study fueling the original claim of immune impairment involved preparations created with white blood cells that had been removed from marijuana smokers and controls. After exposing the cells to known immune activators, researchers reported a lower rate of "transformation" in those taken from marijuana smokers. 26

However, numerous groups of scientists, using similar techniques, have failed to confirm this original study. 27
In fact, a 1988 study demonstrated an increase in responsiveness when white blood cells from marijuana smokers were exposed to immunological activators. 28

Studies involving laboratory animals have shown immune impairment following administration of THC, but only with the use of extremely high doses. For example, one study demonstrated an increase in herpes infection in rodents given doses of 100 mg/kg/day - a dose approximately 1000 times the dose necessary to produce a psychoactive effect in humans. 29
There have been no clinical or epidemiological studies showing an increase in bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection among human marijuana users. In three large field studies conducted in the 1970s, in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Greece, researchers found no differences in disease susceptibility between marijuana users and matched controls. 30

Marijuana use does not increase the risk of HIV infection; nor does it increase the onset or intensity of symptoms among AIDS patients. 31 In fact, the FDA decision to approve the use of Marinol (synthetic THC) for use in HIV-wasting syndrome relied upon the absence of any immunopathology due to THC. 32

Today, thousands of people with AIDS are smoking marijuana daily to combat nausea and increase appetite. There is no scientific basis for claims that this practice compromises their immune responses. Indeed, the recent discovery of a peripheral cannabinoid receptor associated with lymphatic tissue should encourage aggressive exploration of THC's potential use as an immune-system stimulant. 33".
(Source: )

The fact that marijuana was legalized is NOT the reason that those 2 markets increased. I used your source too.
Mexican cartels are also diversifying the types of drugs they smuggle. The 2014 UN World Drug Report found a "large increase" in the number of methamphetamine laboratories seized in Mexico and the United States. In 2012 "Mexico dismantled 259 methamphetamine laboratories, up from a few dozen a few years earlier, and it reported the world"s largest aggregate amount of seizures of methamphetamine for the period 2010-2012," the report found.

The increased availability of methamphetamine drugs in the U.S. is "directly related to high levels of methamphetamine production in Mexico," according to the DEA and U.S. Department of Justice 2014 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary. The report notes that meth and heroin seizures have increased dramatically along the border while marijuana busts remained stable from 2010 to 2013.

"Between 2013 and 2014, U.S. Customs and Border Protection saw an increase in seizures of heroin, up 5.2 percent, and methamphetamine, up 9.8 percent," U.S. Customs and Border Protection media spokesman Carlos Lazo told Fusion. "During the same time, CBP saw a decrease in seizures of 20.9 percent in marijuana, a decrease of 3 percent in cocaine, and a decrease of 87.7 percent in ecstasy."
(Source: )

And for your last claim, the real claim is saying that "marijuana is safer than those 2 legal substances so why shouldn't it be legal." There is no doubt that it impairs your memory but your brain doesn't turn into mush. Theres no doubt that if you smoke it directly from a blunt or joint it causes lung damage. But there are ways around that. Here's an article, with sources embedded throughout, that prove that it isn't a bad thing to legalize and would be very fair to most if not all American citizens.

1)Drug arrests would drop and prison space would open for violent offenders. As it stands now, there is a drug arrest made every 18 seconds in America. Now, not all of these arrests are marijuana related, and in fact, marijuana arrests have declined. However, there were more than 800,000 pot-related arrests in 2008, and there are still a number of these arrests taking place as we speak. If marijuana were legalized, these drug-related arrests would drop immensely, freeing up jail space and allowing police to focus on violent crimes.
2) Fewer kids would try marijuana. It may be counter-intuitive, but legalizing marijuana for adults could lead to less pot use by kids. Why? Studies have shown that even though pot is currently illegal, kids find it more easily than beer and cigarettes. Legalizing marijuana would put street dealers out of business who don"t care about the age of their customers.
3)Street violence would drop. According to Jeffrey A. Miron, director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University"s economics department, street violence would drop. The problem with pot being illegal is that it forces people to resolve disputes themselves, often with violence. If pot were legal, buyers and sellers could resolve their business disputes just like everyone else " in court.
4)Gang violence, which is due in part to the illegal marijuana trade, would decrease as well.
State governments would have a lot more money. If pot were legal, state governments could heavily tax it just like alcohol and tobacco, creating a new stream of revenue. For example, estimates show California could rake in over $1 billion per year in pot taxes. What"s more, according to The Budgetary Effects of Marijuana Prohibition, taxpayers are spending about $14 billion each year on the war against marijuana. That"s money that would be saved if marijuana were legal.
5)Accidents and emergency room visits may increase. Although marijuana doesn"t conjure up images of wife beating and recklessness like alcohol, it does impair motor skills and judgment, which could lead to more accidents. However, this assumes legalizing marijuana would lead to more people using it, which isn"t necessarily true. In Holland, where marijuana is legal for everyone over 18, the percentage of adults using it is less than half of that in America. Is this just a cultural difference between the Dutch and Americans? Perhaps, but even in Europe, the French, Italians, Spaniards and Britons all use more pot than the Dutch, even though it"s illegal in all those countries.
6)The price of marijuana would drop and corporations would profit. In areas where medical marijuana is legal, the increased supply has already caused prices to plummet. If pot were legal for everyone, prices would drop even further as large companies grew, cultivated and distributed marijuana on an industrial scale. Such large companies and their shareholders would make billions in additional profit (a part of which goes back to the government in the form of taxes) and they would need to hire more workers. Of course, some small-scale growers could also thrive, much like some microbreweries thrive in the face of Bud Light.
7)Mexican drug cartels would be crippled. Marijuana accounts for as much as half of Mexican drug cartel revenue, which means legalizing it would cripple their business. This would free up the border patrol, the forest service and local law enforcement to worry about deadly drugs like meth, cocaine and heroin, not to mention terrorism. A financial blow to Mexican drug cartels would also weaken their control over American street and prison gangs.
(Source: )

You may rebuttal all of my claims listed in my first and second arguments.


My opponent starts off by criticizing my sources because they are news sites while she used the Washington Post more than once in her starting argument, which is quite unethical. She instructs me to " keep most sources to actual studies or an article with links to the study and use the most recent study of it's kind" while she herself does not heed these instructions. My opponent uses the "Tu Quoque" fallacy (hypocrisy) in doing this, since it is permissible for her to use news sites yet scolds me for using such sources and labels them as not "actual studies". Seeing as we both have used news sites, which are valid sources, I shall continue to use them.

Furthermore, my opponent claims my "sources [are] from the [1970's] and 80's" and that they are "severely outdated". All of the sources I have used are recent, not one is even from the 90's. My opponent told a blatant lie to attack my sources which are all credible and recent. In reality, my opponent attack her own source. If you read her first source in round 2, the first section of that source is the quote she attacked as "outdated": ""It has been widely claimed that marijuana substantially increases users' risk of contracting various infectious diseases. First emerging in the 1970s, this claim took on new significance in the 1980s, following reports of marijuana use by people suffering from AIDS." This is not my source, my opponent attacks her own source in an attempt to pass it off as mine to mislead the reader.

Also, to my opponent: I noticed you copy and pasted the majority of one of your sources. If you could please cite it, it would make it easier to differentiate the article from your argument.

My opponent asserts that marijuana's benefits outweigh the risks on the grounds that there are multiple ways to ingest it. Smoking it is the most common way of ingesting it, and it causes very severe damage. But even without smoking it, it is a harmful drug. Although it has some medical benefits to people with lupus and multiple sclerosis, "researchers found that marijuana triggered the production of a massive number of myeloid-derived suppressor cells leading to immune suppression and cancer growth by activating cells that respond to the cannabinoids found in marijuana"[1]. Unless someone has a severe medical condition that requires treatment with marijuana, it should not be used. This has devastating side effects and like prescription medication, should not be taken recreationally for the purpose of intoxicating oneself.

Next, my opponent claims that marijuana does not cause an increase in violent crime. That is a true statement. However, it must be taken into account that marijuana is a gateway drug. The vast majority of hard drug users started out by using marijuana. Children aged "12 to 17 years old who use marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than kids who do not use pot, and that 60% of the kids who smoke pot before the age of 15 move on to cocaine"[2]. When one builds up a tolerance for marijuana, it may influence the individual to try hard drugs in order to achieve the same high. The hard drug users, of whom the vast majority started on marijuana, are the ones committing the majority of the crimes caused by drug users.

My opponent addressed her 4th point in the second round as well so I will address them both here. My opponent next used my source from, which shows that cartels are rapidly increasing their output of methamphetamine and heroin to the U.S. because of marijuana being readily available to Coloradans and Washingtonians. It also shows that the cartels smuggle U.S. marijuana back into mexico to make profits as well. My opponent used my source, which only furthers my argument that cartels are not willing to lose their profits, they are making up for it by increasing output of meth and heroin to the U.S. while smuggling back U.S. marijuana. This study furthermore invalidates her original point.

My opponent also asserts that because of the cost of the war on drugs, marijuana should be legal. However, she only offers that topic sentence and a source. She then proceeds to change the topic, victimizing law breakers. My opponent claims that one's "life can be completely ruined". While I don't agree with a prison sentence for first or second time marijuana possession, this doesn't justify the users' actions. If someone knows something is illegal and still willingly commits the crime, are they guilty? The answer is yes. Although you may not agree with a certain law, you still must follow it. My opponent says getting arrested for marijuana is "damaging", yet users are willingly breaking the law, so it is self-inflicted. If you willingly break a law, whose fault is it?

My opponent next delivers no argument or point but insists that I read an article. Technically, alcohol should be illegal; the Volstead Act was repealed due to violence[3].

Second Round:

My opponent says "And for your last claim, the real claim is saying that 'marijuana is safer than those 2 legal substances so why shouldn't it be legal.'" That isn't my claim at all. I'm not exactly sure what to make of this, but my claim is that the dangers of alcohol and tobacco do not justify legalizing another dangerous substance for recreational use. My opponent further recognizes that "there is no doubt that it impairs your memory ", another harmful effect of marijuana use.

My opponent next makes a series of claims on what would happen if marijuana was legal for recreational use:

1.) Marijuana arrests only would drop, as a result of its legality. But as I have previously explained, it is a public health risk. Not only for the users, but also for the innocent people getting in car accidents with stoned drivers. Perhaps issuing heavy fines for use would be more beneficial for the state. This would allow police to focus on violent crimes and jail space to be freed up without us encouraging drug use.
2.) It is illogical that fewer kids would try it. In fact, marijuana use is rising. "Among 12th graders, 36.4 percent reported using marijuana at least once in the past year, up from 31.5 percent 5 years ago"[4]. Increasing the availability to the public would increase its availability to children.
3&4.) Earlier my opponent claimed that there is no correlation between marijuana and crime [excluding its legal status]. These essentially invalidate her previous argument as they are precise contradictions.
5.) My opponent acknowledges that "[a]ccidents and emergency room visits may increase" which is true, it is an intoxicating substance and is harmful. There is no need to add another substance in the mix. She then uses the "Guilt by association" fallacy by negatively associating recreational alcohol users to those who commit acts of violence to their spouse. While it may be true that fewer adults use marijuana in the Netherlands than the US, the number of those who tried it is most likely significantly higher, which is not safe. Also, Colombia allows its citizens to grow up to 15 plants and their crime rate and doesn't have very favorable living conditions for the most part[5].
6.) If you want to tax it, prices will go up.
7.) My opponent has contradicted herself on this stance, I have already rebutted this.

Debate Round No. 2


terminallyCapricious forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited so I will accept the victory. I thank my opponent for an intriguing debate and wish her luck on future debates.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 3 years ago
I vote con
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
>Reported vote: Martley// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: Con provided the more convincing and sourced position. Pro forfeited final round. All points to Con.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) Lack of specifics. Merely repeats the point category and *that* Con was more convincing. (2) Personal bias: You should vote based on the arguments presented, and NOT on the position taken. (3) No explanation for S&G.
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