In this round, I will respond to my opponent's arguments.
1. Marijuana should not be legal because it is unhealthy for society.
2. Marijuana should not be legal because people getting high from it will lead to a decrease in economic productivity.
3. Marijuana should not be legal because it has a gateway effect.
I will respond to my opponents rebuttal after responding to his case first.
Marijuana should not be legal because it is unhealthy for society.
Marijuana is not a major threat to public health. However, it must be noted that practically all substances consumed by people are potentially dangerous to us if used irresponsibly. Alcohol and many prescription drugs are more dangerous to us and are legal. You can not make all unhealthy substances illegal, choices have to be left to people. What is unhealthy is the government's war on cannabis, not legalizing it. The war on cannabis benefits drug cartels which allows more minors to have access to marijuana.
The risks from marijuana are minimal compared to other drugs. Studies have shown that marijuana has minimal effects on our body.
Marijuana should not be legal because people getting high from it will lead to a decrease in economic productivity.
Legalizing marijuana would lead to more job creation due to a growing industry.
This argument fails because there is no evidence of marijuana reducing productivity/motivation.
"In recent laboratory studies, subjects given high doses of marijuana for several weeks exhibited no decrease
in work motivation or productivity."*1
Actually, a case can be made for marijuana improving work ethic/productivity.
"In fact, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence
supporting the concept of cannabinoids improving an individual’s work ethic and creativity. As we know, there is a strong link between dopamine and the CB-1 and CB-2 cannabinoid receptors of the brain."*1
I won't argue that marijuana improves our work ethic, but I will say it wouldn't decrease economic productivity.
Marijuana has minimal effect except for maybe young developing minds(which would still be illegal for minors).
Marijuana should not be legal because it has a gateway effect.
My opponent pointed to what he thinks is a contradiction in my sources. These are no contradictions, one says that there is no good evidence for marijuana users all going to other drugs, and the other says the drug war increases the risk of kids getting access to other dangerous drugs. Even when marijuana is illegal, so much less use more dangerous drugs than marijuana. However, the drug war allows more unregulated access due to many drug cartels. More minors will get exposed to other drugs like heroin and cocaine. Many marijuana users use other drugs as well, but most don't. Marijuana doesn't have an inherent gateway effect.
Response to rebuttals
1. Boost Revenue rebuttal
2. Effectiveness rebuttal
3. People keep using it anyways rebuttal
4. Undermine Cartels rebuttal
5. Medical Benefits rebuttal
Boost Revenue rebuttal
My opponent says that taxing marijuana won't truly increase revenue because all the revenue is cuts in peoples wages that could have otherwise been spent on something else.
The problem with this is that it forgets that many people get marijuana even though it is illegal, if marijuana is legalized, the money spent on marijuana serving the drug cartels would then go to stores and taxed. My opponent also argued against cartels losing business, more on that later. Overall, taxing marijuana has increased revenue, and is one of the many ways to do it.
My opponent also argued that the tax revenue from marijuana is really higher than it will be since its a new legal product. He uses Cigarettes and Alcohol as an example. However, cigarettes still make a lot of revenue from taxation.
"Leaving aside the fact that more than 20 percent of Americans
would be gone (or, more likely, extremely irritable), cigarettes bring in significant revenues for state and federal government.
In Fiscal Year 2010, the federal excise tax on cigarettes (currently $1.01 per pack) brought in $15.5 billion in revenue. That money went to fund an expansion of the federal State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) program, which provides funding to states for health insurance for families that do not qualify for Medicare, but are still considered of modest means."
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/02/28/what-would-an-america-without-smokers-cost/#ixzz4ARmSCjg7
If everyone stopped smoking, it would cost the government a lot of money, and the same applies to marijuana. Marijuana has always been popular and would make good money for the government. If it follows the same path as cigarettes, then marijuana would always make good money from taxing.
My opponent then says that marijuana causes homelessness. However, he is incorrect. Marijuana isn't causing homelessness, it is attracting people that may have already been homeless.
"Still, she says, when Urban Peak staffers ask why the kids have relocated to Colorado, at least one out of ever three say it’s because weed is legal. So legal pot isn’t making people homeless, but it is drawing people who may already have been homeless to Colorado.
“They were at risk of becoming homeless or were homeless somewhere else,” Easton said. “They would have been smoking marijuana before they came here. They may come here so they are not arrested for possession. It’s just one less thing they have to worry about.”"*2
My opponent says that by my logic, making all crimes legal would solve problems. However, I am placing more importance on catching violent criminals than catching criminals that are a danger to themselves. Making marijuana legal would allow law enforcement to focus more on the violent crimes. This may sound like its begging the question, but I am sure my opponent would agree that violent crime is worse than a crime putting only yourself in danger after accepting the risks.
My opponent then says that ending racism is how you should deal with the issue, not legalizing marijuana. However, legalizing marijuana would help with racism.
"Cannabis use is about equal between blacks and whites. Yet, men of color are arrested 4x more often for marijuana possession...
The problem is clear.
American police forces have used the "drug war" to imprison men of color in specifically targeted communities. And it's been happening for decades now."*3
This allows for systematic racism. My opponent says we should just focus on ending Interpersonal racism instead. However, that is really above what we can do since personally hating a race is a choice and can't be stopped. But racist action can be stopped in many ways, and legalizing marijuana is one way. This would benefit blacks largely targeted by law enforcement.
My opponent says that very few are in prison because of just marijuana use, however, I have already shown that 88 percent of marijuana arrests are for possession only. The majority of people in prison for marijuana possession are not murderous thugs. Many would not get arrested under legal marijuana.
People keep using it anyways rebuttal
My opponent then says it doesn't matter since people use illegal stuff anyways and we need to keep it illegal to keep us safe. However, what is making marijuana possession dangerous is the drug war itself. The best way to keep it away from more people is legalizing it with restrictions and taxation.
"Ask any advocate of marijuana prohibition, including CASA’s head Joseph ‘Russian Roulette’ Califano, why they oppose legalization and you will almost always receive the same response: Keeping pot illegal keeps it out of the hands of children. Yet CASA’s own survey demonstrates once again that just the opposite is true. In fact, it’s legalization, regulation, and public education — coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions — that most effectively keeps mind-altering substances out of the hands of children."*4
Illegal marijuana allows for more into the hands of children and more exposure to other drugs. Even when marijuana was illegal, there is no evidence of a gateway effect, but legalizing marijuana would decrease this other drug use. Since marijuana is so popular, legalizing it would be hard on drug cartels and less would be motivated to buy other illegal drugs like heroin.
My opponent then argues that alcohol is easier to obtain than marijuana. I am not sure where he got that from, but it has always been known that marijuana is easier to obtain than alcohol.
"In their study, they found that 40 percent of teens could get marijuana within a day; another quarter said they could get it within an hour. In another portion of the survey, teens between the ages of 12 and 17 say it’s easier to get marijuana than buy cigarettes**, beer or prescription drugs. That number is up 37 percent from 2007.*4
Prohibition has failed but legalization and regulation can work, this idea shouldn't be ignored. Illegal marijuana leaves it to black market criminal entrepreneurs, which is more dangerous to us and teens. This now leads to my opponents rebuttal on Cartels.
Undermine Cartels rebuttal
My opponent argues that illegal drug cartels would not lose business. This is incorrect, it is happening under legal marijuana.
"Agents on the 2,000 mile-U.S. border have wrestled with these smuggling techniques for decades, seemingly unable to stop the northward flow of drugs and southward flow of dollars and guns. But the amount of one drug — marijuana — seems to have finally fallen. U.S. Border Patrol has been seizing steadily smaller quantities of the drug, from 2.5 million pounds in 2011 to 1.9 million pounds in 2014. Mexico’s army has noted an even steeper decline, confiscating 664 tons of cannabis in 2014, a drop of 32% compared to year before."*5
This is what is happening in the face of legal marijuana. It becomes harder on the illegal drug cartels due to the lower prices from legalization and people choosing to buy it legally at stores rather than illegally from them.
"Drug policy reformists tout this market shift from Mexican gangsters to American licensed growers as a reason to spread legalization. “It is no surprise to me that marijuana consumers choose to buy their product from a legal tax-paying business as opposed to a black market product that is not tested or regulated,” says Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “When you go to a legal store, you know what you are getting, and that is not going to be contaminated.” A group called Marijuana Doctors elaborate the point in this comical online ad."*5
My opponent then argues that taxing marijuana would raise the price, but under illegal marijuana, prices are higher because of it being illegal. When marijuana was legalized, prices dropped. Also, people don't just buy marijuana for the price, they also choose legal marijuana because it is safer(was tested) and is regulated and sold legally.
Medical Benefits rebuttal
My opponent argues that my medical benefits argument does not align with my case, of course it does. If marijuana is legal, this would include marijuana for medical purposes. At the beginning of my first round, I stated that I am arguing for cannabis in all of its consumed forms. Marijuana is used for medical purposes and works well, so it works as a medical drug. Then my opponent assumed for a moment that my model allowed for medical marijuana only. Marijuana has its health harms, but this is true of any other legal medical drug. Other already legal drugs are more dangerous than marijuana. You can't ban something because it has some harms, marijuana has many benefits, so its useful for medical purposes. I stated earlier that anything can have harmful effects on our body if used irresponsibly. Obviously, marijuana has its harms, but its benefits are worth noting.
Overall, I believe that these are powerful reasons to legalize marijuana. While my opponent brought powerful arguments as well in this debate, I believe my case still stands. I am looking forward to my opponents future rebuttals.
This is my first debate against admin, the #1 on this site, so I hope I am doing well in this and if you think I am, don't be afraid to vote PRO.
Thanks for reading
Return To Top | Posted:
2016-06-02 20:57:34 | Speak Roundadmin (CON)
I'd like to thank my opponent for their rebuttals. I like the structure they've established and will further break this down thematically into social and personal impacts. I'll also deal with the two minor points we've established in this debate about cartels and medicine.
Pro's whole claim of marginal revenue is based on losing those pesky drug cartels. In fact this is irrelevant. Even if this money were taxed, any gains the government might get from this would inherently be offset by people smoking their way to poverty. A few people not paying a few sales taxes on one product is a drop in a pond compared to many people paying sales taxes for basic goods like food. When people spend more on pot, they spend less on those other valuable things. You're not adding anything to the economy by doing this - cartels need to convert their money anyway in order to actually use it, even if they want to take it out of the country. It's a zero sum game. The only way it works is because of short term hype.
I agree tobacco makes a lot of tax dollars. All I was saying is that it costs significantly more than it earns. None of my opponent's analysis refutes this point. The same is true of most legal recreational drugs.
I wonder if my opponent has ever questioned why there is a strong correlation between homelessness and marijuana. Maybe it's because it's an expensive, uncouth habit that few landlords or flatmates have the patience for. As such many smokers are thrown out or unable to keep up with rent. Of course they'd be attracted to a place with marijuana because that's - often - the reason why they're homeless in the first place.
In my argument I talked about a disruption to work productivity. In response pro found an article written by "Medical Jane", and following their source link just leads to a California doctor's cannabis sales page. He does claim to have surveyed his happy clients, which is hardly a scientific report, and indeed an example of self-selection bias. Clicking on their link (which pro had the audacity to include in his actual argument) for anecdotal evidence yields this scientific report published by a more respectable journal, which was an experimental study. They claim it says productivity may increase with cannabis. In fact what the study says
"Introduction of cannabis resulted in lower productivity; reduction of intake raised productivity. A fall in productivity was matched by a fall in time spent working, but not in efficiency."
Meaning that pot smokers are less productive because they work less. I completely agree with these findings. The study was very carefully controlled and hardly "anecdotal". I encourage all to read it.
I agree American law enforcement is racist. If it wasn't marijuana, they'd probably arrest black people more for violent crimes. Oh wait, they already do. It has no relevance whatsoever to crime rates, but is simply an easy scapegoat racist officers use. If they didn't have marijuana, they'd find a different scapegoat. Pro says nothing can be done about this, but that racist actions can be stopped. Making crime legal is probably not a good way to do that. A more positive approach might be something like cameras mounted on officers making drug arrests. As for prison, I must reiterate, it would be impossible to put somebody in prison for marijuana possession alone even if they really wanted to. An arrest is not the same as imprisonment.
Pro argues that there are studies proving marijuana is not a big threat to public health and carries little personal risk. I'd like a citation on that. I mean sure, it's a softer drug than meth, but that doesn't mean it is not risky. It's the same as how jumping off a 3-story high platform is less risky than jumping off a 10-story high one, but still risky.
It's a lie to say marijuana is merely dangerous to yourself. I mentioned drug driving as an example. People under the influence of marijuana have done stupid things and yes, people have died as a result. Not just the users, but innocent bystanders also. He gives no reason for why we should focus on violent criminals, but regardless, plenty of dealers are violent anyway. It is through force and intimidation that drug networks have continued to operate in America and beyond.
Pro concedes that "developing young minds" are harmed by marijuana. The truth is that drug dealers market marijuana to kids because they're the only ones impressionable enough to try it. Once they've got them hooked on drugs, then they're at the drug dealer's mercy. This is especially pernicious because of how easy marijuana is to access when it is legal, as I demonstrated in the previous round. My opponent's only data here is out of date (by 7 years, compared to mine which was updated just last year), and from a biased source (Norml which is pro-marijuana, as opposed to mine which was conducted by a neutral group for medical purposes only and not policy). They referred to a CASA survey (anti-marijuana biased, whose reports tend to be filled with "shock value" stuff) which had a broken link but was presumably this one
. Note the study design only targeted older adolescents via a sampled (they don't say how) self-selected telephone survey. Their study happened to have an unusually high value for marijuana availability. Presumably it didn't increase by 33% in 2 years as they report because longitudinal data as that provided in my other source doesn't correlate with it. Regardless the same source also states that marijuana users get raped frequently so I'd take it with some caution if pro wants to rely on it. If he still isn't sure where I got it from, he can scroll up the page a little and find my sources are all hotlinked.
Pro says choices need to be left to the people. This is a nice principle but not one pro justifies. I also oppose most countries' current regulations on alcohol and other drugs so this is hardly comparative to the resolution. Governments have in fact been going too soft on drugs, making a mockery out of the attempt to permanently rid their plague from our society. Instead, a better principle ought to be the protection of all people. When people make poor choices, it's up to the rest of society to help them make better choices, not merely laugh at them or blame them. Given that using marijuana is a poor choice, the government is absolutely vindicated in preventing you from making that choice. This means that people can lead happier and healthier lives.
If there is no evidence marijuana users (including kids) go on to other drugs, then there cannot be a risk that kids go on to other drugs because of their marijuana habits. The two are literally saying opposite things. I do not see how there could possibly not be a contradiction there. Regardless, as was proven by my sources in the previous round, marijuana is used more than almost every other illegal drug in the United States combined. This effect is even greater when you consider that drug use is not exclusive, so a single user may appear in many drug categories. In the previous round I gave a clear mechanism for why there is a gateway effect. Pro has claimed one does not exist, but can't tell us why. Indeed other than his clear assertions that there is no such effect, his response to the point is rather confused. For example his notion of being "less would be motivated to buy other illegal drugs like heroin" can only possibly be true if there is a gateway effect.
My opponent doesn't answer my counter point to people using it anyway and instead goes on a tangent about the drug war. Consider the issue dropped.
So first of all, considering that almost all of pro's analysis is premised on this, pro does virtually nothing to dispute my mechanism. This is problematic because anecdotal evidence can be misleading due to confounding variables. A more likely explanation is that the gangs are simply less afraid of growing within the USA itself where their business is totally legal. Otherwise you'd have to believe that the two states where marijuana just so happens to be legal, previously consumed 33% of all illegally traded marijuana. Several times in the article pro cited it is mentioned that other confounding variables likely played a role.
Since that article was published we now know that gangs have adapted to drug legalization
. They are still peddling their death sticks and making their cash money. It's just that more of the gangs will be American and less will be Mexican, at least for the time being. This has very little impact on the power of cartels.
Taxing marijuana raises the price above the equilibrium level. The equilibrium price is still set by demand and supply, both for gangs and legal sellers. The difference is that legal sellers have to mark up those prices to pay their tax. Illegal sellers are free to mark up however much they like so long as it is less than the tax, and they will be cheaper. This means they earn less than the government, but earn more than other marijuana sellers. And they are still the cheapest option.
It's a shame we had so little discussion on this point. First, my opponent did not answer that marijuana is a poor vehicle for delivering the same mechanism. My opponent did not answer that the same medical benefits without any of the risks can already be legally acquired, even using the exact same active ingredients. He did not answer that more research into this field is yet ongoing and that the long-term impact of the medicine is poorly understood.
I agree that his model called for marijuana in all its consumed forms, but this simply makes the point non comparative. The power of morphine as a drug does not mean morphine should be legal recreationally - that's a simple non-sequitur. He concedes that using medical marijuana can cause severe medical harms and while it's true other medical drugs can be more dangerous, they don't land hundreds of thousands in the emergency room every year. Numerous medications, once common, are now banned because they are too dangerous - cocaine for example.
The resolution is negated.
Return To Top | Posted:
2016-06-07 06:43:24 | Speak Round