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Private Debate: Binary Digit vs Politicomind

politicomind

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This debate is on the issue of legalizing Marijuana

Binary Digit is in favor of legalization
Politicomind is opposed to legalization
 

Binary_Digit

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"Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use. We can, and should, continue to discourage the use of marijuana, but this can be done without defining the smoker as a criminal." - President Jimmy Carter: August 2, 1977

There is an economic theory which predicts that the prohibition of mutually beneficial exchanges is doomed to failure. The truth of that theory was realized during the 1920-1933 alcohol prohibition in the United States. The measure, also known as "the Noble Experiment," was enacted to reduce crime, solve social problems, and improve the health of America. Noble as its goal was, the 13-year experiment succeeded primarily in making worse the very problems it attempted to solve. Otherwise back-alley thugs likes Al Capone monopolized the inevitable black market and violently ruled the streets with virtual impunity. Bootleggers and rum runners kept individual drinkers as well as speakeasy establishments stocked with illegal booze. Moonshine was produced by amateurs who adhered to no standards, and often resulted in products that could harm or kill the consumer.

If we don't learn from other people's mistakes, we're doomed to repeat them. Just as alcohol prohibition gave us Al Capone, today's drug prohibition gave us Pablo Escobar. Instead of rum runners, today we have drug gangs. But the good news is, it's never too late to correct a mistake. Here are some fundamental points toward that end:


Criminal Laws Have Little Effect On Marijuana Use


Prohibition doesn't deter the use of marijuana and legalization doesn't encourage it. The Netherlands, Liverpool, and nine U.S. states have seen essentially the same results.

"In sum, just as removing or decreasing criminal penalties does not appear to increase marijuana use, adding or increasing penalties does not appear to decrease use."

Marijuana Prohibition Has Not Curtailed Marijuana Use by Adolescents

"In the first rigorous study comparing marijuana use in the Netherlands and the United States, researchers have found no evidence that decriminalization of marijuana leads to increased drug use. The results suggest that drug policies may have less impact on marijuana use than is currently thought."

Study compares drug policies


Marijuana is a Gateway Drug Because it is Prohibited


Under prohibition, marijuana smokers are driven to the criminal underground to obtain it. Places where they are far more likely to encounter hard drugs. There is no inherent property in marijuana that makes its users want to try any other drug. The correlation between marijuana use and hard drugs is a product of prohibition, not marijuana. The National Academy of Sciences summed it up best:

"There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs."

"Instead, the legal status of marijuana makes it a gateway drug."

Executive Summary | Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base | Institute of Medicine
Chapter 3: First, Do No Harm: Consequences of Marijuana Use and Abuse | Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base | Institute of Medicine



We Must Choose Between a Black Market and a Regulated Market


Neither legalization nor prohibition will ever completely eradicate marijuana use. People will always be willing to smoke it, and people will always be willing to sell it to those people. Now this is not to say that marijuana use should be legal simply because it's going to happen anyway, that would be absurd. Rather, since the market is inevitable (and quite large), we have to make a choice between a black market and a regulated market. And the choice is not hard when one considers the devistating effects of a black market compared to the minimal inherent consequences of smoking marijuana.


Legalization Will Allow Marijuana to be Regulated and Taxed

Much of our concern about how to deal with the drug problem should be focused on preventing kids from getting them. Yet today, high school kids consistently say marijuana is easier to get than beer. Thugs on the street aren't easily held accountable for selling to minors. Legalization would allow it to be produced and sold only by licenced, reputable establishments who are bound by law to uphold certain standards.

Regulated marijuana is also less harmful to the health. It's not likely to have been laced with cocaine, or doused in gasoline or hidden in a box of laundry detergent to mask the scent from drug dogs.

A recent study called marijuana the "top U.S. cash crop", exceeding the combined value of corn and wheat. The tax revenue generated by a regulated market would fund programs that are more beneficial to society than throwing pot heads in jail, such as better education about the negative effects of drugs and more funding for police to fight violent crime.


Legalize Does Not Mean Glamorize

If marijuana is legalized, its use should be discouraged at the federal and social levels, and should only be allowed in a select few places. Intoxicated persons should be held fully accountable for any crime they commit. In short, all the laws that currently pertain to alcohol, but without the social glamor that alcohol has.
 

politicomind

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Politicomind's Opening Statement



"Marijuana has the ability to decrease one's intellect by creating learning disabilities, anxiety, paranoia and even schitzophrenia, and it has the ability to destroy one's motivation, while also jeopardizing one's health. At the very least, marijuana makes great people average, and average people poor."


Only Negativity Comes from Use of Marijuana

Simply, no one is better off for having inhaled marijuana. To try marijuana is to open one's self up to many negative outcomes associated with this lazy man's drug: amotivational syndrome, lung cancer, schizophrenia, personality disorder, learning disabilities, and low birth weights in new borns just to name a few of the many disorders, problems, and diseases associated with inhalation of this drug.

Marijuana is more malignant than cigarette smoking

Doctors and scientists estimate that marijuana smoke is at least five to six times more cancer-causing than cigarette smoke. As the impetus of disgruntled smokers in the United States hurl lawsuits and insults at big tobacco companies, it is evident that American has no tolerance for any substance which contributes to the early demise of the American people. Morally, it is easy to judge right or wrong in terms of life and death. As cigarrettes commit a long term murder by strangling away the oxygen supply of the smoker, and slowing harvesting cancer within the user, it is easy to deem big tobacco as an amoral producer of a caustic and lethal substance, which ultimately kills its users. Just the same amount of blame could be rightly assessed upon any producer or seller of marijuana but the big marijuana producer would be assailed with five times the blame because marijuana is at least five times as malignant.

Marijuana causes mental disease such as schitzophrenia, paranoia, and anxiety

How could we willing offer to our own people a product which may contribute to their eventual affliction with schitzophrenia. For years it has marijuana usage has been linked to schitzophrenia. We as a people, knowing that there is a scientific link between usage and the disease, would be considered barbaric and moronic to give to our people that thing which would eventually corrupt and tarnish their minds. Some scientists speculate that currently that it is only a possibility that marijuana is a cause of schitzophrenia. But only the possibility is certainly enough. Why would we open ourselves up to even the potential that millions of people would progress into developing an extremely undesirable mental disease for both the afflicted and those that must treat the individual. Not to mention that both chronic paranoia and anxiety are commonly accepted and associated with marijuana use. It is the duty of mankind and government to protect others, and we as a people would be amoral to let others inhale a product with would create even mild mental conditions like paranoia and anxiety in millions of Americans.
Let us analyze the costs and benefits associated with the drug. The assumption is that marijuana use gives a pleasant state of mind for about one to three hours depending upon the amount consumed and the quality of the drug. Yet, once even episodes of marijuana uses have been reached chronic paranoia and anxiety sets in which then makes the user more dependent upon the drug to take away the paranoia or the anxiety. This leaves a human that is either intoxicated with a drug that slows his ability to learn and his ability to function or when he is not high a human being that is anxious and paranoid. This seems like such a nightmarish outcome that even the proposition that the drug be legalized disturbs me to what ridiculous amounts the people who support this idea must have already inhaled to make this idea seem like a good one.

Marijuana creates learning disabilities

As the United States already trails much of the world in academic achievement, I would content that to instill into the people a drug which would further tax their ability to learn and thrive would be troubling and a counter to the aims of the American people. I believe the United States would have to have a brighter generation than a duller one. And marijuana legalization only promises to create a duller one.

Marijuana creates amotivational syndrome

Amotivational syndrome is the apathy created after frequent marijuana use, a condition in which the user does not care to try to achieve much of anything but rather enjoys a condition of stagnation. This would create a dramatic reaction to the American economy and its level of productivity. As millions of people become less inclined to dedicate themselves to anything, all aspects of America would suffer, less invention, less medical research, less product innovation, less business starts. People will simply consumed by a marijuana stuper of non-productivity.


Marijuana creates a mediocre class of chronic smokers

What all of these outcomes will produce is a mere mediocre class of underseducated, underachievers, with mild health problems and growing mental problems. Marijuana legalization would create a giant class of lazy, poor, undereducated pot smokers.

When the thrill of marijuana erodes, the next great drug must step into to replace it

One of the most disturbing aspects is that when marijuana loses its kick, when it is no longer as fun, when the user wants a higher high, the next most lethal drug will become the drug of choice, whence that class of poor lazy pot smokers, may become more violent, more theft and burglary inclined, more mentally diseased, possibly homeless, desperate, sleeping in the cold, starving, living with diseases such as hiv or hepatitis, if their next drug of choice is one associated with needles. The consequences associated with legalizing marijuana are too great, and too terrifying to permit.

I would not wish that any one grow the habit of marijuana use, for the outcomes are too costly to the person, the community and the nation.

SOURCES:​
How Harmful IS Marijuana?

Schizophrenia.com - Marijuana Cannabis and Schizophrenia

New Page 2

New Page 2

Entrez PubMed

 

Binary_Digit

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Although your opening statement consists of several "categories," you've really only made three points:

1. Marijuana use is harmful to the health. This is supported by half-truths and myths.

2. Marijuana use leads to the use of other drugs. This is supported by...nothing.

3. Because marijuana use is harmful to the health, it should be illegal. This is supported by dogmatic opinions about the nature of marijuana smokers, and the unfounded assumption that marijuana laws actually influence the rate of its use.

I will address each of these in turn.


1a. Marijuana is more malignant than cigarette smoking

While I agree that inhaling smoke into the lungs can and probably does cause cell damage and long-term respitory problems, research that suggested a link between marijuana use and cancer has been called into question. By the same researcher no less.

"The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer. The new findings "were against our expectations," said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years. "We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."

Federal health and drug enforcement officials have widely used Tashkin's previous work on marijuana to make the case that the drug is dangerous. Tashkin said that while he still believes marijuana is potentially harmful, its cancer-causing effects appear to be of less concern than previously thought."


Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection


1b. Marijuana causes mental disease such as schitzophrenia, paranoia, and anxiety

This is a myth. The source you provided relies solely on the statistical correlation between schizophrenia and marijuana use. It does not provide any evidence to suggest that marijuana actually causes it. In fact, doctors at the Institute of Medicine agree that marijuana does not cause schizophrenia, and other psychological effects like paranoia and anxiety are unlikely to persist beyond intoxication.

On schizophrenia:

"Regardless of which of these interpretations is correct, both camps agree that marijuana use alone—without the influence of additional risk factors—is unlikely to provoke a psychosis that persists longer than intoxication. Drug abuse is common among people with mental illness. Thus, it is not surprising that several (but not all) studies have shown that a disproportionately large number of people with schizophrenia use marijuana. The association between marijuana and schizophrenia is not well understood, however. While experts generally agree that heavy marijuana use can provoke schizophrenic episodes in susceptible individuals, they also concur that the drug does not cause the underlying disorder. Additional research indicates that people with schizophrenia prefer the effects of marijuana over those produced by alcohol and cocaine, which they generally use less often than does the general population. The reasons for this preference remain unknown, but it suggests that marijuana might give these patients some relief from their symptoms."

Marijuana As Medicine?:

On paranoia and anxiety:

"Although euphoria is the more common reaction to smoking marijuana, adverse mood reactions can occur. Such reactions occur most frequently in inexperienced users after large doses of smoked or oral marijuana. They usually disappear within hours and respond well to reassurance and a supportive environment. Anxiety and paranoia are the most common acute adverse reactions"

Marijuana and Medicine:


1c. Marijuana creates learning disabilities
1d. Marijuana creates amotivational syndrome
1e. Marijuana creates a mediocre class of chronic smokers


These are all myths. None of the provided links support these assertions, and I am unaware of any scientific research that supports them.


2. When the thrill of marijuana erodes, the next great drug must step into to replace it

This is a myth. None of the provided links support this assertion, and I am unaware of any scientific research that supports it. Furthermore, I already addressed the "gateway drug" argument in my opening statement. Allow me to repeat the Institute of Medicine:

"There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs."

Executive Summary | Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base | Institute of Medicine


3. Because marijuana use is harmful to the health, it should be illegal

This statement is dubious for two reasons. First, the notion that any substance which is marginally harmful to the health should automatically be illegal is a slippery slope. Should glazed donuts and coffee be against the law for the same reason? Second, it assumes that laws prohibiting marijuana use are actually effective at reducing the number of users. Again, I addressed that argument in my opening statement, and it was not refuted by any of the sources you provided.


Setting aside the points that I preemptively refuted in my opening statement (marijuana is not a gateway drug and prohibitive laws do not influence the rate of use), we're left with suspicious correlations to health problems as your main argument. Disregarding the fact that the specific health problems you mentioned are not corroborated by doctors at the National Academy of Sciences, there are in fact some legitimate health concerns surrounding the use of marijuana. However, this is a good reason why marijuana should not be used; it is not, by itself, a good reason why it should be illegal.

To help keep us from talking past each other throughout the debate, I would remind you of the points I made in my opening statement and invite you to address them if there is credible research to the contrary. Otherwise we should assume that the points are conceded, and thus further arguments should not be based on assumptions that disagree with them.

Criminal Laws Have Little Effect On Marijuana Use
Marijuana is a Gateway Drug Because it is Prohibited
We Must Choose Between a Black Market and a Regulated Market
Legalization Will Allow Marijuana to be Regulated and Taxed
 

politicomind

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The Problem with Marijuana is its multiple consequences


What you claim are merely the potential dangers of marijuana and what I claim are the real consequences of marijuana is precisely what the concern is. There are many conjectures, assertions, and premises which suppose that marijuana is very harmful and dangerous. Your assertion is that they are merely probable or highly unlikely, whereas, my claim is that --- if there is only a slight chance that each concern has a possibility of being accurate, that is enough for me to desire the entire banning and illegality of the substance. I am not willing to play trial and error on the human American population. The fear that I have is that you are willing to legalize and then see what happens. You are willing to see if marijuana will harm either slight or tremendous to the American population. I am not willing to do that. Besides, if you were to legalize the drug, and the American people were devastated by the effects, it seems that you and people like you would deny that marijuana would have been the cause. I am not willing to tamper with the notion that marijuana is highly caustic and highly destructive to its users, yet you invite the concept that we just see if marijuana will contribute to harming the nation. I will not permit even the potential. I feel that is a responsible and humane response on this issue.

The pleasure experienced by the use of the drug is not worth even the supposition of the potential that the American people will be jeopardized by marijuana.
 

Binary_Digit

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To be honest, this debate is kind of frustrating so far. I have preemptively addressed almost every one of your points using credible sources, only to have them raised again without any supporting evidence.

My opening statement argued that legalization does not encourage the use of marijuana, and that prohibition doesn't discourage it. I showed you that other countries who have decriminalized marijuana have not seen any significant increases in the rate of use. I provided credible supporting evidence to substantiate these claims. Yet your opening statement completely ignored this premise, and claimed marijuana should be illegal because it's unhealthy, falsely implying that prohibition improves overall health by reducing the number of users.

My opening statement argued that marijuana is not a gateway drug. I showed you that there is no scientific evidence supporting the idea that marijuana use inherently compels its users toward harder drugs. I explained why the legal status of marijuana makes it look like a gateway drug when statistics are analyzed. I provided credible supporting evidence to substantiate these claims. Yet your opening statement completely ignored this premise, and argued without supporting evidence that when the thrill of marijuana is gone, the next "great drug" must take its place.

My second post addressed each and every one of your points, including the one that you just raised again, and the one that, it appears, has inherited the title of "your entire argument". Since this debate has boiled down to "marijuana should be illegal because it's unhealthy", perhaps you can do three things for me?

1. Please give specific examples of the vast and sweeping health problems you seem to think marijuana causes. I already shot down each of the others you mentioned, and according to the sources I already provided, long-term respitory problems are the only negative effects the AMA is confident of. If you intend to keep arguing that marijuana should be illegal because it's harmful to the health, surely you can come up with some credible supporting evidence?

2. Please explain your reasoning on why marijuana should be illegal because it's unhealthy, yet caffeine, glazed donuts, ice cream, french fries, carbonated drinks, high fructose corn syrup, and sun bathing should not.

3. Please explain why you think prohibition makes marijuana less dangerous to the health? Obviously you must not be arguing that prohibition makes fewer people use it, because we both know that's not true. In my opening statement I pointed out reasons why marijuana can be more dangerous under prohibition. So please, I can't wait to see how you figure that prohibition makes marijuana less harmful to the user's health.
 
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