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Drug Legalization

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 3/21/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 25,493 times Debate No: 101188
Debate Rounds (4)
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Many thanks in advance to thett3 for accepting this debate.

Resolved: The sale, manufacture and consumption of all drugs should be legalized in the United States.

Upon acceptance, I will begin the discussion in Round 2.


Thanks for setting this up Danielle, I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Drug legalization is the more pragmatic and morally prudent option vs. criminalization.

1. The Right to Bodily Autonomy
2. Alcohol's Legalization
3. The War on Drug's Failure
4. The War on Drug's Blowback
5. Benefits of Legalization

* * *

In his work On Liberty, John Stuart Mill describes the Harm Principle, which holds the State should only limit the actions of individuals to prevent harming others. This was also expressed in France's Declaration of the Rights of Man, noting "Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights" [1].

Our Declaration of Independence guarantees similar provisions to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The government allows for the concept of self-ownership, and for the individual to engage in practices that may be deemed immoral, unhealthy or unsafe. In some instances, it is even legally permissible to end one's life.

Bodily autonomy has deep roots in Anglo-Saxon political theory. A citizen's right to autonomy and privacy has evolved to protect the freedom of individuals to perform certain acts, or subject themselves to certain experiences. The constitutional jurisprudence of bodily autonomy is reflected in the 4th Amendment, the Due Process clause of 14th Amendment, and subsequently in the statutory law regarding things like alcohol, sun tanning and fatty foods. All of these are dangerous and compromising to one's health, yet are still part of lucrative and legal industries.

Some of our autonomous decisions impact others. The potential dangers of consuming alcohol, for example, extend to those in association or proximity with the consumer. Alcohol is measurably more dangerous than most illegal drugs. A study comparing 20 drugs based on 16 criteria (nine related to harms that a drug has on the individual, and seven pertaining to the harm of others) concludes that alcohol is arguably more dangerous than both heroin and crack cocaine [2].

This sentiment echoed by other research measures factors such as related injury, destruction of relationships, and varying rates of abuse and addiction. While it is difficult to compare the harms under totally equivalent circumstances, we do know that alcohol is extremely problematic. By nature, it is one of the drugs most likely to induce violence and physical harm [3].

However, the law provides for the responsible consumption of alcohol. Forbidding public drunkenness, driving under the influence of intoxication, and banning the consumption of alcohol under age 21 are examples of regulations intended to curb substance abuse, harm to others and general degeneracy. We also have legal provisions that protect those who might be impacted by alcohol consumption, while still respecting an individual's right to personal freedom. Everybody has the right to live free from aggression under any circumstance.

In 1919, Congress ratified the 18th Amendment which prohibited the manufacturing, transportation and sale of alcohol within the U.S. In 1933, the law was repealed in response to the atrocious and unjustifiable ramifications. Prohibition failed to prevent or reduce drinking. It exacerbated other problems in society, such as facilitating organized crime, promoting government corruption, encouraging the production of dangerous alternatives (moonshine), leading to job loss, and many other harmful effects which negatively impacted society in both a monetary and cultural decline [4].

Similarly, the War on Drugs has been a massively expensive and counterproductive failure. Since its inception, the Drug War has cost American taxpayers well over one trillion dollars [5]. The impact has been nil. According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world [6]. Criminalization has not deterred the use or sale of drugs in a significant way.

Instead, it has made the U.S. the prison capital of the world. We have the highest prison population on the planet, with more than half of prison inmates incarcerated for drug related crimes [7]. This has widespread negative impacts on society overall, in terms of tax payer maintenance cost, increased rights violations, distrust in law enforcement, joblessness, etc.

Americans spend an estimated $100 billion per year on illegal drugs [8]. Vicious cartels have dominated a black market plagued by corruption and incessant violence. Criminologists note that increases in murder and other violent crimes are specifically gang and drug-related [9]. People are not going to leave this much money on the table; the drug trade will always exist, and a black market trade means more violence, more corruption, more cost and more death.

Drug legalization would eliminate most negative aspects of the black market. A legitimate industry could take over the manufacture and distribution of drugs, and afford those involved in the trade with safeguards and other contractual protections. Corporations (and government) would be able to engage profitably in the trade, as they would enjoy liability protections under existing tort law.

Basic tort principles protect distributors from most side effects and subsequent injury. Under the law, assumption of risk arises when a plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily assumes the risk of whatever harm is connected with their activity. If the plaintiff has assumed such a risk, they cannot recover damages for any harm resulting from the defendant's product.

To show that assumed risk applies, the defendant must show that the plaintiff:
- was aware of the risk, and
- voluntarily took that danger upon themselves.

In Saeter v. Harley Davidson, a man was injured in a motorcycle accident and attempted to recover against Harley for his injuries. While the motorcycle was deemed defective, Saeter was precluded from recovery under the doctrines of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk. This case (and many others) demonstrates that where a consumer knows or has reason to know that a product could cause them harm, yet continues to use the product, they may not recover should the harm occur [10]. This should extend under drug legalization.

Our judicial system is overwhelmed with prosecuting drug related crimes, while barely making a dent in combatting the drug trade. Our laws are virtually unenforceable, and when they are enforced, have a net negative impact on society overall. Taking down one drug king pin simply means the emergence of another.

Many drug arrestees lose their job. Those with criminal records are 50% less likely to find a new job [11]. This perpetuates an underclass of people even after one has served their government penance. The impoverished inner cities most affected by this policing foster gang membership, violent crime and continued drug use amongst a cycle of despair. Furthermore, children with parents in jail are more likely to live in poverty, exhibit emotional or behavioral disorders, and often lack support needed for success.

Cops disproportionately and discriminatorily police inner cities that are typically inhabited by minorities. White people do more drugs than black people, but blacks are arrested for drug possession more than 3x as often, and are more likely to go to jail for drug offenses. This is not justice. We have testimony and insurmountable evidence proving many efforts of the drug war look to specifically disrupt and punish particular populations of people [12]. This perpetuates the misguided, racist assumption that drug abuse is limited to particular demographics. Worse, it contributes to the increasingly hostile and violent relationship between police and people living in the inner cities, which has seen an uptick in brutality and contentious policing since the War on Drug's inception [13].

Over the years, the drug war has led to the decimation of many civil liberties. The 4th Amendment is intended to limit the power of law enforcement to search and arrest without cause. Unlike real crimes, drug use does not have inherent victims, thus no parties are forthcoming to law enforcement requesting support. To catch people engaging in voluntary drug transactions, police often resort to wiretapping, surveillance, bribery and entrapment [14].

Further, the drug war fosters the grotesque practice of civil asset forfeiture. Many innocent people lose their lives and property wrongly and without due process [15]. The drug war also inhibits the rights of felons; the U.S. is the only democracy in the world to deprive its citizens of the right to vote after they have completed their sentences.

Moreover, the drug war inhibits free speech. For instance despite the plethora of research indicating its viable medicinal use, the White House threatened to arrest and revoke the license of any doctor who recommended marijuana to a patient (or even discussed its benefits) in 1996 [16]. Similar restrictions infringe on people's right to make informed medical choices.

After a surge in drug abuse, addiction, overdoses and AIDS, Portugal experimented with the decriminalization of drugs. Fifteen years later, Portugal has the second lowest death rate from illegal drugs in all of Europe (after experiencing one of the worst rates under prohibition). There has been a decline in the percentage of people who have used a drug and then continued to do so. Drug related deaths have steeply declined; there are virtually no drug overdoses in Portugal. HIV rates among drug users have also declined [17]. The British Journal of Criminology found that upon decriminalization, Portugal saw a decrease in imprisonment and a surge in visits to health clinics that deal with addiction and disease [18]. Without the stigma and threat of penalties, people are more likely to seek treatment and recovery from drug abuse.

The U.S. would similarly benefit from legalization.



Thanks, Danielle.

I'm going to start this round with my own case, and then attack my opponents.

=My case=

Let's clarify what the resolution is and is not. You can believe that there are significant problems with US drug policy, but the resolution is only affirmed if legalization is proven to be the ideal solution. Lots of the criticisms Danielle makes against drug prohibition (like civil asset forfeiture) are non-unique--that is to say, they can easily be fixed through different policies. In this debate, I will demonstrate that many of my opponents objections to drug enforcement are specious and unique, along with proving that legalization is not a serious or workable solution.

I. States Rights

Other than marijuana, public opinion is *overwhelmingly* against legalizing drugs, typically by margins of 70 points or more[1]. This strong opposition cuts across all demographic and geographic lines, which is why no serious politician anywhere is advocating for legalization. If the federal government were somehow to abolish all drug statutes right now, virtually (if not literally) all states, municipalities, and localities would reaffirm their commitment to drug prohibition overnight. Existing laws would be strengthened and new ones would be passed--the only change from the status quo would be that state and local governments fight drugs without federal aid.

In the real world, nobody wants to legalize drugs and a repeal of the federal statutes would not fundamentally alter the status quo. In order see her proposal through, Danielle has to support the federal government disregarding virtually unanimous public opinion and state sovereignty. The federal government would be forcing cities and states at gunpoint to legalize. There is nothing libertarian about a distant authority denying communities the right to police the behavior of their own members.

For the rest of the round, we will assume that the federal government has indeed used military force and coerced states to legalize drugs so that we can examine the world Danielle is arguing for, where anyone can walk down the street and purchase heroine or meth.

II. Usage and Costs

Drug usage would increase significantly if legalization occurred. This conclusion comes from basic economic theory along with several historic and contemporary examples.

The credible threat of legal force acts as an artificial check on both the demand and supply of drugs, as potential users are discouraged from usage and potential makers/sellers are discouraged from those activities, driving the cost up. Rich celebrities are constantly dying from drug overdoses because they can afford the tremendous cost. Legalization makes drugs cheaper for everyone. I seriously doubt Danielle would dispute the basic concept that people follow their incentives. It simply defies all reason to say that drug usage wouldn't increase with no legal penalties and cheaper drugs.

It goes beyond theory. We can look to the last time a distant authority forced a sovereign entity at gunpoint to legalize drugs. In 1838, concerned about the growing number of addicts, the emperor of China banned the importation of opium. British merchants were making money selling the drug to the Chinese, so they used military force to coerce the Imperial government into legalizing opium. Before the Opium War, China imported less than 1,400 metric tons of Opium. By 1906, China was producing and consuming 35,000 metric tons of opium and importing 3,000 more[2], nearly 4 times as much Opium as the entire global crop in 2009[3]. The problem continued to plague China until a strong central government stamped it out in the 1940s.

Closer to home, an analysis from Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History suggests that per capita consumption of alcohol in the United States was cut in half during prohibition[4]. Prohibition was ended mostly because many states that relied on taxing alcohol suffered severe revenue shortages, not because it failed to decrease alcohol consumption. To gauge the efficacy of drug prohibition we should look to comparable legal and illegal drugs. While 53% of Americans drink alcohol[5], only 13% smoke Marijuana[6]. Unsurprisingly, Marijuana consumption in Colorado skyrocketed after legalization, especially among adults[7].

All of this is to say that drug usage would climb. Danielle complains about the cost of drug enforcement, but the total cost of drug enforcement (around $40 billion a year using her own source[8]) is dwarfed by the total cost to society of illicit drug use--around $193 billion. This itself is dwarfed by the $674 billion cost *legal* drugs like alcohol and tobacco cost society[9]. And despite Danielle's patently absurd suggestion that alcohol is more dangerous than hard drugs, drugs like meth are significantly harder on your body than alcohol or tobacco so the incredible cost that safer, legal drugs impose upon society should give legalization advocates pause. Without the artificial pressures on supply and demand brought about through drug prohibition, far more people would become addicted and pass the cost on to the rest of society.

A policy of soft decriminalization, with court-ordered rehabilitation being the most common penalty for drug users, would be more effective and humane than legalization.

III. Medicinal Drugs

Many of under-developed countries allow people to buy any medicinal drug that they want over the counter. This facilitates the dangerous practice of "self medication" where uninformed consumers buy medicine to treat their ailments without consulting a doctor. This practice causes 20,000 deaths a year in Brazil alone[10] and is a significant problem across the developing world. In a world governed by Danielle's libertarian framework, all drugs could be freely bought and sold by anyone for any reason since it's "their body, their right." Hypochondriacs who think they have cancer could ruin their bodies with chemotherapy. Parents who think their children have ADD or are "trans" can pump their bodies full of adderall or hormone blockers. Patients can destroy their immune systems through rampant abuse of antibiotics. Even responsible people will die if they don't realize the extent of their illness and self medicate with drugs that are too weak.

The average person simply is not informed enough to self medicate, and not everyone is going spend the time and money to see a doctor when they can just walk into the drug store and freely purchase whatever it is that they think they need. Tens of thousands will needlessly die and many more will accumulate various ailments that the rest of society ends up paying for.

Full legalization also allows for rampant abuse of prescription drugs. At the end of the day, there is absolutely no reason to permit the sale of drugs to treat cancer to people who aren't cancer patients.

Moreover, it's questionable how the FDA approval process to screen out dangerous drugs would work in a world where all drugs were legal, or indeed if it would even be allowed to continue. Without a process to screen which new drugs are safe, tens of thousands would die.

Drug legalization simply is not a serious proposal.

=Danielle's case=

Needless to say, I object to Danielle's libertarian framework. Libertarian morality only works in a libertarian system--applying libertarian ethics in a social democratic system like ours is a recipe for disaster. Even if you ignore the moral relevance of the harm drug use has on the family and community, drug addicts directly cost others through consumption of public resources. We do not live in a world where people are allowed to pay for their own mistakes. When a drug addict loses their job, you pay for it. When a user ruins their body and becomes permanently disabled and unemployable, you pay for it. When they spent all their money on drugs and can't pay their emergency room bills, you pay for it.

The libertarian morality can be thrown right out the window. We must approach the resolution from a pragmatic perspective.

I'll address her stronger arguments in depth in my next round, but right off the bat many of Danielle's claims are misleading or just outright false. For example, she blatantly misrepresents drug "legalization" in Portugal. If you actually read the study that her article describes[11], it explains that Portugal repealed criminal penalties for small time drug users, while retaining bans on manufacture and distribution of drugs. Instead of going to prison, drug users have their fate decided by commissions made up of local community members, who can impose a variety of penalties such a mandatory rehab or community service. This kind of policy is something I fully endorse. It is also not legalization. The ideal penalty for drug addicts should be court ordered rehabilitation, something that Portugal proves to be effective--a legal penalty that I alone can advocate.

Danielle makes the absurd claim that alcohol is the most dangerous drug. Anyone taking this argument seriously should ask themselves if they'd rather an otherwise clean loved one got drunk or tried meth. The way to study is framed is misleading--if you actually read the study behind the click-bait article[12], it looks at total, not relative costs. Alcohol is "the most dangerous drug" BECAUSE it is legal and widespread. If alcohol is considered more dangerous than METH because it's legal, one can only imagine the damage that legalizing hard drugs would do.

Danielle claims that half of US inmates are imprisoned for drug crimes. In reality, half of inmates in *federal* prisons are in for drug crimes, but federal inmates represent only a small portion of the total. Only 16% of inmates in state prisons are serving for drug offenses[13].

These are only a few of her dubious claims. She has few complaints about drug enforcement that stand up to close scrutiny, and even none that can only be solved through total legalization. The resolution is completely untenable.

Debate Round No. 2


Re: Introduction

Thett opens his round by misdirecting with a false claim:

"The resolution is only affirmed if legalization is proven to be the ideal solution."

I only have to prove that legalization is morally and/or pragmatically preferable to the alternatives, not that legalization is the best way to resolve all of the problems stemming from prohibition.

Throughout his round, Thett fallaciously attempts to utilize my personal political leanings (libertarianism) to discredit my arguments, which in fact have no explicit relevance to the discussion. I have referred to the application of United States law/theory as-written and as it has been applied by various courts throughout American history, at which no point did we ever live under a libertarian framework.

Re: States Rights

Thett presents a "majority rule" argument which has nothing to do with state's rights. He suggests that majority opinion is the basis for legitimizing government policy. Con ignores 1) a history wherein a majority of persons have agreed with policies that proved to be ineffective and often morally repugnant; 2) the impact government and institutionalized norms have on framing majority opinion; and 3) that U.S. government was specifically structured to prevent the tyranny of the majority, as explained by James Madison in Federalist Paper No. 51.

Thett's claim that nobody wants to legalize drugs is contradicted by his very own citation, which demonstrates that anywhere from 19% to 55% of Americans, depending on the drug in question, think other drugs besides marijuana should be legal or would not be opposed to legalization.

Re: Usage and Costs

While Thett's proposal of market theory is correct, it is only relevant if the availability of drugs would significantly increase upon legalization. I will prove that's untrue. I've already proven that prohibition has been a failure and drugs are readily available. Despite increased policing and money spent on the Drug War, the cost of illegal drugs has declined over the years [1]. Drugs have also gotten more dangerous, as producers look to reduce risk by shipping stronger doses in smaller batches [2,3]. Unregulated, people do not know what they are consuming and how much.

Anyone with Internet access can order illegal drugs from customer-reviewed vendors on the "deep web." Johns Hopkins professor of computer science, Matthew Green, notes "The idea of a [darknet market] is something we're probably never going to be free of, as long as the mail system exists to actually deliver the products... I can imagine a world where major drug cartels run them directly, or indirectly, which would make it awfully hard for U.S. law enforcement to arrest the operators [4]."

There are many resources that explain how to utilize and purchase drugs off the dark-web [5, 6] and detail how easy it is to get away with. One article describes it as "safe, easy and boring" [7]. These systems are not impenetrable, but U.S. authorities cannot stifle this billion-dollar trade. Many household items work as drugs, and there are tutorials on how to make drugs with legal products online [8, 9].

Thett advocates for the decriminalization of drugs, which like legalization would lower the cost of drugs.

Later on I will detail how legalization would keep costs the same or higher than deregulation.

For now let's discuss how economist Jeffrey A. Miron at Harvard University has thoroughly debunked Thett's claim that legalization increased exports or decreased price after the legalization of opium in China.

"After controlling for pre-existing trends, there is little effect of legalization on opium exports. The results in column (1) indicate that exports from India to China were higher post-legalization. The results in column (2), which control for war periods, the price of rice, and population, are similar. The results in columns (3) and (4), however, show that after controlling for a linear or quadratic trend, the estimated impact of legalization is either small and insignificantly positive or small and insignificantly negative" [10].

Miron's analysis concludes "China's legalization of opium in 1858 was not associated with a perceptible increase in opium consumption... the export data fails to provide even a hint that prohibition had reduced consumption" [11].

Consider that in virtually every study/comparison, marijuana is deemed 'safe' for consumption while harder drugs are not [12]. The fact that more people in Colorado now smoke weed upon legalization, does not necessarily mean the number of people who use hard drugs would increase to the same extent upon legalization. Many people who accept the minimal risks of marijuana would not accept the risks of harder drugs, even without legal penalty. Furthermore, Thett hasn't explained how decriminalization is preferable to legalization in this regard.

Next, Thett complains about the high cost drug users have on society. If Thett can argue that it's only due to current status quo policies that the Drug War has been such an abysmal and problematic failure, then we must acknowledge that it's only due to current status quo policies that society has been unfairly saddled with the issue of detrimental drug abuse.

Policies can be amended to alleviate this burden, and society can promote other standards that protect people's rights, while simultaneously encouraging smart choices. One of the most obvious examples is to allow employers the legal right to continue drug testing their employees. Failed drug tests are the reason many people do not get hired, and avoid drug use upon hire.

Thett ignores the routine method governments use as a method of deterrence: taxation. According to the US National Library of Medicine, "The evidence strongly supports increasing cigarette prices through tobacco taxation as a powerful strategy for achieving major reductions in smoking behavior" [13]. It also collects significant revenue for the State.

Re: Legalization vs. Decriminalization

Legalization would allow the government to extract money from taxing the producers and consumers of drugs. Additionally, federal and/or state governments may assume direct control over who the drug producers are, where they produce, how much they produce, and what their methods are (i.e. through farming or chemical composition regulations). This type of regulation promotes safe consumption, and allows the tax payers to extract revenue from the widespread, illegal practice.

With legalization, drugs would be produced and sold on a commercial basis. They would become standardized products, and companies that sold dangerous and addictive products would do so under several legal constraints, such as liability and negligence law. Further, there would be strict regulation and licensing requirements like other businesses. As a result, there would be fewer options than compared to a simply decriminalized market. If Thett wants to keep the cost of drugs high, he would support legalization over decriminalization.

Under decriminalization, there are no government restrictions or regulations on production processes, and because of this costs and prices fall as drugs reach the market sooner. In legalized systems, government control businesses with criminal codes. Laws regulate unsafe practices. For example legalized prostitution in Nevada requires regular health checks and registration of health status. This makes dangerous practices safer, one of the primary arguments for abortion remaining legal.

Thett's supposition that the FDA could not figure out how to regulate drugs is a completely baseless and unsubstantiated claim that must be dropped. He's failed to explain how or why they couldn't regulate additional drugs the way they already regulate legal ones.

Re: Portugal

My opponent misquotes me in an attempt to convince the audience I have been misleading. Nowhere in the last round did I claim that Portugal legalized drugs. In fact, I specified they decriminalized drugs not once, but twice. It is abundantly clear that my opponent's tactics rely primarily on manipulative rhetoric.

My argument was that decriminalization in Portugal has led to less crime, less disease and less death. Furthermore, I showed that decriminalization led to more people seeking treatment for drug addiction. Both of these results are completely relevant to the lack of criminalization, which applies to both decriminalization and legalization.

Thett argues that decriminalization allows for useful penalties, such as mandatory drug rehab or community service. You can aboslutely penalize drug users in the same ways IF they are convicted of another crime, such as aggressive behavior or driving while intoxicated.

Re: Medicinal Drugs

Con seems to go on an irrelevant moral tangent regarding people's personal decisions.

Nobody said legalization necessarily means over the counter usage. Legalization means the legal sale of, which can rightfully include various forms of regulation. For example Oxycontin is legal but not completely unregulated. Legalization encourages regulation; deregulation (as its name implies) does not. Legalization is safer and makes drugs more expensive.

One of the worst harms of criminalization is that it stifles the research and development of various drugs as legitimate medicine.

Re: My Case on Alcohol

Thett has completely failed to prove that alcohol is safer than other drugs. He wrongly claims that alcohol is only more dangerous BECAUSE it is legal, which is unabashedly false. Alcohol encourages aggression and violence by disrupting normal brain function in areas of the brain that promote aggression [14, 15, 16, 17]. There is no evidence to indicate that other drugs encourage aggression in the same way.

The majority violence that correlates with drugs specifically derives from the criminalization of drugs - namely the associated gang and cartel violence, which would largely cease under legalization.



Thanks, Danielle.

=Legalization vs. Decriminalization=

This is where the debate is going to be decided. As I see it, Danielle has two good arguments in favor of legalization over decriminalization:

That the power of the drug cartel would decrease when faced with legal competition, and that legalized drugs could be "safe, legal, and taxed." I will address these two claims and in the process will show why some kind of decriminalization similar to the Portugal model is a superior policy.

Re: Cartel

Let's talk first about the cartels and their monopoly on drugs. First of all, it's deeply questionable what this "safe and legal" competition would look like or if it would even materialize. Contra Danielle's repeated and absurd claim that alcohol is more dangerous than meth or heroin, big pharma is not going to open itself up to the legal, ethical, and social ramifications of marketing and selling recreational drugs that ruin bodies and lives. You cannot manufacture "safe" meth. It's probable that there would not be that meaningful of a deviation from the status quo, except without drug laws there's no pretense to arrest violent gang members before their turf wars mow down innocent civilians.

But how serious is the problem of drug violence? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only around 4% of homicides are drug related, or around 600 deaths[1]--mostly against other drug dealers, so no great loss. Heroin killed 13,000 people in 2015. Other opioids killed close to 10,000. Prescription drug abuse killed 17,500[2]. Cocaine killed 5,800 in 2014. Meth killed 3,700[3]. It goes on and on, and this doesn't even mention the tremendous $193 billion social cost associated with the ruined bodies and lives of drug abusers--a number that is dwarfed by the incredible cost of more widespread *legal* drugs.

Moreover, drug usage itself contributes greatly to crime. According to the same BJS report, 19% of victims of violent crime perceived their attackers to be under the influence of drugs on their own or in combination with alcohol, a pretty staggering statistic when you consider that only around 5 million people, 1.5% of the population, use non-marijuana illicit drugs[4].

It's very easy to see how even slightly increased usage would outweigh this impact. And usage would clearly go up.

Danielle outright conceded the economic theory explaining why usage would increase. She dropped and therefore conceded the argument that alcohol prohibition actually cut usage in half--and reversed a worrying trend of increasing alcoholism. Her source that argued how Opium use in China didn't increase is embarrassingly bad because it only looked at import data. I'm shocked Harvard would allow their name to be used with such a shoddy study--imports eventually did decrease, but that was only because domestic production increased by 118 times, from 300 tons before the first Opium War to 35,300 tons in 1906[5]. If China failed to effectively prohibit Opium, it was only because of their famously weak central government. By the 1930s, 10% of the population was addicted to Opium. Forced rehabilitation for addicts and death for dealers drove that number to 0[6].

Bans work, and Danielle's own arguments prove this. Danielle concedes that Marijuana use in Colorado went up drastically after legalization, but argues that use of other drugs wouldn't because users understand the risks. Except she also argues that alcohol is worse than meth or heroin. If prohibition doesn't work and people are educated enough to know the risks, why is an incredibly destructive, literally worse than heroin, but legal drug like alcohol used regularly by over half the population while the still widely prohibited but innocuous Marijuana is only used by 13%? It just doesn't add up. Drug use would massively increase if they were all legal and freely available.

All of this ignores that forced rehabilitation would actually *decrease* use. Danielle notes in her first round how Portugal went from having one of the worst rates of drug overdose in Europe to the second lowest and that drug use continually declined. This isn't due to drugs becoming heavily regulated and "safe", because trafficking and manufacturing are still illegal in Portugal. It happened because the country pivoted towards a more humane approach to drug use and forced addicts into mandatory rehabilitation. Danielle wants us to be allowed to force addicts ruining their lives and bodies and becoming societal leeches into rehab only AFTER they've already hurt someone else.

With legalization the only question is how much usage goes up. With decriminalization we are instead asking how much it goes *down*. It's incredibly obvious which is the better policy.

Re: Regulation and safety

I don't totally disagree with this point. Sure, some deadly drugs that have horrific effects on the body might become marginally safer if they were regulated. How marginal? We don't know because Danielle has failed to provide any numbers, but all the regulation in the world cannot create "safe" heroin. Carfentanil, a drug 10,000 times more potent than Morphine that is used to tranquilize elephants[7], is never going to be safe for human consumption. How is it even possible to "regulate" such a thing? At the end of the day any increase in drug safety is going to be massively outweighed by the costs of increased consumption. And unlike decriminalization, regulation does nothing to DECREASE drug use, which ultimately leads to greater public safety. Portugal shows us that we don't need to make drugs freely available and then cross our fingers, hoping that we made them as safe as possible. We can drive drug overdoses and addiction down to the vanishing point by forcing users to get the help they need BEFORE it becomes a huge problem.

Danielle vastly exaggerates how easy drugs are to get in this country. How many people even know what the deep web is, or how to use it? It's difficult to fully stamp out drugs but it's obvious that the threat of legal ramifications all throughout the supply chain obviously decreases both use and availability. Marijuana was always easy to get, but use still skyrocketed after legalization and has doubled nationwide as legalization and medical Marijuana created legal avenues for consumption[8].

Danielle argues that due to regulation, the price of drugs will actually go up after legalization. This is absurd. A blanket prohibition on production backed up by years in prison is far more costly to producers than regulations dictating drug purity. We know what prohibition does to the price of drugs--an analysis from the NCBI found that the price of alcohol, a drug that easily lends itself to long term storage and where millions of gallons already existed, tripled or quadrupled after the 18th amendment was passed[9]. Widespread availability increases the use of even hard drugs. Afghanistan, where the vast majority of the worlds Opium is produced, leads every other country in opium usage, and it's not even close[10].

Danielle argues that we could decrease drug use through taxation. I'm glad that she agrees with me that increasing the costs drives usage down, but the costs of criminalization are far higher than she could reasonably expect a sin tax to be. The average tax on a pack of cigarettes is $1.69[11], less than 30% of the average cost of $5.51 a pack[12]. Criminalization drives the price of drugs up 300-400% without even considering the costs associated with getting caught. A tax this large would easily drive people back into the black market, negating her argument. Ultimately the state could never hope to recoup the horrific social and financial costs of drug addiction through taxation, especially after legalization drives an increase in use.

Danielle also has no compelling answer to prescription drug abuse. She supports the regulation of Oxycontin or cancer drugs to try and make sure they're used properly. I'm surprised that Danielle doesn't see that this is the exact same rationale behind prohibition. Removing laws PROHIBITING certain people taking these drugs is a part of legalization. By advocating that we PROHIBIT people from taking medicinal drugs without a prescription Danielle is engaging in a MASSIVE contradiction and violating her own framework. Are we allowing the consumption of all drugs as long as it doesn't directly harm anyone else or are we not? If we followed Danielles framework and legalized all drug use, we have to look to my impacts of self medication which kills tens of thousands of people around the world. Why should chemotherapy drugs be sold to non cancer patients?

We're fortunate in that history has given us multiple experiments to draw conclusions from. We know that legal drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes are used far more often than even comparatively innocuous illicit drugs like Marijuana, a drug whose usage has rapidly increased as the legal restrictions have lessened. We know that Opium legalization in China was a total failure, with a staggering 10% of the population becoming addicts. We know that prohibition in the United States significantly decreased alcohol consumption. If we're interested in decreasing usage all examples of legalization have been manifest failures.

On the other hand, we know that decriminalization in Portugal was a huge success by almost any metric and succeeded in driving usage and overdoses down. This is because users were legally FORCED to get help while the supply remained low because manufacturers and sellers were still punished for their crimes. Again, because it warrants repeating, the last time Opium was legalized in a country 1 in 10 eventually became addicted. There is absolutely nothing Danielle can possibly offer to outweigh even the RISK of tens of millions of new addicts, especially when we have another workable policy solution. The US should follow Portugal's example and implement policies that have proven effective.


Debate Round No. 3



Both decriminalization and legalization remove criminal penalties from those who make, buy and sell drugs. However legalization permits an authorized framework that enables the government to tax, regulate, and otherwise place limitations on the sale of drugs. That's the difference. Thett is advocating for no serious penalties for drug use, along with no oversight (or legal liability) in place at all.

Regulation is specifically what manages the supply of drugs and subsequently the cost. I've proven legalized drugs are more expensive than black market drugs. The cost of black market drugs keeps decreasing, and people turn to those drugs because they don't have access to and/or can't afford the legal ones.

Thett has failed to explain how decriminalization is preferable. His only argument is that legalization means total access to drugs. I've proven people wouldn't be able to buy drugs under legalization any easier than they do under criminalization or decriminalization.

* * *

Extend all evidence on alcohol as dangerous and likely to promote aggression. Repeatedly calling my claim "absurd" is not a legitimate rebuttal. I've provided numerous arguments with sourced citations. In response, Con never denied the dangers of alcohol, instead asking a rhetorical question about which drug the judges would prefer their loved ones try. The audience's answer proves nothing - nor addresses my contentions - so this premise will be awarded to Pro.

The point here is that government can regulate dangerous drugs. Thett's comment that "Big pharma is not going to open itself up...selling recreational drugs" has no merit, especially when I've proven that it's very profitable which drives Big Pharma.

More importantly, the resolution says nothing about recreational drugs. Thett repeatedly misrepresents my burden through misdirection. He does this again in the last round ("why should chemo drugs be sold to non cancer patients") when I've explained the resolution says nothing about over-the-counter legalization, nor drugs for recreation.

My argument for bodily autonomy does NOT contradict this. I explained that without legalization, people do not have the option (autonomy) of choosing between more options for medicinal use. For example MDMA combats PTSD, heroin is a pain killer, LSD thwarts alcoholism, cocaine stops bleeding, etc. [1]. Thett dropped this medicinal argument. He knows the government already markets dangerous drugs, and this fact dismantles his case.

Ritalin, Adderall, Xanax, Valium, Fentanyl, Morphine, Percocet, Nicotine, Oxycodone and OxyContin are just some examples of highly addictive and dangerous drugs (in addition to alcohol) that the government regulates, making his claim that the government couldn't do that or wouldn't do that completely false. OxyContin is literally interchangeable with heroin, along with many other legal albeit potentially harmful opioids.

In a fallacious appeal to emotion, Thett writes "Without drug laws there's no pretense to arrest violent gang members before their turf wars mow down innocent civilians." Extend my argument that people should be arrested for violence. Extend my argument that legalization would significantly inhibit the illegal drug trade (and subsequent gang violence) including turf wars. Thett has not proven or even argued that decriminalization would address this black market violence in any way whatsoever. Legalization would curb it the way it did when ending Prohibition [2].

Con mentions how drug use correlates to crime. He presents a source confirming what I said about the dangers of alcohol. But sure, some people may become aggressive on drugs. The same thing goes for alcohol which is legal with safeguards. Extend my arguments about it being perfectly legitimate to put safeguards in place, and to punish drug users that put people at risk.

Thett fallaciously misrepresents my argument, saying that I only want to punish drug users AFTER they've hurt someone. I've repeatedly argued for penalizing drug users who put others at risk with public inebriation (or things like DWI) so that's unabashedly false. I've also advocated for regulation, meaning people who buy, sell or use drugs outside of government regulated parameters would be saddled with criminal penalties. Thett points out the benefits of forced rehabilitation, when I've already said I was okay with similar penalties if drug users put others at risk.

Con's case has escalated from manipulative rhetoric to blatant lies. Saying that I conceded the economic argument is completely dishonest. I explained the price of drugs would only decrease upon legalization IF the supply of drugs drastically increased. Then, I explained that drugs are already in supply while criminalized, and that legalization controls how much manufacturers produce in order to limit the supply. I explained further: Under decriminalization, there are no government restrictions or regulations on production processes, and because of this costs and prices fall as drugs reach the market sooner.

Thus I did NOT ignore his supply/demand argument... I defeated it.

So Con spent the last round repeating that legalization = higher rates of drug abuse. He dropped my analysis on how regulations limit supply. He completely dropped my point about employer drug testing as an (already) effective deterrent. And he ignores that more drug use is not necessarily as problematic as he implies, since we can minimize society's burden through new policy, and keep it criminal for people to use drugs in public. All of these points must be awarded to me.

These contentions address Thett's point about Prohibition decreasing alcoholism. It similarly makes his point on opium use in China null -- which I wish I had the space to respond on (his critique of the Harvard paper is completely wrong) but I don't, though it's irrelevant. China never regulated the supply of opium, so it's not an analogous example. Meanwhile, people turn to the black market specifically BECAUSE legalization controls the supply (and thus cost and availability) of drugs [3].

Thett negates his own argument by noting alcohol consumption went down upon taxation - which proves my point - and ignores the benefits of collecting revenue for the State.

Further, Con acknowledges that regulation promotes safer consumption. His point that you can't have "safe" heroin is misguided (it's prescribed as a medicinal opioid in the form of Oxycontin, Benzodiazepines, etc...) but null since this is not an argument in favor of decriminalization. Legalization will let you know the official contents of a substance; decriminalization does not. Thus legalization will save lives.

My opponent continues relying on manipulative rhetoric by mocking the idea of regulation as impossible. Yet U-47700 is an opioid that's legal despite being more toxic than heroin. His condescending argument that it "cannot be done" is 100% wrong. It can be done. It is being done.

Furthermore, Con's ignored everything I've said about tort law. Negligence and liability terms would compel manufacturers to abide by standards that promote safety. Again it's too late for him to respond to these very important arguments, but they address many of his concerns. Guns are literally designed to KILL, yet we have legal provisions to minimize the potential for harm while recognizing people's rights... and Con dropped all arguments on rights.

Extend my points (and examples such as the Harley case) on bodily autonomy and the violation of our 4th amendment rights, our Due Process rights, and every other legal contention that Con has dropped and now lost.

Thett says I've exaggerated how easy it is to get drugs. This is more rhetoric with no substance; he ignores the quotes and numerous links I provided which detail how easy it is and the profitability of this trade -- but then declares that it's not easy with no explanation at all, while the numbers prove otherwise.

He says "Danielle argues that due to regulation, the price of drugs will actually go up after legalization. This is absurd." He fails to address my explanation on the limited supply of drugs per regulation, relying again on the repetitious insult while not disproving the argument. Indeed legalized drugs are more expensive for aforementioned reasons.

People turn to street drugs specifically because regulated drugs are more expensive and harder to obtain. Here are more sources to back up this claim I've already proven [4, 5, 6, 7]. Heroin is cheaper than beer and cigarettes. This is not absurd. This is real life.

Thett argues people can buy anything un-taxed on a black market, but his proposal of decriminalization does not change that in any way whatsoever and a black market would still exist, while none of the benefits of legalization over decriminalization would.


Thett hasn't proven decriminalization makes drugs more expensive or harder to get.

I've proven that legalization is preferable because
1) it makes drugs more expensive and harder to get,
2) it regulates the product for safer consumption,
3) it permits the government to monitor manufacturers and hold them accountable under tort law,
4) it permits the government to collect a ton of revenue,
5) it allows for the penalties and deterrents of harmful activity, while
6) still protecting people's autonomous rights,
7) deterring black market violence, and
8) affording scientists the opportunity to research/present more drugs for medicinal use.

Thett said he would do 2 things in this debate: show that the horrific blowback from the Drug War could be resolved, and that legalization was not a "serious" solution. He has failed on both accounts. I proved that legalization is entirely possible (
and already exists) so it is in fact a workable proposal. Meanwhile, Thett did not remotely address the blowback of the Drug War that I mentioned in round 2. He's dropped (and therefore lost) the vast majority of arguments.


Thanks to Danielle for a great debate!

In this round I will recap what happened in this debate and emphasize what I consider to be the key points.

=Legalization vs. Decriminalization=

The debate comes down to which of these competing policies is superior. Danielle totally misrepresents my position when she says: "Both decriminalization and legalization remove criminal penalties from those who make, buy and sell drugs."

I was surprised to see her say something so blatantly false given that I had made it repeatedly clear that I was advocating a solution close to the policy Portugal went with--I want *mandatory* rehabilitation for addicts while retaining the laws against manufacturing and selling drugs.

And here's the thing about decriminalization: unlike legalization, it has a positive track record. Danielle explained in her first round how Portugal's policy of decriminalization resulted in a substantial decline in drug use, while overdoses decreased to the vanishing point. This is because the supply of drugs is still heavily restricted while users are forced to get the help that they need to beat drug addiction. Decriminalization in Portugal was a huge success by any metric.

Legalization has no such successful track record. We know that Alcohol Prohibition cut usage in half. We know that use of Marijuana becomes significantly more common after legalization. With hard drugs we can look to the example of China. Danielle does not dispute the numbers. A staggering 1 in 10 Chinese people ended up addicted to Opium before it was finally stamped out through forced rehabilitation for addicts and severe penalties for dealers--policies similar to what I support. She responds by saying that the Chinese government never regulated the supply of Opium, but her arguments about regulation decreasing the use of addictive substances just aren't convincing. If regulations and taxes would've prevented the Opium epidemic, why is alcohol still used by over half the US population? This is just an attempt to avoid the history of complete failure surrounding drug legalization.

Danielle has also made several arguments that hurt her own case. For example, take her argument about alcohol being the worlds most dangerous drug. I think it's pretty obvious that the impact of alcohol is due to incredibly widespread usage--53% of Americans regularly use alcohol compared to 1.5% who use hard drugs. But Danielle never articulated why this matters. So what? How does this affirm the resolution? On the other hand, as I have pointed out it completely destroys all of her arguments about how drug use wouldn't increase. Four times as many Americans use alcohol--a legal drug, regulated drug that she says is worse than heroin or meth--than use the still widely criminalized but safer Marijuana.

The ONLY historical example of hard drugs being legal presented in this debate ended with 10% of the population addicted. In the United States, that would amount to around 32 million people. It's difficult to emphasize how trivial 600 drug dealers shooting each other (her biggest impact) is when compared to even the RISK of tens of millions of new addicts. Only 1.5% of the population uses hard drugs yet those numbers result in tens of thousands of overdose deaths per year. Crime wouldn't even go down. As I pointed out, 19% of crimes involve suspects using hard drugs despite only 1.5% of Americans regularly using them. What happens when 10% of the population is hooked? A wave of new addicts would also completely drain the public coffers even with a tax. As I've said repeatedly, illegal drugs cost American society $193 billion annually--and this is with a minuscule proportion of the population using hard drugs.

Every single historical example of drug legalization that has we've looked at has ended in failure. Danielle failed to present a single example to bolster her case. Legalizing drugs simply is not worth the risk, especially when we have a competing policy that has been proven to be wildly successful. The government should use legal force to make drug addicts get the help they need before they destroy their lives and bodies on societies dime.

=On Regulation=

Danielle claims that none of the above impacts will happen because the government will regulate drugs in a way that conveniently skirts all of my arguments. She gets here because she has shifted the goal posts massively. She pivoted from rhetoric like "Everybody has the right to live free from aggression under any circumstance." and "the State should only limit the actions of individuals to prevent harming others." in Round 2 to claiming that she actually doesn't have to support the legalization of recreational drugs. Not only is it completely unethical for her to compel me to argue against a new position every round, but she can't be allowed to contradict herself in such a way.

The problem with that kind of shifting of the goal posts is that Danielle has not explained clearly what type of "regulations" she is advocating. I have to sleuth through her arguments to criticize the system she wants to set up. The closest thing to regulating drugs that I can think of is how tobacco and alcohol are regulated-- which she makes reference to when she says that alcohol is "legal with safeguards." However those safeguards, regulations and taxes obviously don't do much to deter use. Over half the population regularly uses alcohol, a legal and regulated drug which she claims is as dangerous as the hardest of hard drugs, so this is hardly a ringing endorsement of regulation. Usage would go up if illegal drugs were as easy to get as alcohol. Moreover, she never gave any numbers on how much "safer" drugs would be if they were regulated. How many overdoses would "safe" Heroin and Meth actually prevent? Compare this to my arguments, where I emphasize over and over the staggering number of people who have ended up using drugs once they become legal.

If the USE of ALL drugs were legalized (what the resolution says) it is clear that people would use medical drugs in needless and detrimental ways such as self medicating. To avoid facing this obvious conclusion, Danielle then claims that the resolution doesn't refer to recreational or over the counter drug use. Her arguments imply that drugs should be legal only for medicinal use, not for recreation--despite drugs like Heroin being listed as Schedule I drugs specifically because they have no valid medicinal use[1]. If that's the standard we are judging the debate from she never articulated a legitimate medical reason to use elephant tranquilizers on humans, so I win.

I should not have to be scratching my head wondering what is legal in Danielle's world and what isn't. You cannot vote Pro when my opponent doesn't make it clear what she is actually advocating. The resolution says that we are legalizing the sale, manufacture, and consumption of all drugs. Danielle claiming that: "people who buy, sell or use drugs outside of government regulated parameters would be saddled with criminal penalties" is an extremely liberal interpretation of resolution that clearly specifies USE.

But here's the catch--even if you accept that the resolution means Danielle can go from lofty proclamations about bodily autonomy and freedom from aggression to supporting the heavily regulated use of drugs for purely medicinal purposes, her new plan doesn't solve the problems of the black market and drug violence. If drugs are highly regulated for strictly medical use, addicts still won't be able to get the drugs they want and will continue to turn to the black market. Nothing would fundamentally change from the status quo. Contrast this with decriminalization which has been proven to take care of these problems by destroying the demand for drugs.

Does Danielle want a world where we can buy recreational drugs as easily as alcohol or does she want a world where heroin, meth, and elephant tranquilizers are strictly regulated and used only for their (non-existent) medicinal purposes? She cannot have her cake and eat it too.

=Wrap up=

Danielle spends the majority of her fourth round going over minor subpoints that I "dropped" and supporting contradictory regulatory regimes. Compare this with my final round, where I lay out exactly what I am supporting and detail how it is superior to full scale legalization. The government should continue to criminalize the making and selling of drugs but should pivot towards a more humane approach to the use of drugs and use the force of the law to make addicts go to rehabilitation.

Many points on both sides went largely ignored because the issue of decriminalization vs. legalization is ultimately all that matters. Not only has Danielle failed to present a compelling critique of policies similar to Portugal, she praised them. She has no convincing response to the disastrous results of drug legalization in the past. In the end her case is hinging on conflicting regulations acting as a catch-all solution to avoid what history tells us happens every time drug legalization occurs: drug abuse increases. This abuse has real world consequences. Drug use by less than two percent of the population kills tens of thousands of people annually, costs society hundreds of billions of dollars, unleashes waves of crime, and ruins communities. The history clearly shows us that legalization can increase this abuse tenfold whereas forcing addicts to get the help they need drives abuse down to the bare minimum.

It's clear which of these is a more workable policy goal. Vote Con and thanks again to Danielle for a fun debate.


Debate Round No. 4
334 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Danielle 3 years ago
I just re-read this debate and lol'd at how much I dominated :)
Posted by SeventhProfessor 4 years ago
Whiteflame and BOT are cucks
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
>Reported vote: SeventhProfessor // Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: pro had better arguments

[*Reason for removal*] This vote was placed well after the voting period officially ended.
Posted by whiteflame 4 years ago
>Reported vote: Forever23// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: Vote Bomb!!!

[*Reason for removal*] This debate was well past the end of the voting period when this vote was cast. Site errors extending the voting period of a debate do not alter this, and all further votes made on this debate will similarly be removed.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago

I don't want to have a long back and forth since I have a limited amount of free time, it was really a nonvote, and it is bad form to argue in the comments but suffice to say that isn't how policy debates are typically judged. The debate is meant to test the outcomes of two competing policies (the affirmative vs the status quo or counterplan), not policies outside the resolution. If I had made an argument against the libertarian position on free trade in the debate it wouldn't have negated the resolution. Danielle herself called me out when my arguments skirted too close to criticizing libertarianism generally instead of her actual case. And if it's a valid interpretation of her case to go with extremely limited medical usage that isn't a libertarian system anyway
Posted by SolonKR 5 years ago
If there's something I'm unaware of here, correct me, but I didn't think this was a "formal" debate with some unwritten rule like that. I think it's perfectly reasonable to argue anything without keeping it ceteris paribus. For instance, if we're doing a debate like "all cows should be freed from farms", and you say "that's impractical in the current system", I'd retort "then morality requires we switch to this other system", and affirm the resolution that way. I don't think that's a particularly scummy debate tactic, as it's still perfectly relevant to the debate topic and open for criticism. The resolution may not say, "The United States should legalize all drugs and also implement a libertarian free market", but that doesn't preclude someone from arguing "The US should implement a libertarian market, and thus legalize drugs" to affirm.

In any case, talking about morality "working" was a weird way to phrase it, and left me confused about what your criticism was. You can't say I should prefer pragmatism to morality because morality isn't pragmatic; that presupposes pragmatism. Maybe that wasn't your intent, but that's what it looked like. It would have been better to either attack the harm principle from another moral perspective, for instance.

The understatement point is fair, and the other reason I spent a long time (you can ask Bailey, who was present, lol) trying to decide what to vote. I pretty much ignored it in the comment below, as you point out. Looking back, I'm inclined to agree that it's more of a clarification than a new stance (as FT pointed out in these comments), so I don't vote Con for a rule violation. As far as the merits of the argument itself, it still fits the framework slightly better than decriminalization.

In any case, I don't think the debate was nearly as one-sided as most people are saying it is.
Posted by thett3 5 years ago

"If "libertarian morality" only works in a "libertarian system", it's easy to advocate for a "libertarian system", which is what Danielle does (except for that weird prescription argument). With that, she wins."

The resolution does not say "The United States should legalize all drugs and also implement a libertarian free market." Pro is bound within the constraints of the status quo, with the sole exception of both debaters pretending like the policy could pass.

Also to dismiss it as a "weird prescription argument" is a vast understatement. By the end of the debate she had completely discarded her initial framework and all of her initial arguments and was hyper focused on a very narrow form of legalization where illicit drugs are used as alternative medicines prescribed by a doctor
Posted by SolonKR 5 years ago
Maybe contrarian is the better word, because apparently I'm the only one who thinks this lol.
Posted by SolonKR 5 years ago
I don't meet the ELO requirements, but I had an RFD written anyway; here it is:

"Frameworks are important. Pro's argument for autonomy was supported by history and natural rights (harm principle). Con argued for states rights, citing public opinion, harm, and disregarding state sovereignty. Pro countered that majority rule doesn't equal right rule, and that Con never really supported the "states rights" point besides asserting that they exist. This leaves me weighing rights+history against harm. Rights win that by definition; it's not enough to say I should prefer pragmatism here because rights aren't pragmatic. Legalization fulfills the harm principle & BoP. But, Con has several arguments that show legalization may be a worse violation of the HP; mainly consumption of public goods. Pro counters that arguing from the status quo doesn't work here. If "libertarian morality" only works in a "libertarian system", it's easy to advocate for a "libertarian system", which is what Danielle does (except for that weird prescription argument). With that, she wins."

95% of this debate didn't seem to matter at all--both sides got so sidetracked with harms that they seemed to forget what they were actually arguing. It's frustrating because:
A) Thett seemed to have better arguments about the actual effects of legalization vs. decriminalization (which the debate focused on), but Danielle won w.r.t. the actual subject. As a voter, I'm put in an awkward position.
B) The prescription drugs argument. This is one of those rare times where removing part of one's case would make it stronger.
C) The framework arguments were not good. "Libertarian morality only works in a libertarian system" begs the question, but Pro winning on a weak historical justification for the harm principle is unfortunate, too. I was leaning toward a tie for a long time because of this, but in the end, what works, works.

I realize my stance is controversial, so feel free to criticize it.
Posted by Zarroette 5 years ago
Yeah, I have to agree that Thett won. The votes and comments seem to agree with that, too. Everyone seems to agree that Thett won. They're worth reading and I still think Thett won.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Romanii 5 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
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Vote Placed by FourTrouble 5 years ago
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