Points For and Against Drug Legalization
by Ethan Glover, Tue, Jan 06, 2015 - (Edited) Sat, Dec 30, 2017
Intelligence Squared recently held a debate in Chile on the subject of drug legalization. South America is the largest producer of cocaine. The thing I love about Intelligence Squared is that points on both sides are always worth listening to.
Most debates online are one-sided. Or at least, I have a hard time seeing both points of view. Bias overrules arguments made by the side I disagree with. But, IQ2 works so well that I always walk away with a better understanding of the other position.
This particular debate is shorter than usual for IQ2, but it's still almost 50 minutes long. I recommend the whole thing. But, the opening statements by each panelist provides a good minimum to get the gist.
I should note that under normal IQ2 rules, the Against side would have won the debate. It is who wins the most votes from beginning to end that wins. Not who has a majority in the end. It is also uncommon for a side to lose votes as the For side did. Still, give it a watch below.
The table below shows my notes on the debate. It's a short summary of the points made. If I missed anything or worded anything wrong please let me know.
I've also provided sources for what I could find, and marked anything in red that, according to what I've found, is wrong. When dealing with an issue on worldwide basis, as this debate did, it's difficult to be accurate. Bear that in mind and don't immediately condemn any contradicting statistics. Chances are, things are different in different countries.
- Military crackdowns exasperate violence problem.
- Black markets create violence.
- Hard for addicts to get help.
- Addiction has increased under drug war.
- Government spending has increased to no benefit.
- Illegal drug markets have increased under drug war.
- Price of drugs have declined.
- Hundreds of new drugs enter market each year.
- Legalization means taxes 'for people.'
- Regulation rather than illegalization is more helpful.
- Total drug usage has increased under drug war.
- When drugs are seen as a health problem - instead of crime - usage decreases.
- Violent drug lords move when drugs are illegalized. From legal country to illegal country.
- Legalization includes legalization of production. Use should be decriminalized not production.
- Will lead to increase in use and addiction.
- Will create nation of stoners - crackheads - and junkies.
- Weed in Colorado is packaged as candy/cookies/chocolate. Making it attractive to kids.
- Smoking and alcohol kills. Legalization of drugs only puts more killer drugs on the market.
- Brazil decriminalization in 2006 led to an increase in usage.
- Legalization is an approval of drugs.
- Prohibition of alcohol created 3% drop in usage.
- Legalization helps drug lords take over/get stronger because some governments now can't stop them.
- Legalization doesn't get rid of organized crime. It moves just as it moved from alcohol to drugs.
- Cocaine use was at an all time high in 1990 with 6 million active users. Today it's at 1.4 million because of drug war.
- Cocaine Production. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocaine#Production
- Szalavitz, Maia (26 April 2009). "Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?". TIME. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
- Dai, S. (2012, October 12). A Chart That Says the War on Drugs Isn't Working. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://bit.ly/1xCIYKq
- Healy, J. (2014, October 29). New Scrutiny on Sweets With Ascent of Marijuana in Colorado. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://nyti.ms/1wnuoC8
- Miron, Jeffrey A. (September 17, 2007). "Costs of Marijuana Prohibition: Economic Analysis". Marijuana Policy Project. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
- Johnston, L. D.; O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G. & Schulenberg, J. E. (November 30, 2005). "Table 13: Trends in Availability of Drugs as Perceived by Twelfth Graders" (PDF).Teen drug use down but progress halts among youngest teens. Monitoring the Future.
- Vulliamy, E. (2011, July 23). Nixon's 'war on drugs' began 40 years ago, and the battle is still raging. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://bit.ly/1AD6xn3
- Pollack, H. (2013, May 29). The most embarrassing graph in American drug policy. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://wapo.st/1AD6A2r
- New and Designer Drugs. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://bit.ly/1xQdL4W
- "Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure". Cato.org. July 17, 1991. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- Lloyd, J. (2002, October 1). Drug Use Trends. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://bit.ly/1xQgPB8
- C. Peter Rydell, Controlling Cocaine: Supply Versus Demand Programs (Rand Drug Policy Research Center 1994).
I won't be providing my personal thoughts on this yet. I think the sources speak for themselves. If you found this resource valuable, please like and share.