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Debate #1 - Legalization of marijuana

1. Smoked marijuana contains cancer-causing compounds


Cannabis smoke contains many of the same cancer causing substances (carcinogens) as
tobacco - at least 50 of them. In addition, cannabis is often mixed with tobacco when
smoked.
(Evaluation of the DNA Damaging Potential of Cannabis Cigarette Smoke by the
Determination of Acetaldehyde Derived N2-Ethyl-2-deoxyguanosine Adducts. Chemical
Research in Toxicology, 2009; 22 (6): 1181 DOI: 10.1021/tx900106y)

2. Not enough evidence supports marijuana as an effective pain relieving agent
(http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2006/ucm108643.htm )

3. Marijuana carries a risk of abuse or crimes
Today, marijuana trafficking is linked to a variety of crimes, from assault and murder to
money laundering and smuggling.

According to a study by the RAND Corporation, approximately 60 percent of arrestees test
positive for marijuana use in the United States, England, and Australia. Further, marijuana
metabolites are found in arrestees urine more frequently than those of any other drug.

(Rosalie Liccardo Pacula and Beau Kilmer, Marijuana and Crime: Is There a Connection
Beyond Prohibition? (RAND Corporation Health Working Paper WR-125, Prepared for the
National Institute on Drug Abuse, January 2004))
4. Marijuana, like tobacco, is addictive

One study found that more than 30 percent of adults who used marijuana in the course of a
year were dependent on the drug.

(W. M. Compton et al., Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States: 1991
1992 and 20012002, 291 jama 21142121 (2004).)

5. Marijuana is not healthy

Prolonged use of marijuana may cause cognitive degradation and is associated with lower
test scores and lower educational attainment because during periods of intoxication the drug
affects the ability to learn and process information, thus influencing attention,
concentration, and short-term memory.
(See M. T. Lynskey & W. D. Hall, The Effects of Adolescent Cannabis Use on Educational
Attainment: A Review, Addiction, 95(11) 16211630 (2000).)

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has been shown to have a residual effect on cognitive ability that
persists beyond the period of intoxication.
(Harrison G. Pope and Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, The Residual Cognitive Effects of Heavy
Marijuana Use in College Students, 275 jama 52127 (1996).)