The best way to tackle debates regarding legalization or safe access to medical marijuana is to relate it to the prohibition of alcohol, when the united states established the eighteenth amendment.
"The manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited."
Demand for liquor continued, despite the new amendment, and the law resulted in the criminalization of producers, suppliers, transporters and consumers. The police, courts and prisons were overwhelmed with new cases; organized crime increased in power, and corruption extended among law enforcement officials. The amendment was repealed in 1933 by ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, the only instance in United States history of repeal of a constitutional amendment.
It's easy to make comparisons between the current "War on drugs" and alcohol prohibition from the 1920's.
–Statements of the US Attorneys for the four federal districts in California
Now more than ever our civil rights are in dire and drastic need of support. The government should not be allowed to criminalize us for using a plant, that even they deem has medicinal value. So that brings us to debating! Now I am definitely not a debater, but for all medical marijuana advocates, we find ourselves defending our stance almost daily. Educating our peers is a great way to spread positive medical marijuana information, but unfortunately the debate needs to be had at higher political levels. The 420 shack is respectfully asking all of you to attend local city hall meetings, to find out who your local politicians are, and to seek out better laws for ourselves. The fight in marijuana legalization will be won at the ballot! In order to keep marijuana legalization a viable option for the government we need to band together, and convince our local governments that the current laws in place are wrong.
Every one of those arrests on the chart has a story attached to it, and every one has a family and friends who suffered as a result of an unjust law, continued in most part due to a general lack of knowledge about marijuana. If we are to make ground, we need to push, and push hard. We need to educate our local governments and drive change to the heart of our political system.
Pose the following question –“Why does the united states government need to criminally prosecute people for the responsible use of marijuana?”
Wait for their response
If response is along the lines of “Marijuana is illegal because it turns people lethargic.” pose original question, but alter question with [for being lethargic] Place emphasis on the word “criminally”.
If response is because of violence, point out that:
If response is because of negative effects of marijuana, again refer back to the question, but alter the question with [said negative effect], and emphasize the word “criminally.”
If the above activity eventually leads to a response along the lines of “...because of the economic drain it causes in health/welfare costs.” Ask for evidence that the costs of enforcing prohibition have been less than the health/welfare costs that would exist without prohibition. If there is no evidence, which there most likely won't be, then ask why a law was enacted before there was any evidence that it would be fiscally responsible.
The Marijuana Policy Project's 2002 "Medical Marijuana Briefing Paper" stated:
If they respond with something along the lines of “You can’t put a price tag on the prevention of human suffering,” then ask why they brought up the health/ welfare costs as a factor.
At any point if it seems like they are making up their answers, you should point out that marijuana is already illegal, and that criminal prosecution is a serious and agonizing event; it is not something that should be done lightly and as a result of guesswork.
Our rights, our future, it's in our hands NOW. Let's do something about it!