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A better analogy with your seed metaphor would be if someone dug a little hole in the middle of your house and planted a seed for a tree. At first it didn't matter, but then the tree started to grow and take up your whole house. You couldn't get around, there were birds flying around your house that laid nests in the tree, it was awful. So you decided to remove the tree, it is your property after all. But there is a group of people who worship a book that tells them that removing trees from the ground is immoral and should never be done under any circumstances. They are so influential that it is illegal for you to remove the tree. "What am I supposed to do?" you say. "Just wait until the tree is grown after a year, and then you can give it up for someone else to care of" "This isn't fair" you say, "I shouldn't have to have something growing in my house that I don't want"
"Atheists (if I'm not mistaken) believe that when they die, ..that's it."
This is generally true, but not necessarily true. Being an atheist just means you don't believe in god. You can not believe in god and still believe in some sort of afterlife or reincarnation. You could also theoretically believe in god and not believe in an afterlife. However I will answer the question because I am an atheist who does not believe in afterlife. First of all the concept of death seems surreal and abstract so it's hard to say exactly how I feel about it. Obviously I don't want to die and if I could would want to live on forever. However dying doesn't seem bad, or even god for that matter because your consciousness doesn't exist to think about your circumstances. The way I conceptualize life and death is that life is like a vacation. Yes the vacation will eventually end so you could say what's the point of even trying to enjoy it if it won't last. But that isn't what people do. They make the most of it and try to have the best time possible and forget that the experience will not last.
What is your point about it causing short term effects? There are lots of things that have worse short term effects and even permanent effects that are legal. The example I love to use is that it is legal to drink a can of paint thinner if you so desire. This is phenomenally worse for you than smoking marijuana. So if your reason that marijuana should be illegal is that it is not good for you, then you must support making every illegal that is at least as bad for you as marijuana and certainly worse.
I'm going to copy/paste one of my earlier arguments because I feel that it properly argues for legalization from many angles. And on the other debate no one argued against me, so I welcome anyone to disagree if you can actually make an argument other than "Well it's illegal therefore it's bad therefore it should be illegal."
I will argue first from a practical position, then philosophical, then historical.
Marijuana is not dangerous. There has never been a death recorded due to marijuana. The LD50 or amount that it would take to kill half the population is incredibly high. The estimate is 1500 pounds of marijuana in 14 minutes. You can reasonably say it is so high, it is impossible to die from overdosing on marijuana. Also marijuana does not make you stupid. The reason people think this, is that there was a study done on monkey where they let them breathe only marijuana smoke and they died from hypoxia or lack of oxygen. When you die from a lack of oxygen, your brain cells die. The severe errors in the study, however, were released much later than the results so there is now a stigma that marijuana use makes you stupid. They have found that smoking marijuana does not cause cancer like cigarette smoke. A UCLA study found no link. The gateway drug theory is actually perpetuated by the prohibition of marijuana. Because marijuana users must get pot from drug dealers, they are exposed to harder, dangerous drugs. If marijuana was able to be sold in stores, this would not happen. Legalizing marijuana would not lead to an increase in use by children. According to many studies, it is vastly easier for teenagers to get marijuana than it is for them them to get alcohol. This is because alcohol must be purchased through legal channels where vendors check for IDs. However, because of the black market for marijuana drug dealers do not care how old someone is when they sell them pot. The legalization of marijuana will be very good for the economy. We spend billions of dollars each year to keep people in prison because they like to get high and relax. Additionally marijuana is a huge cash crop the government could make a lot of money off from taxation. It is the number one cash crop in California for example. ~60% of the money of Mexican drug cartels is earned by selling marijuana in the US. Severely compromising their funding would reduce crime in the United States as well as Mexico, which would help improve Mexico's living conditions and curb illegal immigration into the United States.
The government should not have a right to prohibit you from doing something to yourself that does not harm anyone else. It is not illegal to go home and drink a gallon of paint thinner, but I guarantee that it's much better for both you and society that you smoke marijuana instead of drinking paint thinner. Here's a more reasonable example: Should the government make it illegal to consume significantly more calories than you expend? This is much more harmful than marijuana, and obesity related illnesses are one of the leading causes of death. The bottom line is that this type of reasoning that the government needs to be able to protect you from yourself is dangerously close to fascism. Where do you draw the line? Do we monitor people's jobs and make it illegal to not work hard to make sure people are productive and that they get promoted? Do we make it illegal to be late for job interviews because that is bad for you? Do we make it illegal to sleep in beds instead of on the floor because people have died this way and no one has ever died from marijuana? The answer is no. Adults are free to make their own decisions that only affect themselves. We do not live in a "nanny-state" as Ron Paul puts it.
Many people assume that because marijuana is illegal serious research and thinking went into the decision to ban it. This simply isn't true. The first marijuana laws in the United States forced people to grow marijuana during colonial times. Marijuana became illegal for a few reasons. One was due to extreme anti-Latino and anti-black sentiment. People were fear mongered into believing that minorities were a danger to white society especially due to marijuana. The "reefer madness" campaign created undue hysteria. Yellow journalism and personal career advancement also played a role. In fact President Nixon commissioned a report on marijuana which concluded that marijuana should not be illegal. http://www.druglibrary.org/Schaffer/
The next logical question is why is marijuana still illegal. Again there are a few reasons. What kept it illegal during the middle and late 1900s was again a fear mongering campaign linking marijuana use and communism. By this point in history there is so much social stigma against marijuana, that if you ask someone against legalization why it should be illegal, they will most likely cite things that simply aren't true. Additionally the alcohol and tobacco industries are absolutely huge. Companies in those industries make a so much money that they can spend vast amounts lobbying congress to keep marijuana illegal. They don't want competition. Why would you drink or smoke tobacco when they are incredibly dangerous and addictive when you can smoke marijuana which is harmless and not addictive? Many people underestimate the effect that a large lobby can have on national and state policy. The alcohol and tobacco companies also perpetuate the social stigma against marijuana by funding anti-drug and anti-marijuana advertisements and programs. The goal of these programs is not to make you not do drugs, its to stop you from doing drugs that they don't sell you. Also marijuana for medicinal purposes is a huge threat to the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry is the biggest industry in the United States. Just like the tobacco and alcohol companies, pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars lobbying congress. Marijuana has been said by some doctors to be the single best drug for maintaining health. It combats an astonishing number of diseases and conditions, and has no side effects. Compare that to the multitude of side effects from prescription drugs. It has become a cliche how at the end of television commercials for prescription drugs they rattle off a long list of some pretty serious side effects. Thousands of people die from adverse reactions to prescription drugs.
As I hope you can see, the prohibition of marijuana is completely wrong on many levels. Making marijuana legal will keep it away from kids, keep people away from dangerous hard drugs, and allow adults to make their own choices when it comes to their own lives.
1. When did I ever say that the government should "force it down their throats"? This is something that I believe should happen, but that doesn't mean I think the constitution should be circumvented.
2. Hospitals can't let people who are having a medical emergency die because they can't afford a procedure, but for all other treatments they can. For example if you have some disease that is on insurance companies list of preexisting conditions (a list that is growing) then you would be able to get insurance. And if you can't afford to pay for your treatment out of pocket (incredibly unlikely) then you will die. 50% of bankruptcies are related to medical costs. Is it really fair that a person should be given the choice between being poor or being alive? I think America can do better than that.
You made a pointless 'debate.' You are just complaining because you don't like it when people disagree with you. If you have the maturity to ignore them, or even better discuss things with them rationally, then great. If not, then return your intellectual bubble of Fox News, your conservative family, etc. Maybe one day you will be able to handle being exposed to ideas contrary to your own.
"Ok I can show you tons of unsuccessful people that have successful kids."
I don't doubt that there are a large number of successful children who had unsuccessful parents. But this number is significantly smaller than the number of unsuccessful children who had unsuccessful parents.
So let me ask you a question. Imagine an inner-city kid who works hard in school and works a job at night to help his single mom take care of his siblings. His high school had very little money because the money comes from property taxes and the surrounding areas aren't worth much. Therefore he recieved a poor education and was not prepared for college. He didn't have advisors to explain to him which classes are important to take in college and other things like the SAT. So he doesn't end up going to college and no one ever explained to him how he can go to his local community college and transfer to a four year school. He ends up working 2 hard jobs for most of life just to provide for his family. He works the night shift, then comes home and goes to sleep for a few hours before waking up to work during the day. He worked this hard until he died from a heart attack at the early age of 62, most likely due to a combination of stress, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep.
Now imagine a totally different scenario. An upper-middle class kid who grew up in a wealthy community in the suburbs. His parents had plenty of money and he never had to work because they gave him money when he needed it. Therefore he was able to spend as much time as he wanted to studying. When he had trouble in a class, his parents hired a private tutor to make sure he got a grade. His school had excellent teachers and programs to encourage kids to go to college and explain the entire process to them clearly. He was tutored to prepare for the SAT, and in fact he took it multiple times despite the cost because his parents could afford it. He ended up very high score. His parents hired a private college advisor to make sure he could get into any school he wanted to. He went to college and didn't have to work to pay for school as his parents had it covered so he had plenty of time to study and have fun. He graduated and connections through his parents landed him a great job paying an $80,000 starting salary. He worked for a few companies over the course of his life, all of which were easy to get jobs at due to his prior experience. He would wake up each morning and take a relaxing drive to work. He would do some work for a while and then take a break. He came home in the evening and relaxed with his wife and kids. On the weekends he was free to pursue hobbies or do whatever he wished. He retired when he was 60, and lived out the rest of long life relaxing in one of his various vacation homes or traveling the world.
You tell me who worked harder and had more committment. Forget your idealized view of success. Hard work and determination are almost almost neccesary, but they are not even close to a guarantee. There are millions of people who harder and longer than you ever will, just to get by.