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Should the Federal Government Legalize the Recreational Use of Cannabis?

72.9% yes
27.1% no

Over the past decade, multiple states and localities have enacted laws with some variation toward legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. However, it still remains illegal to use on the federal level. Some lawmakers are currently pressing to change this, sparking debates over the dangers and benefits that legalization of the recreational use of marijuana would cause.

Those who support the legalization of using recreational cannabis argue that current laws have led to large numbers of Americans acquiring criminal records and potentially spending time in jail. They argue this is unwarranted because this side considers recreational use of cannabis to be a very minor offense. Additionally, those who support legalization argue that our current laws disproportionately target black and brown Americans, and perpetuate racism in our criminal justice system. Finally, this side may argue that there are no significant health issues surrounding the use of recreational cannabis, and that legalizing it will raise tax revenue.

Those who oppose the legalization of recreational cannabis use argue that the substance is more dangerous than supporters of it make it appear. Therefore, they argue, it is important to keep it criminalized in order to discourage its use. This side may argue that even if there are some racial disparities in the enforcement of cannabis laws, they argue that the law shouldn’t be thrown out just because it is being misapplied. Finally, this side argues that cannabis use can cause paranoia, schizophrenia, and be a gateway drug, and that any tax revenue raised from its sale will be offset when the government needs to spend large amounts of money on healthcare for people who develop issues from marijuana use.

So, what do you think? Should the Federal Government Legalize the Recreational Use of Cannabis? Students can answer Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in between!

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:      

  • Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner     
  • Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers      
  • Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors      
  • They address counterarguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner      
  • They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly   


For this question, BRI will be giving away two $25 gift cards, one to each person providing the best defense of each side of the debate. Both students will also win BRI swag. Each student winner will also be entered for a chance to win a grand prize of a $1,000 cash scholarship. Additionally, the referring teachers for both students will each win a $25 gift card and BRI swag.

Be sure to submit your answers in time to be considered for our prizes!

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