Debating the Issues

I saw this article on Freakonomics about what would happen if marijuana were decriminalized that I thought was interesting. A group of people give their opinions on the subject, some for and some against. I like these kinds of debates since I like the idea of forming my own opinions after hearing both sides of the debate. I like having my opinion changed based on strong points and counter points. But it gets very difficult to have a stance when there are people who contradict each other. For example, Joel W. Hay, professor of Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Southern California, says:

There isn’t a shred of scientific evidence that marijuana is safe and effective for any medical condition.

 Then the next opinion comes from Robert Platshorn, former marijuana smuggler and was the leader of one of the largest marijuana-trafficking organizations in the 1970’s, who says, 

Based on lies and distortions, we demonized a plant that’s proven effective in treating chronic pain, glaucoma, MS, arthritis, and the effects of chemotherapy, AIDS-wasting syndrome, and other chronic illnesses. Studies in at least five countries have shown marijuana to slow and often reverse the growth of cancer cells.

What the crap? How am I supposed to have an educated stance on an issue when one person says pot has never been proven to help anyone and the next person says pot has proven effective to help people? Either it has or it hasn’t right? We’re obviously not comparing apples to apples; one persons definition of proven is not the same as the other persons. So before we can start debating this issue we need to come to a consensus as to what the criteria are for what’s proven and what’s not proven. The problem is that these criteria are never set and so we continue these worthless debates that confuse people (including me) and move us further away from getting to the solution.  

I want to start a debate website that is like a wiki where people post cited facts on both sides of the debate so that people like me can compare all the issues without all the bullcrap.

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