On Thursday, Claremont McKenna College’s (CMC) Dreier Roundtable hosted a student debate on drug legalization titled “Should all drugs be legalized?” The event provided a $750 cash prize for the winning team, which argued on the affirmative side, and a $150 consolation cash prize for the losing team. The debate was part of the Dreier Roundtable initiative, which aims to encourage meaningful discourse among students on relevant and complex issues. Launched by alumnus and former U.S. Rep. David Dreier CM ’75, the Dreier Roundtable is intended to support CMC’s mission to become a leading institution in economics and government.
Throughout the debate, the winning affirmative team — composed of Elizabeth Barry CM ’26 and Tanzila Jama CM ’26 — focused on the potential of drug legalization to mitigate harms intrinsic to drug addiction and abuse. They argued that legalization may save lives by addressing increasing rates of lethal overdose in America and refuted any notion of drug legalization leading to an increase in drug usage.
The anti-legalization team — which included Viviana Alvarez de la Cadena Garza CMC ‘27 and Eliza Gunter CMC ‘27 — initiated their case by asserting that legalizing drugs would lead to an increase in usage, citing the correlation between marijuana legalization and a 65 percent increase in drug use among minors.