To make sure that doesn’t happen, we’ve compiled a series of handy reference guides with the most common arguments — and your counter-arguments — for all of the hot-button issues of the day.
This week’s topic: How to argue that marijuana should be legal.
The more appropriate goal is to get these two systems to work together more effectively to improve both public safety and public health.
In the discussion of legalizing marijuana, a useful analogy can be made to gambling.
Marijuana was an identified drug of abuse for 57 percent of the individuals referred to treatment from the criminal justice system.
The future of drug policy is not a choice between using the criminal justice system or treatment.Common Argument #1: Marijuana impairs judgment and makes people act recklessly.Your Response: In that case, you must also support banning alcohol, right? Here’s what the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has to say about marijuana as a “gateway drug:”In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use, it is indeed a “gateway” drug.Overdosing on alcohol can kill you, as can the drug’s withdrawal symptoms (it’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t sort of thing).The Center for Disease Control attributes around 37,000 deaths every year to alcohol (not including accidental deaths), while prescription drugs kill one person in the United States every 19 minutes. The CDC doesn’t even have a category for marijuana-related deaths.For example, cannabidol (CBD) has been shown to have analgesic, antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, and antinausea properties, yet it’s nowhere to be found in Marinol. Marinol, on the other hand, is even more psychoactive than regular marijuana; this is because it’s ingested orally, which enhances its psychoactive effects (hence the difference between smoking a bowl and eating a pot brownie).Contrary to the beliefs of those who advocate the legalization of marijuana, the current balanced, restrictive, and bipartisan drug policies of the United States are working reasonably well and they have contributed to reductions in the rate of marijuana use in our nation.The whole “gateway drug” argument is based on a common, well-documented logical fallacy. Your response: Only for roughly nine percent of people who smoke it. By comparison, around one third of tobacco smokers become addicted, as do 15 percent of booze drinkers.If we’re going to ban drugs based on how addictive they are, marijuana should be rather low on the list. Your response: So are donuts, cheeseburgers, and candy.That being said, marijuana’s legal status makes it very difficult to study its health effects, seeing as most such studies are illegal under federal law.Common Argument #5: There is a reason why Marijuana was made illegal in the first place. Let’s start by looking at the document that caused marijuana to be placed in Schedule I, the federal category reserved for drugs with the highest potential for abuse.