Marijuana is a drug which its existence has spanned years and years. However, for almost the same number of years, it has remained banned, rendering its possession or use as a criminal offense across most of the U.S. states. Basically, the ban is informed by the fact that marijuana is an addictive drug and has a propensity to get people to become hard drug users. Nevertheless, marijuana is widely considered as a drug which individuals enjoy just like music, TV shows, and movies, without bothering to abandon it. This has raised debate over its illegality, as its experience and effects on other individuals have been publicized. As a result, one is left with the question, is the criminalization of marijuana justified?
The deliberation on the legality of marijuana has been based majorly on its existence and effects. Various research articles have been published, arguing for and against the legalization of the drugs. The news article “Is legalizing marijuana a bad thing?” offers various reactions to an earlier article done by David Brooks, seeking to refute his argument that marijuana should never be legalized. On the contrary, High times come out loud in article “10 Reasons marijuana should be legal”, advocating the legalization of marijuana. These two article present contrasting opinions on the legality of marijuana. In this paper, the two arguments will be analyzed, compared, and the most effective parts of each argument given.
In the letter responses to the argument made by David Brooks, Howard Talmer addresses the editor of the article “Weed: Been There. Done That” claiming that the argument to have marijuana remain illegal, or rather against the legalization of marijuana is founded on personal experience. Talmer refuted Brooks’ claims that marijuana poses a serious threat to young people around the world. He asserts that the claim that marijuana causes significant and permanent drop in the intelligence and analytical abilities of young people, should apply to a greater extent to alcohol instead of marijuana. This is because marijuana causes an insignificant damage as compared to the effects of alcohol (“Is legalizing marijuana a bad thing?”).
According to Talmer, Brooks argues that it is only logical to discourage the use of marijuana and prevent it from reaching vulnerable sections of the population like teenagers. However, restricting its use is a violation of the Declaration of Independence which categorizes freedom and the quest for happiness as basic rights. Talmer argues that the act of legalizing marijuana is derived from human core values, which affirm the rights of very individual in the utmost private sphere, allowing people choose what to consume and the ways to spend their personal time.
Tom Angell also offers another criticism to the Brooks arguments. He also argues that Brooks’s argument is built on his experiences (“Is legalizing marijuana a bad thing?”). That is, Brooks claims that while at college, in the company of friends they would smoke marijuana. Although it was fun, they would all move away from it without a big deal, at a later date. Angell criticizes Brooks claiming that criminalizing marijuana implies that the potential of harm would be increased. The revenue gained from marijuana sales would still remain with criminals; drug lords, who engage in violent acts to safeguard the market share. He also states that marijuana sold over black markets is not tested for purity and potency, putting several users at risk. Lastly, Angell claims that prohibition leads to unnecessary criminal records which tarnish the profile of a person ending the prospect of a productive life.
Thomas Locke also locks horns with Brooks claiming that his scold at Washington and Colorado is unjustified. Opposing the claims that with Colorado and Washington leading in the efforts, they have created a situation which will result in the plummeting of the price, he states that the prohibitive laws have for centuries failed to deliver (“Is legalizing marijuana a bad thing?”). Thus it was time to experiment on better measures including legalization. Peter Schwartz also refutes Brooks’s arguments, claiming that the legalization of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is the right move, even though the best move is a total legalization. He claims that even though, he has no experience with marijuana, he can vividly assert that alcohol causes more harm yet it is not criminalized (“Is legalizing marijuana a bad thing?”).
In the reactions to the arguments made by Brooks, the authors of the letters in the article “Is legalizing marijuana a bad thing?” employ the ethos appeal. Their intrinsic ethos comes out strong in persuading the audience; that is how they speak or write. They express themselves intelligently and confidently using a language which is appropriate for the audience. Their intrinsic ethos gets to the eyes of the audience, pulling them into the insight that they are knowledgeable of the effects of marijuana and the remedies. As a result, the overall ethos which was infirm since the audience was skeptical of the authors’ knowledge and experience on the issue is affirmed
On the other hand, High times, deliver an equal but contrasting argument, also targeting the general public. They state that criminalization of marijuana has done more harm than good. As argued, the prohibition has failed to curb marijuana trade. In fact, the legalization of marijuana is also believed to result in a significant reduction, in the crime level. By legalizing marijuana, almost all marijuana crimes would be eliminated, freeing up and leaving the correctional institutions for real crimes. The marijuana business would also become a legal business like any other; people would not have to engage in smuggling.
They also argue that the legalizing marijuana would be much of the economic gain, as it would foster the reintroduction of hemp into the society, more so during these hard economic times. Additionally, the revenue collected from the sales of the drug would be a massive economic boost. No one presumes that United States will convalesce economically if it becomes a “pot nation”; however upon legalization; the revenues gained from the sale and growth of marijuana would exceed the amount of money spent on enforcing the prohibitive marijuana laws.
They also argue that the marijuana is not as lethal as other intoxicants such as alcohol and tobacco. In fact, the prohibition is heavily based on lies on lies and disinformation. All the assertions made are basically based on opinions and not facts. Proponents to the prohibition argue that individuals would easily abuse the drug causing harm to the body. However, fact has it that not a single death incident has been reported of a marijuana overdose.
Lastly, High times argue that has some medicinal benefits. It helps relieve pain for patients who suffer debilitating diseases, while also benefits patients by relieving them of migraines, ADHD, OCD’s and the aversion of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug had been tested and ascertained that is has no medical downsides, contrary to other drug such as painkillers, nicotine and sleeping pills because it is not addictive.
The strongest appeal used by High Times to advocate the legalization of marijuana is logos. In arguing for the legalization, they use factual statements which endeavor to convince the audience by making reasonable claims and offering proof in support of the logical approach to persuade the audience. A consequence or cause and analogy appeals are used when High Times bring in the claims, in favor of legalization of marijuana. This reflects the overall benefits of marijuana, thus setting forth a logical argument and evidence for the calls to legalize marijuana. Comparison
Although the response letter to Brook argument offer a sound debate in favor of legalization, the arguments are founded basically on own experience. The authors base their claims on disapproving the basis of Brooks’s arguments; past encounters with marijuana. On the other hand, High Times offer a factual and solid argument for the legalization of the marijuana. They present a substantive analysis of the benefits of the legalization using various logical appeals. As opposed to Brooks, they offer a thorough examination of both sides of the legality issues, weighing on both the criminalization and legalization, before standing with legalization.
"Is legalizing marijuana a bad thing?” The New York Times, 6 Jan. 2014. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.<http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/opinion/is-legalizing-marijuana-a-bad- thing.html?_r=1>
High Times. "10 Reasons Marijuana Should Be Legal." High Times. N.p., 17 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2014. <http://www.hightimes.com/read/10-reasons-marijuana-should-be-legal>.