Exploring An Argument, Caution: Critical Thinking Ahead

Posted: September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Aye!  There she be!  The beautiful wild argument.  I came across her in The New York Times, caught her and will now proceed to dissect her.  Here we go…


The editorial I chose is High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization; Intro: Repeal Prohibition, Again.  The thesis, or argument being made is that the federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

The first piece of evidence given to support the conclusion is that 3/4 of the states have already either legalized medicinal use, reduced penalties for possession, or legalized recreational use.  When I Googled “Marijuana Legalization,” I came across Medical Marijuana ProCon.org and found that 23 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use.  On norml.org, there is a handy little map that told me that 15 states have decriminalized marijuana and of course, I think we all know by now that it is legal in Colorado and Washington. There is a little overlap and some states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use have also decriminalized the possession of marijuana but from what I have found, I was able to verify this information.

The next premise is that the ban on marijuana is harmful to society.  They cite statistics from the FBI saying that in 2012, there were 658,00 arrests related to marijuana possession, while there were only 256,000 arrests for cocaine and heroin.  Following the link in the article to the FBI website, I was able to see the same information for myself.  It is more of an opinion that these arrests create a social problem but it is one that they explore further in a different segment in this series.

The last piece of evidence presented that I will explore is the statement that “Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults.” The author concludes that it is less dangerous than alcohol.  This is where it becomes tricky to find unbiased information.  It seems there are a lack of studies on the long-term effects of marijuana use on health.  It may cause respiratory problems when smoked but it is unknown if it can lead to cancer.  I could not find evidence of any marijuana overdoses.  According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use leads to approximately 88,000 deaths per year and can result in alcohol poisoning, accidents, violence, high blood pressure, certain cancers, social problems and more.  However, the information about marijuana use was limited and seemed to be grouped together with other illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

So there you have it; an argument, stripped down, pulled apart and analyzed.


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