Context and Summary of the ArticleIn the year 2010...
Refutation essay: Marijuana legalization is a bad idea in the United States
Context and Summary of the Article
In the year 2010, the Office of the
National Drug Control Policy released an article that was also a very crucial
Fact sheet on the Marijuana debate that rocked the United States. The Obama
administration faced with immense pressure from those that supported the
legalization of the drug although President Obama remained firm in opposing the
issue. However, some surveys indicated that as of 2008, over 58% of Americans
supported the legalization of Marijuana in the United States and more states in
the country had begun kick starting debates on the issue with the consideration
of legalizing Marijuana in mind (SAMHSA). With the continued and escalating,
vocal lobbying for the legalization of Marijuana made it necessary for the
National Drug Control as the executive office of the government to come up with
an article that would also offer more insight into the raging debate in the
The article primarily addresses the
issue of Marijuana providing facts and statistics on the use of the drug and
also its effects on the general population. It indicates the intensive and
fast-growing rates of the use of marijuana even though it was still illegal in
the country arguing that its legalization will make the abuse of the drug go
even higher. The article further attributes the increase of the use of
Marijuana to the softening of the youth and the general society on how they
perceive the use of marijuana. It claims that the arguments for the
legalization and also the increased number of supporters for the legalization
of the drug are what has made the drug even more popular especially among the
young people (Office of National Drug Control Policy).
The central claim of the article is
that the legalization of marijuana is not a good idea for the country since it
will set the stage for further social problems that are a consequence of Drug
use. The article also adds that the highly charged debate over the legalization
of the drug has led to the development of myths and misconceptions further
attracting more young people into its use. According to the reporting in the
article, the legalization of marijuana lead to the lowering of prices,
therefore, increase the accessibility and hence the rate of the drug users. It
further asserts that the use of the drug is harmful and hence ought to be
discouraged at all cost. For those that cite the revenue collection advantages
of legalizing drugs, the report indicates that the Tax revenue would be offset
by the increased social costs as is the case with Tobacco and alcohol. Furthermore,
it would lead to a further burden on the criminal justice system since its
legalization would lead to its increased use and hence, the resulting
drug-related crimes would be on the rise (Office of National Drug Control
Refutation of the Argument
The article uses logical fallacies by
arguing and also making the assumption that the legalization of Marijuana would
not result to curbing drug-related violence. According to the article, the
illegal drug businesses would remain underworld and hence retain the high
violence associated with the illegal business. It is fallacious to assert that
because, if the drug is legalized, it means that the government would need to
form some legal structures, guidelines, and policies that they need to fulfill.
Moreover, other drugs such as Tobacco and Alcohol that are legal do not witness
high levels of violence related to the business, but the products undergo
controls and the market moderated as is provided for by the laws that govern
the drugs. It is, therefore, not right to assume that the Marijuana situation
would remain unchanged.
The article also lacks sufficient
evidence and also a misrepresentation of facts by stating that majority of
Americans does not support the legalization of marijuana. However, a report by
SAMHSA indicated that by 2010, more than 50% of Americans supported the
legalization of the drug. The report further lacks the material evidence to
support the claim that legalization of Marijuana would lead to higher social
costs that would offset the tax revenue coming into the business. It is
difficult and needs more research to prove that because the government already
spends billions of dollars in the war against drugs of which marijuana is one
of them and yet is not as harmful as other drugs. Therefore, having its illegal
increases the financial burden on the war against drugs and yet the government
is making no revenue from the business hence the government is losing more
revenue keeping it illegal than it would if they legalized the drug.
In opposition to the claim that
Marijuana legalization is a bad idea for the United States, having the drug
legal would yield increased tax revenues for the country. It is because the
budget allocated to fight drugs especially with the continued growth of the
underworld drug business in the neighboring countries such as Mexico. It would
also mean that the officers would be more focused on searching for the drugs
with severe effects such as cocaine instead of spending time and resources on
Marijuana users. In a study by Jeffrey A. Miron of Cato Institute and Katherine
Waldock from New York University, they asserted that legalizing Marijuana in
the United States would save the government roughly 8.7 billion dollars every
year that are spent on expenditures related to enforcement of the prohibition
(Femer). With the reduced expenses and increased revenues from taxation would
mean an increase in revenue collection to the government.
Legalizing the Marijuana would also
result in the creation of safety controls, policies and guidelines regulating
the use of the drugs and also increased awareness of the drugs. With such vital
information and structures in place, it makes the use of marijuana safer for
individuals than running the risk of buying the Marijuana on the streets
without having any form of safety controls (Femer). Marijuana is also an
increasingly being used by young people in the United States. Therefore, the
demand is growing and hence the need to legalize it so that the government can
protect the young people against the rise of illegal activities and also
against the violence related to such business. Furthermore, marijuana is highly
effective especially for cancer patients undergoing Chemotherapy and therefore,
there is the need to legalize it to be used for medicinal purposes (Femer).
The use of Marijuana is increasing in
the United States and the perceived benefits such as the medicinal use of the
marijuana for cancer patients makes its use grow across the generations.
Moreover, every individual is at the liberty to choose what to do as they enjoy
the freedom because controlled use of marijuana would ensure that its use is at
a personal level. Therefore, it does not infringe on the freedom of others.
Moreover, its legalization advantages outweigh its remaining illegal regarding
revenue collection, reduction in crimes and also ability to control the drug
(Femer). The reasons against legalization of marijuana are also not well
informed and are based on assumptions hence cannot be relied upon. Therefore,
the United States being a democracy and the majority being in support of
marijuana legalization, it is the best thing that can happen in the country.
to write a refutation essay/guidelines
The questions below will help you construct the refutation:
include the Thesis/outline
1. Is the evidence or proof that the writer uses a
problem? Is the evidence not up to date,
insufficient, irrelevant, or not representative?
2. Is the claim valid? Do the reasons support the
3.Does the essay contain logical fallacies?
4.Does the author offer a solution that you feel will not work?
5. What counter-claims can you offer that support your
You must include the following in your essay:
1. Context and Summary of the Article/TED Talk/Speech
a. When was it written? What was it in response to?
What is it about? What is the
2. Refutation of the Argument
a. This is where you will critique the weaknesses of the
argument: logical fallacies,
lack of evidence, lack of knowledge/credibility, etc. Remember, you
addressing weaknesses for this paper.
a. This is where you provide the counter-position to the
text’s central claim: What is
the opposing viewpoint? What research supports this opposing
is this opposing viewpoint more valid than the text’s
4. Conclusion Reaffirming Your Position
a. Why is it so important to see the opposing side of this
argument? Why is this
topic worthy of such an analysis and critique?