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 public domain.
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 Policy).
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.
How 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 claim?
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 opposing view?
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 are only
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 viewpoint? Why
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?