Just Some Bad Logic The Battle For Medical Marijuana in The War on Drugs is an article written by William E. Stempsey debating over why the dispute against the legalization of medical marijuana is just bad logic. The article is clearly for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes and gives several opinions on why opponents of this issue are incorrect with their arguments. Stempsey argues three main points in this article and I feel that all three contain fallacies. I oppose legalization for medicinal uses because I feel that it is just a cover for outright legalization. Many promoters deceitfully claim that their only goal is to help the seriously ill but there are legitimate prescription drugs out there that can already accomplish the same task.

The issues of pain relief and legalization are distinct and separate. The nausea-relieving, appetite-stimulating properties of marijuana can be and is reproduced in pill form. On the other hand, taking those pills may not be as pleasant or as effective to a patient when compared to lighting up a joint. Stempsey claims that marijuana s medicinal effectiveness has been proven by the thousands of patients who have used it illegally. He then asks, Should it matter whether the relief of nausea and pain is the result of some scientifically proven direct chemical action of marijuana or is the result of a marijuana-induced euphoria But then again, why should we subject such people to the more than 400 toxic chemicals found in street "pot" Though the medical profession has not been as responsive as it should have been in relieving pain and other symptoms of those suffering from major diseases, that is no reason to leap to legalization of mind-altering drugs. Stempsey insists, Marijuana has been so effective in many cases that people have been willing to risk imprisonment in order to obtain this relief.

But what about all those hundreds of thousands po smokers out there Are they not willing to risk imprisonment in order to obtain that same relief, or does that just not prove how effective marijuana really is Opponents against legalizing by prescription argue that legalization will without a doubt lead to the extensive use of marijuana recreation ally and make it effortless for the general public to acquire. Stempsey derides this argument by saying, The availability of drugs on the streets is not a function of the availability of prescription drugs. Morphine and other narcotics are available at present only by prescription, and there is no widespread abuse of these drugs. Stempsey doesn t realize though that morphine and these other narcotics can only be acquired through a pharmacy and, unlike marijuana, cannot be grown in one s backyard or smuggled in from, say, Mexico. Marijuana is already so easy to obtain and if it were to be legalized for medicinal purposes, people would not perceive the drug as bad as it is today and therefore its use would further increase. In Stempsey s final point, he argues against the claim that marijuana is a gateway drug, meaning that it opens up a path to more serious drugs, and that children would get the wrong message if medical marijuana were to be legalized.

He gives the statistic that 17 percent of current marijuana users said they had tried cocaine, and only 0. 2 percent of those who had not used marijuana had tried cocaine. I think this statement really does contradict his argument on how it is not a gateway drug because it clearly states that people, who have not used marijuana, have not used cocaine. And frankly, I ask how would legalizing medical marijuana at all decrease the number of people who try cocaine It wouldn t; if anything the number would go up. Concerning the message being sent to children on medical marijuana, Stempsey concurs with the question from a Boston Globe columnist, Ellen Goodman, "What is the infamous signal being sent to [children]... if you hurry up and get cancer, you, too, can get high" If I were a child, I d be thinking, If it s alright for sick people to get high, then what s so bad about it I ll tell you what s bad about it: No drug should ever be used for recreational purposes and by giving in and legalizing medical marijuana, all the time and money spent on trying to control this country s drug problem will go straight down the drain, or shall I say, up in smoke.

Bibliography Stempsey, William E. The Battle For Medical Marijuana in The War on Drugs. America, April 11, 1998: p 14.