I would like to point out several weak arguments made in Norm Jackson’s commentary, “Legalizing marijuana makes no sense” (June 17). Jackson begins the piece citing several reasons that are often presented to support the legalization of marijuana. His first weak response to them is an appeal to statistical data, in which he states “if people did not drink alcohol, [then] there would be a 74 percent decrease in liver cirrhosis.” This is a weak argument because it is based on statistical data, and does not take into account other variables. He then goes on to compare marijuana to alcohol, and claims that marijuana is “another addictive drug.” Nowhere does he cite evidence that marijuana is physically or psychologically addictive, of which there is little to none.
He then states that “pot has been responsible for many highway deaths” and cites a report that 600,000 high school seniors drove under the influence of marijuana. Nowhere does he cite numbers of highway deaths directly related to marijuana use. He goes on to present what is in my opinion the weakest argument in the whole article. Restated, it says: A man committed murder while under the influence of marijuana and Robitussin. Therefore, legalizing pot will lead to more deaths and burdens for society. This a classic example of a “false cause” argument, in that marijuana is implied as the main motivator for the murderer’s act, and a motivator for others to commit similar acts.
The fact that he (the murderer) was also under the influence of Robitussin, a legally obtainable, addictive, and strongly psychoactive substance is ignored, as well as the possibility the murderer was most likely mentally unstable.
His commentary reads like a textbook example of weak inductive arguments. I am surprised a former Cal Poly professor would present such blatantly poor reasoning.