When you catch someone in a deliberate lie, don’t you distrust the rest of their message?
Opponents of the marijuana decriminalization movement are fond of using straw man arguments. These deliberate mischaracterizations tend to fall into two broad categories: (1) "They just want to smoke dope", and (2) "They want your children to become addicts/dope fiends".
While I’m sure there are casual marijuana users who support legalization, the first argument ignores all the economic, social and moral reasons we should have a more sensible drug policy.
Jordan Smith’s Weed Watch column in this week’s Austin Chronicle highlights an example of the second type of straw man argument. Here is the entire text of the question being submitted to Colorado voters:
Shall there be an amendment to 18-18-406 (1) of the Colorado Revised Statutes making legal the possession of one ounce or less of marihuana for any person twenty-one years of age or older?
However, opponents of Amendment 44 have managed to write the language of Colorado’s voter-education pamphlet to "explain" that the amendment would allow adults to give marijuana to teenagers. Go ahead… re-read the text of the amendment. Now ask yourself this:
If propronents of continuing the criminalization of marijuana were being honest, would they have to resort to such tactics?