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The Logical Fallacies of Marijuana Prohibition: The Ad Hominem Is Nothing Personal



Article by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and author of Tips To Buy High Quality CBD.


In 1973, I was testifying before a committee of the Texas Senate in favor of legalizing marijuana, and a very prohibitionist Senator said, “Won’t you admit that you just like to smoke pot.” 


I responded, “Senator, won’t you admit that you’re just in favor of marijuana prohibition because you like locking up young people?”


Those are both Ad Hominem arguments. “Ad hominem (Latin for 'to the person'), short for argumentum ad hominem, refers to several types of arguments, most of which are fallacious. Typically this term refers to a rhetorical strategy where the speaker attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person making an argument rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.”


The Senator stormed out of the room, but fifty years later the prohibitionists are still playing the same game.


See Marijuana Prohibition, The Constitutional Crisis And The Assault On Democracy


Today, the leading prohibitionist propaganda organization focused on marijuana is 

Project Sam (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Their version of the Ad Hominem argument is that the movement for legalization is just about getting rich, like Big Tobacco or Big Alcohol. However, today’s poisonous politics was long foreshadowed by the prohibitionist attacks on the motives of marijuana reformers. 


Even today, we are accused of wanting to hurt the African American community by legalizing marijuana. 




And Connecticut Clergy Speak Out Against Marijuana Legalization


Think about that for a moment. These African American “leaders” are saying that if the white majority allowed black people the same freedom that we want for ourselves, they will destroy themselves…. with marijuana. That is an argument that one might hear from the Klan. BUT NOT FROM ME!


In fairness to the Reefer Madness crowd, I have to admit that I have also been targeted by the “Leftwing” of the marijuana reform movement. They oppose marijuana prohibition, but are anti-capitalist, and think marijuana should not be “commercialized.” It should be free, man. “Free the Weed” is a great slogan, but bad economics.


Yes, I am an unapologetic Capitalist. At this point, I’m not sure whether I am an idealist or a cynic, but we might all do better to worry about our own motives and not others’. In our present poisonous political environment, can’t we all just get a bong?



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