Mineta, David. “Decriminalization Would Increase the Use and the Economic and Social Costs of Drugs.”Americas Quarterly. Americas Society, Fall 2010. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.
David Mineta is Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In his article, Mineta argues that decriminalization of marijuana would increase use, along with the associated health and social costs. Mineta begins his argument by addressing that decriminalization will not solve the budget crisis, reduce prison overcrowding, or cripple drug cartels and that these claims are not supported by evidence. Mineta goes on to compare two legal substances, alcohol and tobacco, that have been used more widespread due to them being legal. According to Mineta, “alcohol and tobacco cause hundreds of thousands more deaths per year than all illegal drugs combined”. Mineta points out that marijuana is less accepted and less widely used mostly because it is illegal. Mineta continues his argument by claiming that decriminalization will increase addiction. Legal drugs are cheap and easy to obtain. High profits would make the addiction business lucrative, Mineta states. Mineta concludes his article by reiterating that the increased use that decriminalization would bring increased addiction and costs.
Although I agree that Mineta offered some convincing evidence using statistical sources, his argument is faulty. Mineta misrepresents those who are in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana by claiming that their arguments are usually just a rhetorical and political tool to advocate the legalization of marijuana. Instead of addressing his opponent’s actual position, Mineta invents their argument for decriminalization and then tears it down with his reasons in order to make the opposing position appear false or ridiculous. For this reason, I consider this example a straw person fallacy and an intellectually dishonest strategy because Mineta simply ignores those in support of decriminalization and substitutes it for a distorted, exaggerated version. Mineta criticizes those in favor of decriminalizing minor marijuana offenses by stating that their reasons are simply just a tool in an effort to encourage the actual legalization of marijuana.
Overall, the way Mineta approaches this argument in a way that could be ineffective to his audience. Mineta seems like a credible source because of his position as a Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, but his straw person fallacy questions this credibility and hinders his argument as a whole.