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The debate on making Marijuana legal - the fight has begun

Angela Nelson
Steven Beech
Eng 102

Research on Marijuana Legalization

In today's world, the debate over legalizing marijuana is becoming more controversial. With many states now adopting to legalize marijuana, the fight has begun. Legalizing marijuana has America discussing the issues that states are facing such as production, profit motives, prevention, promotion, potency, and price of legalizing marijuana. Marijuana also known as cannabis is considered a psychoactive drug. It is used recreationally, medicinally, and for spiritual reasons. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States. In 2013, between 128 and 232 million people used cannabis (2.7% to 4.9% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 65). In 2015, 43% of Americans had used cannabis which increased to 51% in 2016. About 12% have used it in the past year, and 7.3% have used it in the past month. This makes it the most commonly used illegal drug both in the world and the United States. "In October 2015, Gallup reported that 58 percent of Americans favored the legalization of marijuana - tying 2013 for the highest acceptance rate recorded in the 46 years that the international pollster has conducted marijuana surveys. That acceptance rate, which was 12 percent in 1969 and a little more than 30 percent in 2000, accelerated after Colorado and Washington voted in 2012 to legalize marijuana for adult use. In March 2016, an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 61 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization. The majority of those people surveyed leaned more in favor of legalizing medical marijuana than recreational uses."(The Canabist) Why is this increase happening? Is it because people are using marijuana more medicinally or are there just more people using recreationally? There is a large debate going on in our country over marijuana. Should marijuana be legalized? What are the pros and cons of using marijuana recreationally and medicinally? How are states going to regulate the legalization? These are all questions that need to be answered when considering legalization.

Eight states have legalized recreational marijuana. Medicinal marijuana is now legal in 28 states with the passing of a medical marijuana law this past November. There are two active chemicals in marijuana that researchers think have medicinal properties. Those are cannabidiol also known as (CBD) it is said to impact the brain without getting the individual high. Tetrahydrocannabinol also known as (THC) is known as having pain relieving properties. CBD, when used with chemotherapy, can help make chemotherapy more effective and increase cancer cell death without adversely impacting normal or healthy cells. Marijuana has also been known to help stop epileptic seizures, treat glaucoma, slow the progression of Alzheimer's, decreases anxiety, and help with many more medical alignments. "Currently only 6% of studies on marijuana analyze its medicinal properties. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I substance by the federal government, meaning according to the government, it has no medical value." (Business Journel) Making it hard for scientists to study potential medical uses.

When legalizing marijuana, the government will have to decide who will be able to produce the product. Will it be only state-run or will it be able to be cultivated by farmers or companies? The government will need to decide how to grow operations will be regulated if grown by enterprises and farmers. This could lead to productions cost being determined by the producers. Leading to marijuana becoming dramatically cheaper. The reasoning behind this is due to the producers not having to grow illegally anymore. Then the marijuana supplier's jobs will diminish because it can now be bought in a store. In California, an individual can grow up to 6 plants per parcel of land for personal use. In Alaska, they have a marijuana control board. This is state run by the Department of Commerce. The Marijuana Control Board is a quasi-judicial agency that regulates of the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of marijuana in the state. This is a state by state problem that individually each state will have to figure out.

In legalizing marijuana, there will be some profit motive involved. Who will benefit from legal marijuana? In Ohio, 20 investors paid to get a legalization measure on the ballot, if the bill had passed the 20 investors would have controlled Ohio's marijuana industry. This was considered an abuse of the citizens' initiative process and it did not pass. This is an example of the type of control people can have on the marijuana industry. The state legalizing the marijuana will profit from marijuana sales as well. In Aurora Colorado the money made from marijuana sales goes to helping end homelessness. Private companies would like to get in on the marijuana craze as well. If marijuana does become legal private marijuana companies will have to think of incentives for the marijuana users. Marijuana companies could look toward the Tobacco and Alcohol industries and take some guidance on how to profit from marijuana sales. Companies will have to get creative when it comes to making products out of cannabis. Marijuana companies can make products to include flours, editable, butters, oils, and more.

How will the promotion of marijuana play into the battle of legalizing marijuana? Marijuana could become controlled like the lottery system. Will they try regulating the counter advertisements on marijuana? The commercial free speech could make it difficult for the state to regulate the promoting of legal marijuana. There are companies currently put in place to help with regulations of marijuana advertising and marketing laws. Cannabrand is a cannabis company dedicated to the marketing of marijuana products and services. They help other companies make their brand recognizable. There could be specific limitations on how to promote and where you can support cannabis. Advertising regulations can become strict. Many marketing programs will limit or ban marijuana advertisements due to marijuana's federal status. In Oregon, their advertising law states that their entry signage needs to be posted on the exterior of the dispensary in a visible location that can be easily seen by the public from the outside. This is to happen on every public entry. The sign must include 80 point font in bold and in Times New Roman. If the dispensary is only medical marijuana, then they need a sign posted "Medical Marijuana Patients Only." If the marijuana dispensary had properly filed to sell limited retail products, then it needs to have signage that states. "Medical Marijuana Patients and Persons 21 and Older Permitted" and "NO PERSON UNDER 21 PERMITTED ON THE PREMISES WITHOUT AN OMMP CARD." Oregon also has a point of sale signage law. It states that a dispensary that is properly conducting retail sales will have to post signs at the point of sale. These signs are Pregnancy Warning Posters, Poisoning Prevention Poster, and a color copy of the Educate Before You Recreate" poster. So the state legalizing the marijuana will have to take into consideration the advertising laws as well.

Marijuana is legal for adults 21 and over in some states but when it comes to children and preventing them from trying or buying is going to be a large part of the debate when considering legalizing marijuana. "The national Monitoring the Future study has consistently shown that roughly 80% of 12th graders, 70% of 10th graders, and 40% of 8th graders in the United States report that marijuana is either "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain."(APHA) Some say marijuana should be regulated the same as alcohol, that there should be age limits with licensing controls and other regulating measures. Will schools and communities put in prevention plans in place? Schools will need to put provide information on the education of drugs. Schools should put in Interactive activities for the children. This can include discussions, group learning sessions, family involvement, and peer leader programs. Most communities have programs in place for drugs. These are programs that are set in place that provide services at the state, community, school, family, and individual levels to support an in-depth approach to preventing and reducing marijuana use.

There is a debate going on right now that in legalizing marijuana law enforcement will have more time to investigate more serious crimes. There are more arrests made for possession of marijuana then there are violent crimes combined each year. These violent crimes consist of rape, assault, robbery, and murder. More than 700.000 people are arrested each year for marijuana. Eliminating this alone would free up a considerable amount of time for the police to focus on more important crimes be committed.

Limiting potency of the marijuana is up for debate when considering legalizing marijuana. The potency of marijuana is measured by its Tetrahydrocannabinol also known as THC. This is a chemical -compound known for making a person high. Levels of THC has risen 7-15 times in the last few decades. The new hydroponic pot is a whole lot stronger than your average pot grown 10-20 years ago by hippie growers. Marijuana currently sold in medical dispensaries is from 10%-25%. Most marijuana that comes from Mexico is only 6%. This country is only in the beginning stages of the new high potency pot growing. If this is to be legalized what will regulations be on potency? Legalizing marijuana would allow more scientific study on potency of marijuana and the effects it would have across the board.

Legalization of marijuana has consumers wondering about price. Marijuana on streets roughly goes for $50 an eighth, and an eighth of marijuana weighs 3.5 grams. Suppliers get for the risk. So if marijuana becomes legal and the risks go down, some say marijuana prices should decrease. Prices of marijuana could fluctuate based on consumer demands. If marijuana becomes legal than marijuana use could go up. When marijuana became legal in Colorado, the dispensaries became greedy and started charging customers $70-$80 and eighth. Consumers did not like that, so they have begun to buy from illegal pot dealers. Dispensaries began to notice that sales were not as high as they had hoped and lowered their prices to match street prices. Taxing marijuana will also come into play when deciding on legalizing marijuana. "Federal and state governments have several options for taxes on a legal marijuana industry. A federal excise tax on marijuana similar to that of cigarettes, approximately $23 per pound of product, would raise approximately $500 million in additional revenue. A 10 percent sales surtax, similar in nature to those adopted recently by Colorado and other states and proposed in recent legislation by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, would raise approximately $5.3 billion in additional revenue; higher excise tax rates would raise proportionately more."(Tax Foundation)

Marijuana remains a federal offense but is not entirely enforced at the state level. The federal government so far has not disputed or challenged the state laws legalizing retail marijuana. States are to maintain very strict guidelines on sales and distribution. If marijuana is legalized governments at every level (state, federal, and local) shall have to develop, adopt, monitor, and evaluate methods to control marijuana sales, production, and use, while they are working on preventing access to the drug by minors and inform the consumer of the product. Included in the strict guidelines are taxes, considering age limits such at 21 and up are legally able to purchase marijuana, product labeling requirements, proper quality testing of goods, potency limitations, labeling requirements of the products, driving restrictions, and advertising restrictions.

In conclusion legalizing marijuana is a controversial topic. The debate will never go away as long as marijuana is illegal. For some medical marijuana should be legal and recreational marijuana should stay illegal. There are many factors that go into the debate of legal marijuana that will have to be ironed out. The future of America is in the people hands. In many states, those people have spoke and legalized marijuana, and those people believed that marijuana is beneficial. The states that have not yet legalized marijuana, when the time comes, and the measure is on the ballot; the states will have to figure out all the logistics that go along with it.

Dec 10, 2016   #2
Angela, you need to fix the presentation of your thesis statement / statement of the problem in your first paragraph. It is really going around in circles, saying the same thing about the debate regarding marijuana for about 3 sentences when it can be said in one. Also, you should have presented the debate question alone instead of first presenting information in the opening salvo of your debate paper. So the correct first paragraph should, in my opinion, go something like this:

In today's world, the debate... Legalizing marijuana has ... Why is this increase happening? ... using recreationally? There is a large debate g...when considering legalization.

That is the simple opening statement that will immediate present the overview and thesis discussion for your debate paper. Both sides are properly represented and the questions that you hope your paper will provide a response to is also shown as a part of the flow of the succeeding discussions in your paper. Remember to present your personal opinion at the end of the thesis statement since this is a debate paper and hence, your personal opinion will be an integral part of the discussion.

From that point, you should decide which side to argue for first. Will it be the pro or the con? In my opinion, you should first argue the side that you do not support. That way you can present a weak discussion for it which can easily be beaten by your supporting discussion. Do not forget to present your own personal opinion on this debate topic in the later part of your debate. This should be part of the presentation leading up to your concluding paragraph. Again, your opinion should be separate from your conclusion.

You can still use almost all of the information that you have presented in your paper. Just pick the strongest supporting facts for each side and present it in the discussion. One or two strong evidence for each should be enough to cover the debate topic. How many pages are you being asked to write for this paper? The content and length of your evidence will depend upon the word count requirements of your paper as well.
There are a lot of simple sentences that could be combined, as well as transitional words or lists that don't have commas. Try including more sources and examples, such as which cultures or religions use marijuana, or which specific illnesses it is used to treat along with some examples and testimonies. Another tip would be to compare testimonies from states that have legalized marijuana with states who haven't, compare crime rates and how the additional tax money was used, maybe even general happiness levels (of course comparing the research from legalized states with their data from before marijuana was legalized.

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