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The use of cannabis in the United States is rising - public perception of legal weed. English 102.


Need Peer Review For English 102 Research Paper Rough Draft - Legal Cannabis

Legal Cannabis



By: Spencer T. Kauffman

Spencer Kauffman
Professor Susan Rockwell
Eng 102 - First-Year Composition - Class # 15692
7 September 2016

The use of cannabis in the United States is rising, and public perception of the legal use of cannabis is changing. There are many people in the United States who are affected indirectly from the use of cannabis, and many people who are directly affected (whether it be themselves or family members). The United States government has not lifted cannabis from its current state as a "controlled substance" in many years. With the use of cannabis increasing, and the public perception of the use of cannabis changing in favor of legalization, we can see in the near future large changes in the relation to cannabis use by individuals. The use of cannabis is benefitting many people in the United States, including minorities, elderly, and many people who feel relief from health problems they may endure. The use of cannabis is detrimental to the pharmaceutical industry, people using heavy machinery may be more prone to accidents, and smoking it can increase the risk of health problems in some people.

Cannabis effects minorities negatively more so than it does non-minorities. In 2010, blacks were four times more likely to be arrested than whites (Merino, "Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Not Just Decriminalized"). The legalization of cannabis would eliminate the arrests of black people due to the use of cannabis. That said, someone who uses cannabis must act accordingly with state and federal laws pertaining to its usage. Some people think that black people are arrested more than others because of the fact that cannabis has not yet been legalized. There are a lot of people who do not use cannabis, who are black, who are still negatively affected by the use of cannabis.

Some people argue that as a preventative measure to reduce further arrests of minors, the legalization of cannabis can actually increase arrests of individuals due to the regulations and enforcement brought along with full decriminalization. Under decriminalization, arrests for the usage of cannabis may continue, or even increase, because police may be more inclined to make arrests with less paperwork involved (Merino, Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Not Just Decriminalized). There are multiple different factors involving the legalization of cannabis, and many people, in fact, do not believe that arrests will go up because of the evidence shown in recent years from states who have legalized its usage. "Evidence from states and countries that have reduced penalties not only shows no increase in marijuana or other drug use, but also substantial reductions in misdemeanor arrests where decriminalization has been implemented effectively. (Merino, Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Not Just Decriminalized)." It is going to be difficult to measure the effects of cannabis usage with statistics involving data that is taken from police forces or areas that have any type of bias towards minorities. A bias toward minorities may actually create more arrests in the future with legalization, and areas where there is no bias should most likely see a decrease in overall arrests due to misuse of cannabis in minorities and the general public as well. Some states, such as California, have shown that the arrests will decline with the legalization of cannabis, leading to believe that an over 80 percent decline in arrests may actually be achievable in other states as well (Merino, Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Not Just Decriminalized). To measure these statistics on a national level would require years of studies conducted in and around states that legalize cannabis, over a given amount of time that is larger than the time states have had since their legalization currently available for us to research.

Without proper utilization of law enforcement, codes and infractions, the legalization of cannabis can actually increase the number of people who are incarcerated for cannabis related arrests, albeit it is for their direct refusal or incapability to pay the fine (Merino, Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Not Just Decriminalized). As an individual of society, we strive to create new opportunities and find jobs that can support our families. We cannot work at establishments that refuse to hire someone with an infraction on their record, and therefore an increase in arrests from the misuse of cannabis could be detrimental to society. "A similar process of "net widening" occurred in parts of Australia that decriminalized marijuana, where the number of people arrested (but not booked) actually increased. (Merino, Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Not Just Decriminalized)." If the United States were to decriminalize cannabis, and make its use legal under certain restrictions, it could benefit our general population as a whole. If the United States does this, and does not enforce it efficiently, it could be detrimental to the general population.

There is an underground market worth billions of dollars (over $30 billion) for cannabis, and the legalization in the United States would not guarantee we could stop it. (Merino, Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Not Just Decriminalized). This market in untaxed, and this is a source of revenue much needed for our state and federal governments. To benefit the public of the United States, the legalization of cannabis would need correct implementation involving laws, restrictions, and regulations. With the legalization of cannabis, the United States would need to create an environment that is suitable for usage, while eliminating the need for people to use a black market outlet for the purchase of cannabis.

There are many individuals in the United States who could benefit from the legalization of cannabis. Should the government regulate cannabis as a medical item, which can be used for medical purposes only? The benefits from using cannabis as a medical product can allow patients to get back to their everyday lives, and continue to be productive members of society. Fourteen states, mostly in the West, have enacted laws allowing the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and many thousands of patients are seeking relief from a variety of illnesses by smoking cannabis or using other cannabis preparations (Clark, Public Health in the 21st Century: Cannabis Sativa for Health and Hemp). We have data that shows the benefits individuals are experiencing from the use of cannabis, and taking away the product that assists them in maintaining themselves as productive members of society would be of negative impact to our nation as a whole. Greater research must be conducted when relating to the health benefits of cannabis, but the positive impact that is has had on the individuals who are directly or indirectly affected shows through this data.

The government is slowly acting towards assisting patients who benefit from the use of cannabis, showing signs of its benefit to the health of the general public in need. "The Obama Administration Department of Justice, in October 2009, announced an end to federal raids by the Drug Enforcement Administration of medical marijuana dispensaries that are operating in 'clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws.' (Clark, Public Health in the 21st Century: Cannabis Sativa for Health and Hemp). The perception of the use of cannabis for medical purposes has changed in recent years, and shows more hope in the future for anyone who may be affected. Our government is taking steps towards eliminating arrests of people who are compliant with state laws, even though it is still federally illegal. Trends in the public perception of the usage of cannabis for medical reasons are showing that there is more and more people who agree that it can benefit people who experience health problems and who use it correctly (not abusing).

More information is needed when considering if the use of cannabis is beneficial or not to the general public as a whole. There are only a few states that have attempted (whether successfully or not) to legalize the use of cannabis completely for people over the age of 21. The states that have legalized the use of cannabis have not had more than a few years to see its impact on the general public living in their states and the border states around them. After years of studies, we will truly know the impact that the use of cannabis has on our society as a whole. Once there is more information released about the impact the legalization of cannabis has had, other states will have a clear view on the impact that legalizing it will have. States who do not currently feel they have enough information about the impact legalizing cannabis has on the general public will be able to follow other states, if they feel it is necessary.

Are minors effected negatively by the legalization of cannabis, and would their usage change when the laws are applied? Many people are concerned about the usage of cannabis in people who are under the age of 21. Some believe that cannabis is a "gateway" drug, and with the legalization of cannabis, more minors would become drug addicts once they reach, or before, reaching adulthood. The government has expresses the concern for the youth and their usage of cannabis in their 8 priorities in enforcing the CSA against cannabis related conduct (Derickson, Marijuana Legalization: State Initiatives, Implications, and Issues). One of the government's 8 priorities, Derickson states, is: "Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors." (Marijuana Legalization: State Initiatives, Implications, and Issues). This outlook is necessary to prevent increases usage among our youth, and laws and regulations will need to be applied effectively to prevent an increase of illegal usage.

Legalizing cannabis requires many news laws and coordination, from local, state and federal governments. When considering the effects legalization of cannabis has on the community, we must consider the fact that many states still have differing opinions on whether they think it is beneficial or not. Laws that are set by the federal government must coincide with that laws that states currently have, and some people believe that this could cause a negative impact on the relationships between the two. In Derickson's data, he states, "Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that the operation of these collaborative bodies will be impacted by the current state-level marijuana decriminalization or legalization initiatives." Derickson's findings prove that we should not see any negative impact concerning relations between our federal, local, and state governments regarding this issue of legalizing cannabis.

Large scale trafficking is an issue that will not simply go away if the United States decides to legalize cannabis on a national level. The number of criminals who benefit from the sales of illegal drugs - including cannabis - is very large. There are many circumstances that legalizing cannabis entails, including the question of whether or not the illegal drug market will be effected at all. We must first consider the facts that we do not know, including: "(1) actual proceeds generated by the sale of illicit drugs in the United States, (2) the proportion of total proceeds attributable to the sale of marijuana, and (3) the proportion of marijuana sales controlled by criminal organizations and affiliated gangs, any estimates of how marijuana legalization might impact the drug trafficking organizations are purely speculative (Derickson, Marijuana Legalization: State Initiatives, Implications, and Issues)." Once United States finds the data from these circumstances, the nation will be able to decide if the impact will be detrimental or beneficial when concerning the legalization of cannabis.

Cannabis, under federal law, is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (Derickson, Marijuana Legalization: State Initiatives, Implications, and Issues). The federal government has not decided itself that cannabis should be moved, removed, or changed, leading the public to belief that there is data they have that shows its negative impact. The debate over whether or not cannabis should be declassified has continued for many years. The question of whether or not the United States should legalize cannabis has a history in our country of heated debate, and even prior to the 1970 move to criminalize the manufacture, distribution, dispensation, and possession of cannabis, there were significant discussions over cannabis's place in American Society (Derickson, Marijuana Legalization: State Initiatives, Implications, and Issues). The United States must construct a standing that is backed by data and results from states who are currently allowing the use of cannabis to recognize the substance as the public perception views it.

The legalization of cannabis in the United States would be of beneficial impact to the agricultural community. There are many uses other than smoking, or ingesting cannabis. "Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products (Clark, Cannabis Sativa for Health and Hemp)." Cannabis not only can be used for medical purposes, but for many items that we can use on a daily basis. There are multiple different ways to cultivate the use of cannabis, including the use in fabrics and textiles, yarns and raw or processed spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, and composites (Clark, Cannabis Sativa for Health and Hemp.) Aside from ingestion, cannabis can be used for body care products and personal care items. If the United States decides to legalize cannabis completely, it will have a large market in which to profit from the sales and distribution of cannabis.

Cannabis, if legalized, would aid farmers financially who are located in areas where cannabis cultivation is possible. Although accurate data is not yet available, "the current industry estimates repot that U.S. retail sales of all hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year. The U.S. currently relies on imports because there is no commercial industrial hemp production in the United States (Clark, Cannabis Sativa for Health and Hemp. The United States currently receives many of its goods from outside countries, and the general population would benefit from more products grown on their own land. The U.S. is in a stage where it must create more products for exporting purposes, and the legalization of cannabis is a profitable opportunity for the United States. All cannabis varieties are still considered by the federal government to be a schedule 1 substance, making it illegal to grow without a DEA permit (Clark, Cannabis Sativa for Health and Hemp). If it were legalized, cannabis could create an industry in the United States that could potentially benefit users, growers, and distributors of the product. First, the government must reallocate the stance it currently has on cannabis use, and it must be legal for farmers to cultivate its product. The nation will be profiting more on its own products, rather than relying on more and more imported goods, which will be beneficial to the economy if it decides to legalize cannabis. The United States currently has a very large demand for the use of cannabis products. Although cannabis is illegal to grow within the United States without a DEA permit, products are imported and sold for use in manufacturing for a wide range of product categories (Clark, Cannabis Sativa for Health and Hemp.) If cannabis were legalized, the general public would most likely benefit because of the lower number of imported good the United States receives. The United States is in need of more goods grown on its land, and the legalization of cannabis would create a new industry available for commercial farmers to join and profit from.

The use of cannabis is benefitting a large number of the United States' population, and effecting very few negatively in comparison. The use of cannabis legally benefits minorities, elderly, and many people who feel relief from health problems. Cannabis can be a profitable venture for any farmer who lives in an area that allows the possibility of the cultivation of cannabis. Cannabis can become a large income resource for people who are involved in the sales, distribution, or cultivation of the plant. Cannabis use is detrimental to people who use it while operating heavy machinery, people who have negative health effects from its use, and the pharmaceutical industry. Although its use can be beneficial, the use of cannabis is not recommended while under the operation of heavy machinery. Smoking cannabis can result in negative effects when abused, or used incorrectly. The pharmaceutical industry will be negatively impacted when people switch from their products to cannabis for relief of their health problems. The individual states, local governments and federal governments must interact with each other, completing case studies and collecting more data resulting from the individual states that have currently allowed for the public use of cannabis.

We have seen the impact use of cannabis has had on small populations, and the positive and negative effects on individuals from many different states. Although we are receiving more and more data and studies from the states that have legalized the usage of cannabis, there is more information needed to decide whether or not cannabis will be detrimental to the overall population, or beneficial. The United States must wait until the legalization attempts are studied, data is collected, and more time has passed to make a judgement on the benefits and detriments that result from the legalization of cannabis. Although the public perception is changing in favor of the legalization of cannabis, we need more time to make a decision on whether or not it should be legalized nationally, and on what level. The individual states, local governments and federal governments must interact with each other, completing case studies and collecting more data resulting from the individual states that have currently allowed for the public use of cannabis.

Works Cited

Bond, Shannon. "From legalise to monetise." Financial Times 22 Apr. 2015: 12. Academic OneFile. Web.

Clark, Ethan L. Public Health in the 21st Century: Cannabis Sativa for Health and Hemp. N.p.: Nova Science, 2011. Web.
Derrickson, Jason. Marijuana Legalization: State Initiatives, Implications, and Issues. N.p.: Nova Science, 2014. Web.
Hawken, A. and Kulick, J. (2014), Treaties (probably) not an impediment to 'legal' cannabis in Washington and Colorado. Addiction, 109: 355-356. doi:10.1111/add.12454

Drug Policy Alliance. "Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Not Just Decriminalized." Drug Legalization.0 Ed. Noël Merino. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2015. Current Controversies. Rpt. from "Why is Marijuana Decriminalization Not Enough?" Vol. 1. 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web.

Newman, Alex. "Two States Defy Feds with Full Marijuana Legalization." Thenewamerican.com. 2012. Rpt. in The Legalization of Marijuana. Ed. Noël Merino. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web.

Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Research Supports Continued Prohibition of Marijuana." The Legalization of Marijuana. Ed. Noël Merino.

Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Marijuana." 2010. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web.

Pacula, Rosalie, and Beau Kilmer. "Legalizing Cannabis Is More than Just a Yes or No Decision." The Legalization of Marijuana. Ed. Noël Merino.
Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Legalising Cannabis Is More than Just a Yes or No Decision." Theconversation.com. 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context.

Room, Robin. Cannabis Policy : Moving Beyond Stalemate. Oxford [England]: OUP Oxford, 2010. eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost). Web.

"Study Reveals Increasing Prevalence of Marijuana Use among US Adults."News-Medical.net. AZoM.com, 02 Sept. 2016. Web.

Hi, I think your writing quality is pretty good, but this essay is very hard to follow. For one thing, your thesis statement is a little confusing. I am not exactly sure what you are trying to argue. And your paragraphs seem like stand-alone statements. They are not really connected in any way to each other. I would recommend using transition statements to guide the reader through your arguments. Why are you talking about medical uses now? Now why did you switch to talking about farmers. You need to give the reader a better sense of how all these ideas are connected and work together.


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