English 121

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Marijuana: Where do you stand?

Introduction: In today’s society, there are many views on the legal status of marijuana. Some people are supporters, others are opposed and there are those who have a neutral view on the issue of marijuana decriminalization and legalization. The following contains a wide range of views, with us living in the United States; we have the right to freedom of speech to express our views and site facts on controversial issues. Thesis: The facts and opinions pertaining to decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana are many and varied, with the facts being the main focus of discussion. Our nation has differing views on the issue and continues to debate, should marijuana be decriminalized, legalized or should the laws of today remain intact. I. The first article “Up in Smoke” Ward (2010) describes the legalization of marijuana and the positive attributes it would provide in regard to the government and individuals with health issues.
A. California was the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana with a
physician’s recommendation.
B. California allows qualified individuals to grow their own marijuana plants for personal use.
C. California allows patients to obtain medical marijuana from licensed growers for
medical use.
II. The supporters of marijuana legalization seem to waning, as evidenced by the failure of Proposition 19.
A. Proposition 19, was recently rejected (2010), which would have allowed a statewide
legalization of marijuana.
B. The states of Oregon and South Dakota also saw a rejection where medical marijuana
initiatives are concerned.
C. In Arizona, the compassionate-use act was being considered, however it lost by a
slim margin.
III. The role of marijuana dispensaries and how they operate.
A. The city of Los Angeles limited the maximum number of dispensaries to seventy.
B. By limiting the number of dispensaries, the government hopes to supervise the distribution of medical marijuana more closely.
C. The city has recently closed down more than 400 dispensaries within a year for violating the city ordinance.
IV. The California state law and what the law entails is detailed and examined.
A. The Compassionate Use Act authorized the medical uses of marijuana in 1996.
B. A medical marijuana identification card is administered through the county department of public health.
C. California’s state law requires doctors to “recommend” the use of marijuana for
medical purposes.
VI. A national view of the legalization of marijuana, through Federal law. A. In Colorado, medical marijuana is sold for profit by businesses, with the Colorado Department of revenue having regulation oversight.

B. In some states qualified individuals can grow their own plants for personal use.
C. The dispensaries must maintain logs of prescriptions, with the information being transmitted
to the Drug Enforcement Administration on a regular basis. II. The second article “Legalization of Marijuana: Potential Impact on Youth” Joffe & Yancy (2004) takes the complete opposite approach, from a negative perspective, describing the hazardous effect the legalization of marijuana could have on our youth. I. A look at the historical perspectives on drug policies in the United States.

A. During the 19th century, opiate drugs were legal and widely available.
B. In the 1960’s, we saw a wave of drug use as enforcement of laws became lax.
C. Today the DEA views the fight against marijuana as being detracted from for the more
important work of combating heroin.
II. U.S. and International experiences with marijuana and legalization and depenalization.
A. As per a study by Johnston et al, there has been no effect of the decriminalization of
marijuana in the...
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