Legalize Marijuana


The legalization of marijuana is a very large and current debate in the United States.  Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. have already legalized medical use of marijuana, and Washington and Colorado have gone a step further and legalized regulated recreational use.  The purpose of this paper is to persuade voters to push the federal government to legalize marijuana, at least for medical use.


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WP Proposal 3- Gov


I originally thought that I wanted to write my White Paper on something regarding the environment since that is a strong interest of mine.  My past two proposals were on the topic of coal mining and coal-fired power plants, but after doing some initial research I decided that I chose that topic because it seemed safe.  On top of that, it seems pretty boring as well!  I have decided to change my topic to the legalization of marijuana since I wrote a blog post on the topic and enjoyed learning about it.

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White Paper Proposal #2- Government

So based on my last proposal, I am going to pick a problem to address:

Conflicting state and federal law on marijuana.

I think this is particularly relevant because of the most recent election, where both Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana.

I have found two sources for this proposal- one is a CNN report published after marijuana was legalized for recreational use, and the other is an article from the White House.  I found both of these sources on Google and I believe that they are legitimate sources.

Voters have approved marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado, where this smoker celebrated the “420” holiday in Denver earlier this year. But it’s still illegal, according to the feds.

“The significance of these events cannot be understated,” said NORML, a pro-legalization organization, in a news release. “Tonight, for the first time in history, two states have legalized and regulated the adult use and sale of cannabis.”

Although it is legal in two states, it is still illegal on the federal level, which trumps state laws.  In fact, the DEA reiterated that marijuana is still an illegal drug and using, possessing, and selling is breaking the law.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” the DEA said in a press statement. “In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I control[ed] substance. The Department of Justice is reviewing the ballot initiatives and we have no additional comment at this time.”

According to the Feds, as a Schedule I drug, marijuana is classified under the following criteria:

A. The drug has a high potential for abuse.
B. The drug has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States
C. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.

Relating this back to my last blog post with the images from the prohibition, I find it extremely interesting that the reasons above are the reasons why marijuana remains illegal on a federal level.  For example, how are these three points any different than alcohol.  If anything, alcohol falls into this category more than most drugs, especially marijuana.  In fact, when broken down to its chemical compound, alcohol is by far the most dangerous drug, even more so than hard drugs.  I find it very interesting that alcohol is the governments drug of choice.

So back to the problem, to solve the conflict between state and federal laws, I think that marijuana should be legalized, and also heavily regulated, on a federal level.  It should be regulated just like alcohol, with a strict drinking age and penalties for those who break the laws or drive under the influence.

White Paper Proposal #1- Economics

For my White Paper, I want to explore the topic of the legalization of marijuana on a federal level.  I will examine this topic from a economical, governmental, and societal perspective.  Currently 14 states have decriminalized marijuana, and as of 2012 eight more states are also considering removing their strict marijuana regulations.  As of now, the intended audience for my White Paper is the United States Government. Continue reading