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Marijuana Essays: Everything You Need to Know

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Marijuana Legalization Protests on Trump’s Inauguration

Why i changed my mind on weed, the consequences of legalizing marijuana.

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What Is a Marijuana Essay

Let us start with the marijuana essay definition. What do we mean by this article? What should it look like?

Considering the name, this topic is rather understandable. It is usually a five-paragraph article that discusses medical uses, advantages or disadvantages, or other points concerning cannabis. This topic is rather controversial. So, you can choose your own perspective. Depending on what perspective you choose, make sure that you have scholarly articles and statistics to prove your point.

As it is an academic medicine essay , any student probably knows that the minimum length for such a paper is five paragraphs. Therefore, you have one paragraph of introduction, three paragraphs of the main body, and one of conclusion.

Marijuana Essay Examples Making Your Writing Stand Out

Here you can definitely find an excellent example of marijuana essay in pdf. However, we’re not here only for samples. We also have several tips that will be useful for you without further ado.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how any student can write a medicinal marijuana essay.

  • Check samples that a student can find here.
  • Choose an appropriate topic. It should be narrow enough to discuss using students’ word count.
  • Do proper research. Use only academic materials and resources.
  • Create an outline.
  • Start drafting, preferably from a thesis and the main body.
  • Later you can finish your introduction and conclusion as they are very similar.
  • Edit and proofread your article about cannabis!

As you can see, these steps are very easy and anyone can write a successful academic essay about this topic. But, please, don’t skip the steps of creating an outline and proofreading. They are crucial for the quality of the students’ work. Need some inspiration? Browse different examples we have on our platform, such as drugs essay or drinking and driving essay .

Medical Marijuana Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay on medical marijuana is the first type of article that we can discuss with you. You probably know how to write argumentative papers by now. Therefore, we will focus more on the topic itself. 

For instance, our argumentative essay about medical marijuana can discuss its legalization.

So our main argument is that cannabis can be legalized, especially for medical reasons. To develop a believable argument, you definitely must provide evidence.

Evidence can be taken from academic journals, newspapers, governmental websites, and other scholarly sources. Even if you’re sure that your argument is great, you should use evidence anyway. It will help you to prove it to your readers. Browse any example of argumentative essay to get some inspiration.

Medical Marijuana Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays on marijuana are the next type that you can definitely consider. As it is a controversial topic and many have mixed thoughts on it, you can work on persuading the audience. For instance, cannabis should be banned. 

Once more, there are those who are for legalization and those against it. Try considering both opinions and persuading people that your point of view is correct. Many students use evidence and statistics for persuasion. Do not forget that persuasive essay marijuana requires persuasive language. Even though it should be academic and professionally written, it should never be dry.

It is challenging to get the tone, academic voice, and persuasive essay format properly. So, students reach for our samples that were donated by other students.

Marijuana Essay Outline

Apart from samples, we also want to give you an outline for essay on medical marijuana . It is always good to remember that an outline is not an essay. So all evidence or information you use must be shortened. Moreover, students definitely include their thesis statements here. 

Example of marijuana essay outline


  • Include statistics on how many people have prescriptions for medical cannabis.
  • Mention that legalization is very popular now and not only in the United States.
  • Thesis: Legal cannabis helps greatly with pain, yet might have several negative effects.
  • What countries continue legalizing hemp.
  • Uses of hemp for medical purposes.
  • Possible negative effects of hemp on the human body.
  • Even though there are several negative effects of hemp, a lot of countries vote for its legalization.
  • Summarize a topic and close with a final statement.

Students should definitely create their own outlines because it will save them lots of time during writing. It also makes an overall article possess a better quality. 

Marijuana Essay Introduction

The introduction for marijuana essay is the first thing that readers see. However, we do recommend students write an introduction after an outline. Before, prepare a draft of the main body as well. Introduction was proven to be more clear and concise after students already have other parts, except for conclusion. 

Introduction normally consists of a hook, background, and thesis statement. These are crucial elements to any introduction. As we are talking about a specific topic,  students can mention general statistics in their introduction. Say how many people use medical cannabis there. Later they can talk about the origin of this herb and present their main argument.

As you will see from our donated samples, our introduction captures attention. But you should never be afraid of it!

Example of introduction to marijuana essay Environmental strategies are broadly applied in the prevention of substance abuse. Moreover, the strategies are mostly a necessity of the program for prevention for beneficiaries of public health aid. The strategies are geared towards fostering personal behavior change. Approaches based on the environment can be applied at the levels of the community as well as national and regional level. The approach involves community mobilization, community connectedness, and neighborhood changes, policy changes, communication campaigns and changes in enforcement.

Marijuana Essay Thesis Statement

Medical marijuana thesis will present the main arguments and points to students. These arguments will further be discussed in body paragraphs. However, the thesis should always be concise, clear, and informative enough to understand the overall purpose of students’ articles. 

If your essay uses three separate points to prove your argument, one’s thesis should reflect that. We will give you a good sample so you can see everything for yourself. In any case, you can try our easy-to-use thesis generator free any time.

Marijuana thesis statement

Cannabis is widely known for its medical uses, including pain relief. Yet, there are countries that vote against its legalization because of its accessibility, negative effects, and connection with drug use. 

Marijuana Essay Body Paragraph

We have finally come to a marijuana essay paragraph. If you wrote articles before, you know that each paragraph requires at least three sentences. If you write a five-paragraph article, the main body takes up to 80% of the overall work. So, you have lots of opportunities and places to use evidence. It helps properly develop your argument too.

If students write a persuasive or argumentative article, they should definitely start their paragraphs with an outline. It is one of the best ways to keep track of evidence and focus on the main point. Otherwise, students might get lost in all the resources they have found prior. You will see that donated examples are clear and understandable. It is all because every sample contains its outline. 

Example of marijuana essay body paragraph

The existing strategy on enhancing evidence-based approach and policies, and improving the usage of environmental level mechanisms, has influenced leaders of the community to consider direct decision making. The direct decision making should be based on applicable environmental approaches. Also, community leaders should put an effort in matching particular environmental approaches towards the hindrance of specific substances. For example, heroin and cocaine or patterns of substance use for instance conspicuous periodic consumption.  

Marijuana Essay Conclusion

The final part of any article is obviously a conclusion for marijuana essay. We always recommend students write a conclusion right after they have finished their introduction. In several ways, both parts are very similar to one another. So, combining and finishing them together saves students lots of time. 

A normal conclusion has 10% of the overall word count. It also consists of a rephrased thesis statement, a quick summary, and a closing statement.

Closing statements are usually the most important parts of any conclusion. It is up to students what they want to write there. We usually advise thinking about the importance of their topic. Research on how other thoughts can be used by other people. 

Marijuana essay conclusion examples

Maybe just as important as what is available in the existing literature is what is lacking. Due to the wide difference in norms of the culture, laws of the country and local policies regarding marijuana usage, the prevention sector is lacking some consensus on what method of non-medical usage of marijuana is challenging, for whom as well as on what basis.  Rates of marijuana usage and relationships of marijuana usage resulting from certain countrywide research do not justify for marijuana usage as lawfully recommended for medical reasons, for instance, the Countrywide Survey on Drug Consumption and Wellbeing. Thus, it results in an attempt to scrutinize the effect of laws on medical marijuana and other related policies regarding medicinal usage on rates of general consumption.

Marijuana Essay Topics That Will Blow Your Mind

Are you looking for a marijuana topic that will make time spent on writing about them worth it? We have lots of them here. They will inspire you to write your own article. Besides, you are not obliged to use them word for word. Experiment, change, and be inspired.

Marijuana argumentative essay topics

  • Should cannabis be decriminalized?
  • What are the possible consequences of cannabis?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of prescribing medical cannabis.
  • The economic value of cannabis.
  • Correlation between cannabis and violence.
  • Possible effects of hemp on mental and physical health.
  • What country might benefit from cannabis legalization most at this time?
  • Netherlands: Lessons to learn on legalization.
  • Should hemp be allowed for individuals younger than 18 years old?
  • Cannabis as a powerful pain reliever: Hidden disadvantages. 

We hope these topics will inspire you to start writing right away!

FAQ About Medical Marijuana Essays

Yes! All our free marijuana essays don’t require payments or credit cards. We have mentioned this before, but they were donated by other students. That is why we tried sharing them with as many people as we can. Therefore, you don’t need to register, fill in personal information or deal with hidden fees and payments. Use this service as much as you need and as many times as required.

An essay about marijuana often discusses the advantages and disadvantages of cannabis. There must be a solid reason why cannabis is legalized in several countries, including the United States. Here are some benefits students can include in their article:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Relieves pain.
  • Destroys cancer cells.

Students can start with these benefits for their article.

It is an article that discusses the positive and negative effects of marijuana essay. Cannabis has both effects on the human body. Students will find these ones to be mentioned in academic articles:

  • Pain relief
  • Heightened senses
  • Distorted sense of time
  • Lowered motor skills.

We are sure, there are many more than students can research on their own. These are just several ideas to start with.

Essays on marijuana normally start with a hook. It is the first sentence of the introduction. This hook can be anything. In this case, students can, for instance, mention how many countries legalized this herb for medical procedures. As long as it draws attention, hooks can be a lot of things. Rhetorical questions are also popular.

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2018 Theses Doctoral

Essays on Cannabis Legalization

Thomas, Danna Kang

Though the drug remains illegal at the federal level, in recent years states and localities have increasingly liberalized their marijuana laws in order to generate tax revenue and save resources on marijuana law enforcement. Many states have adopted some form of medical marijuana and/or marijuana decriminalization laws, and as of 2017, Washington, Colorado, Maine, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, Alaska, and the District of Columbia have all legalized marijuana for recreational use. In 2016 recreational marijuana generated over $1.8 billion in sales. Hence, studying marijuana reforms and the policies and outcomes of early recreational marijuana adopters is an important area of research. However, perhaps due to the fact that legalized recreational cannabis is a recent phenomenon, a scarcity of research exists on the impacts of recreational cannabis legalization and the efficacy and efficiency of cannabis regulation. This dissertation aims to fill this gap, using the Washington recreational marijuana market as the primary setting to study cannabis legalization in the United States. Of first order importance in the regulation of sin goods such as cannabis is quantifying the value of the marginal damages of negative externalities. Hence, Chapter 1 (co-authored with Lin Tian) explores the impact of marijuana dispensary location on neighborhood property values, exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in marijuana retailer location. Policymakers and advocates have long expressed concerns that the positive effects of the legalization--e.g., increases in tax revenue--are well spread spatially, but the negative effects are highly localized through channels such as crime. Hence, we use changes in property values to measure individuals' willingness to pay to avoid localized externalities caused by the arrival of marijuana dispensaries. Our key identification strategy is to compare changes in housing sales around winners and losers in a lottery for recreational marijuana retail licenses. (Due to location restrictions, license applicants were required to provide an address of where they would like to locate.) Hence, we have the locations of both actual entrants and potential entrants, which provides a natural difference-in-differences set-up. Using data from King County, Washington, we find an almost 2.4% decrease in the value of properties within a 0.5 mile radius of an entrant, a $9,400 decline in median property values. The aforementioned retail license lottery was used to distribute licenses due to a license quota. Retail license quotas are often used by states to regulate entry into sin goods markets as quotas can restrict consumption by decreasing access and by reducing competition (and, therefore, increasing markups). However, license quotas also create allocative inefficiency. For example, license quotas are often based on the population of a city or county. Hence, licenses are not necessarily allocated to the areas where they offer the highest marginal benefit. Moreover, as seen in the case of the Washington recreational marijuana market, licenses are often distributed via lottery, meaning that in the absence of an efficiency secondary market for licenses, the license recipients are not necessarily the most efficient potential entrants. This allocative inefficiency is generated by heterogeneity in firms and consumers. Therefore, in Chapter 2, I develop a model of demand and firm pricing in order to investigate firm-level heterogeneity and inefficiency. Demand is differentiated by geography and incorporates consumer demographics. I estimate this demand model using data on firm sales from Washington. Utilizing the estimates and firm pricing model, I back out a non-parametric distribution of firm variable costs. These variable costs differ by product and firm and provide a measure of firm inefficiency. I find that variable costs have lower inventory turnover; hence, randomly choosing entrants in a lottery could be a large contributor to allocative inefficiency. Chapter 3 explores the sources of allocative inefficiency in license distribution in the Washington recreational marijuana market. A difficulty in studying the welfare effects of license quotas is finding credible counterfactuals of unrestricted entry. Therefore, I take a structural approach: I first develop a three stage model that endogenizes firm entry and incorporates the spatial demand and pricing model discussed in Chapter 2. Using the estimates of the demand and pricing model, I estimate firms' fixed costs and use data on locations of those potential entrants that did not win Washington's retail license lottery to simulate counterfactual entry patterns. I find that allowing firms to enter freely at Washington's current marijuana tax rate increases total surplus by 21.5% relative to a baseline simulation of Washington's license quota regime. Geographic misallocation and random allocation of licenses account for 6.6\% and 65.9\% of this difference, respectively. Moreover, as the primary objective of these quotas is to mitigate the negative externalities of marijuana consumption, I study alternative state tax policies that directly control for the marginal damages of marijuana consumption. Free entry with tax rates that keep the quantity of marijuana or THC consumed equal to baseline consumption increases welfare by 6.9% and 11.7%, respectively. I also explore the possibility of heterogeneous marginal damages of consumption across geography, backing out the non-uniform sales tax across geography that is consistent with Washington's license quota policy. Free entry with a non-uniform sales tax increases efficiency by over 7% relative to the baseline simulation of license quotas due to improvements in license allocation.

  • Cannabis--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana industry
  • Drug legalization
  • Drugs--Economic aspects

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  • What is Public Health?

The Evidence—and Lack Thereof—About Cannabis

Research is still needed on cannabis’s risks and benefits. 

Lindsay Smith Rogers

Although the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law, medicinal and recreational cannabis use has become increasingly widespread.

Thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical cannabis, while 23 states and D.C. have legalized recreational use. Cannabis legalization has benefits, such as removing the product from the illegal market so it can be taxed and regulated, but science is still trying to catch up as social norms evolve and different products become available. 

In this Q&A, adapted from the August 25 episode of Public Health On Call , Lindsay Smith Rogers talks with Johannes Thrul, PhD, MS , associate professor of Mental Health , about cannabis as medicine, potential risks involved with its use, and what research is showing about its safety and efficacy. 

Do you think medicinal cannabis paved the way for legalization of recreational use?

The momentum has been clear for a few years now. California was the first to legalize it for medical reasons [in 1996]. Washington and Colorado were the first states to legalize recreational use back in 2012. You see one state after another changing their laws, and over time, you see a change in social norms. It's clear from the national surveys that people are becoming more and more in favor of cannabis legalization. That started with medical use, and has now continued into recreational use.

But there is a murky differentiation between medical and recreational cannabis. I think a lot of people are using cannabis to self-medicate. It's not like a medication you get prescribed for a very narrow symptom or a specific disease. Anyone with a medical cannabis prescription, or who meets the age limit for recreational cannabis, can purchase it. Then what they use it for is really all over the place—maybe because it makes them feel good, or because it helps them deal with certain symptoms, diseases, and disorders.

Does cannabis have viable medicinal uses?

The evidence is mixed at this point. There hasn’t been a lot of funding going into testing cannabis in a rigorous way. There is more evidence for certain indications than for others, like CBD for seizures—one of the first indications that cannabis was approved for. And THC has been used effectively for things like nausea and appetite for people with cancer.

There are other indications where the evidence is a lot more mixed. For example, pain—one of the main reasons that people report for using cannabis. When we talk to patients, they say cannabis improved their quality of life. In the big studies that have been done so far, there are some indications from animal models that cannabis might help [with pain]. When we look at human studies, it's very much a mixed bag. 

And, when we say cannabis, in a way it's a misnomer because cannabis is so many things. We have different cannabinoids and different concentrations of different cannabinoids. The main cannabinoids that are being studied are THC and CBD, but there are dozens of other minor cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis products, all of varying concentrations. And then you also have a lot of different routes of administration available. You can smoke, vape, take edibles, use tinctures and topicals. When you think about the explosion of all of the different combinations of different products and different routes of administration, it tells you how complicated it gets to study this in a rigorous way. You almost need a randomized trial for every single one of those and then for every single indication.

What do we know about the risks of marijuana use?  

Cannabis use disorder is a legitimate disorder in the DSM. There are, unfortunately, a lot of people who develop a problematic use of cannabis. We know there are risks for mental health consequences. The evidence is probably the strongest that if you have a family history of psychosis or schizophrenia, using cannabis early in adolescence is not the best idea. We know cannabis can trigger psychotic symptoms and potentially longer lasting problems with psychosis and schizophrenia. 

It is hard to study, because you also don't know if people are medicating early negative symptoms of schizophrenia. They wouldn't necessarily have a diagnosis yet, but maybe cannabis helps them to deal with negative symptoms, and then they develop psychosis. There is also some evidence that there could be something going on with the impact of cannabis on the developing brain that could prime you to be at greater risk of using other substances later down the road, or finding the use of other substances more reinforcing. 

What benefits do you see to legalization?

When we look at the public health landscape and the effect of legislation, in this case legalization, one of the big benefits is taking cannabis out of the underground illegal market. Taking cannabis out of that particular space is a great idea. You're taking it out of the illegal market and giving it to legitimate businesses where there is going to be oversight and testing of products, so you know what you're getting. And these products undergo quality control and are labeled. Those labels so far are a bit variable, but at least we're getting there. If you're picking up cannabis at the street corner, you have no idea what's in it. 

And we know that drug laws in general have been used to criminalize communities of color and minorities. Legalizing cannabis [can help] reduce the overpolicing of these populations.

What big questions about cannabis would you most like to see answered?

We know there are certain, most-often-mentioned conditions that people are already using medical cannabis for: pain, insomnia, anxiety, and PTSD. We really need to improve the evidence base for those. I think clinical trials for different cannabis products for those conditions are warranted.

Another question is, now that the states are getting more tax revenue from cannabis sales, what are they doing with that money? If you look at tobacco legislation, for example, certain states have required that those funds get used for research on those particular issues. To me, that would be a very good use of the tax revenue that is now coming in. We know, for example, that there’s a lot more tax revenue now that Maryland has legalized recreational use. Maryland could really step up here and help provide some of that evidence.

Are there studies looking into the risks you mentioned?

Large national studies are done every year or every other year to collect data, so we already have a pretty good sense of the prevalence of cannabis use disorder. Obviously, we'll keep tracking that to see if those numbers increase, for example, in states that are legalizing. But, you wouldn't necessarily expect to see an uptick in cannabis use disorder a month after legalization. The evidence from states that have legalized it has not demonstrated that we might all of a sudden see an increase in psychosis or in cannabis use disorder. This happens slowly over time with a change in social norms and availability, and potentially also with a change in marketing. And, with increasing use of an addictive substance, you will see over time a potential increase in problematic use and then also an increase in use disorder.

If you're interested in seeing if cannabis is right for you, is this something you can talk to your doctor about?

I think your mileage may vary there with how much your doctor is comfortable and knows about it. It's still relatively fringe. That will very much depend on who you talk to. But I think as providers and professionals, everybody needs to learn more about this, because patients are going to ask no matter what.

Lindsay Smith Rogers, MA, is the producer of the Public Health On Call podcast , an editor for Expert Insights , and the director of content strategy for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Regions & Countries

Most americans favor legalizing marijuana for medical, recreational use, legalizing recreational marijuana viewed as good for local economies; mixed views of impact on drug use, community safety.

Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand the public’s views about the legalization of marijuana in the United States. For this analysis, we surveyed 5,140 adults from Jan. 16 to Jan. 21, 2024. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology .

Here are the questions used for the report and its methodology .

As more states pass laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use , Americans continue to favor legalization of both medical and recreational use of the drug.

Pie chart shows Only about 1 in 10 U.S. adults say marijuana should not be legal at all

An overwhelming share of U.S. adults (88%) say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use.

Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) say that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational purposes, while roughly a third (32%) say that marijuana should be legal for medical use only.

Just 11% of Americans say that the drug should not be legal at all.

Opinions about marijuana legalization have changed little over the past five years, according to the Pew Research Center survey, conducted Jan. 16-21, 2024, among 5,14o adults.

The impact of legalizing marijuana for recreational use

While a majority of Americans continue to say marijuana should be legal , there are varying views about the impacts of recreational legalization.

Chart shows How Americans view the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana

About half of Americans (52%) say that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana is good for local economies; just 17% think it is bad and 29% say it has no impact.

More adults also say legalizing marijuana for recreational use makes the criminal justice system more fair (42%) than less fair (18%); 38% say it has no impact.

However, Americans have mixed views on the impact of legalizing marijuana for recreational use on:

  • Use of other drugs: About as many say it increases (29%) as say it decreases (27%) the use of other drugs, like heroin, fentanyl and cocaine (42% say it has no impact).
  • Community safety: More Americans say legalizing recreational marijuana makes communities less safe (34%) than say it makes them safer (21%); 44% say it has no impact.

Partisan differences on impact of recreational use of marijuana

There are deep partisan divisions regarding the impact of marijuana legalization for recreational use.

Chart shows Democrats more positive than Republicans on impact of legalizing marijuana

Majorities of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say legalizing recreational marijuana is good for local economies (64% say this) and makes the criminal justice system fairer (58%).

Fewer Republicans and Republican leaners say legalization for recreational use has a positive effect on local economies (41%) and the criminal justice system (27%).

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to cite downsides from legalizing recreational marijuana:

  • 42% of Republicans say it increases the use of other drugs, like heroin, fentanyl and cocaine, compared with just 17% of Democrats.
  • 48% of Republicans say it makes communities less safe, more than double the share of Democrats (21%) who say this.

Demographic, partisan differences in views of marijuana legalization

Sizable age and partisan differences persist on the issue of marijuana legalization though small shares of adults across demographic groups are completely opposed to it.

Chart shows Views about legalizing marijuana differ by race and ethnicity, age, partisanship

Older adults are far less likely than younger adults to favor marijuana legalization.

This is particularly the case among adults ages 75 and older: 31% say marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use.

By comparison, half of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 say marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, and larger shares in younger age groups say the same.

Republicans continue to be less supportive than Democrats of legalizing marijuana for both legal and recreational use: 42% of Republicans favor legalizing marijuana for both purposes, compared with 72% of Democrats.

There continue to be ideological differences within each party:

  • 34% of conservative Republicans say marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, compared with a 57% majority of moderate and liberal Republicans.
  • 62% of conservative and moderate Democrats say marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, while an overwhelming majority of liberal Democrats (84%) say this.

Views of marijuana legalization vary by age within both parties

Along with differences by party and age, there are also age differences within each party on the issue.

Chart shows Large age differences in both parties in views of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use

A 57% majority of Republicans ages 18 to 29 favor making marijuana legal for medical and recreational use, compared with 52% among those ages 30 to 49 and much smaller shares of older Republicans.

Still, wide majorities of Republicans in all age groups favor legalizing marijuana at least for medical use. Among those ages 65 and older, just 20% say marijuana should not be legal even for medical purposes.

While majorities of Democrats across all age groups support legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, older Democrats are less likely to say this.

About half of Democrats ages 75 and older (53%) say marijuana should be legal for both purposes, but much larger shares of younger Democrats say the same (including 81% of Democrats ages 18 to 29). Still, only 7% of Democrats ages 65 and older think marijuana should not be legalized even for medical use, similar to the share of all other Democrats who say this.

Views of the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana among racial and ethnic groups

Chart shows Hispanic and Asian adults more likely than Black and White adults to say legalizing recreational marijuana negatively impacts safety, use of other drugs

Substantial shares of Americans across racial and ethnic groups say when marijuana is legal for recreational use, it has a more positive than negative impact on the economy and criminal justice system.

About half of White (52%), Black (53%) and Hispanic (51%) adults say legalizing recreational marijuana is good for local economies. A slightly smaller share of Asian adults (46%) say the same.

Criminal justice

Across racial and ethnic groups, about four-in-ten say that recreational marijuana being legal makes the criminal justice system fairer, with smaller shares saying it would make it less fair.

However, there are wider racial differences on questions regarding the impact of recreational marijuana on the use of other drugs and the safety of communities.

Use of other drugs

Nearly half of Black adults (48%) say recreational marijuana legalization doesn’t have an effect on the use of drugs like heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. Another 32% in this group say it decreases the use of these drugs and 18% say it increases their use.

In contrast, Hispanic adults are slightly more likely to say legal marijuana increases the use of these other drugs (39%) than to say it decreases this use (30%); 29% say it has no impact.

Among White adults, the balance of opinion is mixed: 28% say marijuana legalization increases the use of other drugs and 25% say it decreases their use (45% say it has no impact). Views among Asian adults are also mixed, though a smaller share (31%) say legalization has no impact on the use of other drugs.

Community safety

Hispanic and Asian adults also are more likely to say marijuana’s legalization makes communities less safe: 41% of Hispanic adults and 46% of Asian adults say this, compared with 34% of White adults and 24% of Black adults.

Wide age gap on views of impact of legalizing recreational marijuana

Chart shows Young adults far more likely than older people to say legalizing recreational marijuana has positive impacts

Young Americans view the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in more positive terms compared with their older counterparts.

Clear majorities of adults under 30 say it is good for local economies (71%) and that it makes the criminal justice system fairer (59%).

By comparison, a third of Americans ages 65 and older say legalizing the recreational use of marijuana is good for local economies; about as many (32%) say it makes the criminal justice system more fair.

There also are sizable differences in opinion by age about how legalizing recreational marijuana affects the use of other drugs and the safety of communities.

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Table of contents, most americans now live in a legal marijuana state – and most have at least one dispensary in their county, 7 facts about americans and marijuana, americans overwhelmingly say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use, clear majorities of black americans favor marijuana legalization, easing of criminal penalties, religious americans are less likely to endorse legal marijuana for recreational use, most popular.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts .

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Marijuana Argumentative Outline

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Published: Mar 13, 2024

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  • The Buzz on Florida Politics

Florida Supreme Court to decide fate of abortion, marijuana amendments Monday

  • Romy Ellenbogen Times staff

The Florida Supreme Court announced Thursday night that it will issue long-awaited rulings on Monday that will decide the fate of proposed amendments that would expand abortion access and allow recreational marijuana.

The court’s regular 11 a.m. Thursday opinion release time came and went, with no decision on whether the two amendments can stand on the 2024 ballot. According to Florida’s Constitution, justices “shall” issue an opinion “no later than April 1.” That would be Monday. An email from the Supreme Court later clarified that the opinions would be issued that day at 4 p.m.

Though the court typically puts opinions out on Thursday, it isn’t bound to that slot. According to its operating procedures , opinions can be released “at any other time at the direction of the chief justice.”

Each amendment has received about 1 million signatures from Florida voters, enough to put both on the 2024 ballot. But the Supreme Court is reviewing the amendments’ language after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody challenged both issues. The final decision on whether or not the amendments can appear on the ballot lies with the court.

One amendment would remove criminal and civil penalties for people 21 and older who use marijuana. It has been designated Amendment 3.

The other amendment would protect abortion access until viability, which is estimated to be about 24 weeks of pregnancy, and would undo Florida’s 15-week ban and a possible six-week ban. It has been designated Amendment 4.

When the court skipped its standard Thursday release, some people questioned what would happen if they didn’t rule by the end of Monday. Paul Flemming, a court spokesperson, said a situation like that has never happened.

Jonathan Marshfield, a professor of state constitutional law at the University of Florida’s law school, said if the court didn’t rule by its deadline, it would pose a “mid-level constitutional crisis.”

In cases where lower courts don’t rule by a deadline, interested parties can ask the state Supreme Court to compel the lower court to rule. Marshfield said if the Florida Supreme Court passed its deadline, an interested party could file a similar request, though he said it would be “awkward” asking the court to issue a command against itself.

Marshfield said the to-the-wire ruling doesn’t surprise him.

“They know these opinions are going to have national significance,” Marshfield said. “And in an election year on issues that everybody is watching as part of the presidential election in November, I think they want to make sure they put forward their strongest argument and the tightest opinion they can.”

Ahead of the court announcing that it plans to release opinions on Monday, Marshfield said he believed the court will rule by its deadline, in part because the factors it considers for its advisory — if an amendment relates to a single subject and if the ballot summary is clear — are “open ended” and already subject to criticism. Blowing the deadline would only add fuel to that fire, he said.

Romy Ellenbogen is a Tallahassee correspondent, covering state government with a focus on criminal justice and health. Reach her at [email protected].


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Should college essays touch on race? Some feel the affirmative action ruling leaves them no choice

CHICAGO — When she started writing her college essay, Hillary Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. About being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana and growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. About hardship and struggle.

Then she deleted it all.

“I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18-year-old senior at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.”

When the Supreme Court ended affirmative action in higher education, it left the college essay as one of few places where race can play a role in admissions decisions. For many students of color, instantly more was riding on the already high-stakes writing assignment. Some say they felt pressure to exploit their hardships as they competed for a spot on campus.

Amofa was just starting to think about her essay when the court issued its decision, and it left her with a wave of questions. Could she still write about her race? Could she be penalized for it? She wanted to tell colleges about her heritage but she didn’t want to be defined by it.

In English class, Amofa and her classmates read sample essays that all seemed to focus on some trauma or hardship. It left her with the impression she had to write about her life’s hardest moments to show how far she’d come. But she and some of her classmates wondered if their lives had been hard enough to catch the attention of admissions offices.

“For a lot of students, there’s a feeling of, like, having to go through something so horrible to feel worthy of going to school, which is kind of sad,” said Amofa, the daughter of a hospital technician and an Uber driver.

This year’s senior class is the first in decades to navigate college admissions without affirmative action . The Supreme Court upheld the practice in decisions going back to the 1970s, but this court’s conservative supermajority found it is unconstitutional for colleges to give students extra weight because of their race alone.

Still, the decision left room for race to play an indirect role: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote universities can still consider how an applicant’s life was shaped by their race, “so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability.”

“A benefit to a student who overcame racial discrimination, for example, must be tied to that student’s courage and determination,” he wrote.

Scores of colleges responded with new essay prompts asking about students’ backgrounds. Brown University asked applicants how “an aspect of your growing up has inspired or challenged you.” Rice University asked students how their perspectives were shaped by their “background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity.”


When Darrian Merritt started writing his essay, he knew the stakes were higher than ever because of the court’s decision. His first instinct was to write about events that led to him going to live with his grandmother as a child.

Those were painful memories, but he thought they might play well at schools like Yale, Stanford and Vanderbilt.

“I feel like the admissions committee might expect a sob story or a tragic story,” said Merritt, a senior in Cleveland. “And if you don’t provide that, then maybe they’re not going to feel like you went through enough to deserve having a spot at the university. I wrestled with that a lot.”

He wrote drafts focusing on his childhood, but it never amounted to more than a collection of memories. Eventually he abandoned the idea and aimed for an essay that would stand out for its positivity.

Merritt wrote about a summer camp where he started to feel more comfortable in his own skin. He described embracing his personality and defying his tendency to please others. The essay had humor — it centered on a water gun fight where he had victory in sight but, in a comedic twist, slipped and fell. But the essay also reflects on his feelings of not being “Black enough” and getting made fun of for listening to “white people music.”

“I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to write this for me, and we’re just going to see how it goes,’” he said. “It just felt real, and it felt like an honest story.”

The essay describes a breakthrough as he learned “to take ownership of myself and my future by sharing my true personality with the people I encounter. ... I realized that the first chapter of my own story had just been written.”


Like many students, Max Decker of Portland, Oregon, had drafted a college essay on one topic, only to change direction after the Supreme Court ruling in June.

Decker initially wrote about his love for video games. In a childhood surrounded by constant change, navigating his parents’ divorce, the games he took from place to place on his Nintendo DS were a source of comfort.

But the essay he submitted to colleges focused on the community he found through Word is Bond, a leadership group for young Black men in Portland.

As the only biracial, Jewish kid with divorced parents in a predominantly white, Christian community, Decker wrote he constantly felt like the odd one out. On a trip with Word is Bond to Capitol Hill, he and friends who looked just like him shook hands with lawmakers. The experience, he wrote, changed how he saw himself.

“It’s because I’m different that I provide something precious to the world, not the other way around,” he wrote.

As a first-generation college student, Decker thought about the subtle ways his peers seemed to know more about navigating the admissions process . They made sure to get into advanced classes at the start of high school, and they knew how to secure glowing letters of recommendation.

If writing about race would give him a slight edge and show admissions officers a fuller picture of his achievements, he wanted to take that small advantage.

His first memory about race, Decker said, was when he went to get a haircut in elementary school and the barber made rude comments about his curly hair. Until recently, the insecurity that moment created led him to keep his hair buzzed short.

Through Word is Bond, Decker said he found a space to explore his identity as a Black man. It was one of the first times he was surrounded by Black peers and saw Black role models. It filled him with a sense of pride in his identity. No more buzzcut.

The pressure to write about race involved a tradeoff with other important things in his life, Decker said. That included his passion for journalism, like the piece he wrote on efforts to revive a once-thriving Black neighborhood in Portland. In the end, he squeezed in 100 characters about his journalism under the application’s activities section.

“My final essay, it felt true to myself. But the difference between that and my other essay was the fact that it wasn’t the truth that I necessarily wanted to share,” said Decker, whose top college choice is Tulane, in New Orleans, because of the region’s diversity. “It felt like I just had to limit the truth I was sharing to what I feel like the world is expecting of me.”


Before the Supreme Court ruling, it seemed a given to Imani Laird that colleges would consider the ways that race had touched her life. But now, she felt like she had to spell it out.

As she started her essay, she reflected on how she had faced bias or felt overlooked as a Black student in predominantly white spaces.

There was the year in math class when the teacher kept calling her by the name of another Black student. There were the comments that she’d have an easier time getting into college because she was Black .

“I didn’t have it easier because of my race,” said Laird, a senior at Newton South High School in the Boston suburbs who was accepted at Wellesley and Howard University, and is waiting to hear from several Ivy League colleges. “I had stuff I had to overcome.”

In her final essays, she wrote about her grandfather, who served in the military but was denied access to GI Bill benefits because of his race.

She described how discrimination fueled her ambition to excel and pursue a career in public policy.

“So, I never settled for mediocrity,” she wrote. “Regardless of the subject, my goal in class was not just to participate but to excel. Beyond academics, I wanted to excel while remembering what started this motivation in the first place.”


Amofa used to think affirmative action was only a factor at schools like Harvard and Yale. After the court’s ruling, she was surprised to find that race was taken into account even at some public universities she was applying to.

Now, without affirmative action, she wondered if mostly white schools will become even whiter.

It’s been on her mind as she chooses between Indiana University and the University of Dayton, both of which have relatively few Black students. When she was one of the only Black students in her grade school, she could fall back on her family and Ghanaian friends at church. At college, she worries about loneliness.

“That’s what I’m nervous about,” she said. “Going and just feeling so isolated, even though I’m constantly around people.”

The first drafts of her essay focused on growing up in a low-income family, sharing a bedroom with her brother and grandmother. But it didn’t tell colleges about who she is now, she said.

Her final essay tells how she came to embrace her natural hair . She wrote about going to a mostly white grade school where classmates made jokes about her afro. When her grandmother sent her back with braids or cornrows, they made fun of those too.

Over time, she ignored their insults and found beauty in the styles worn by women in her life. She now runs a business doing braids and other hairstyles in her neighborhood.

“I stopped seeing myself through the lens of the European traditional beauty standards and started seeing myself through the lens that I created,” Amofa wrote.

“Criticism will persist, but it loses its power when you know there’s a crown on your head!”

Ma reported from Portland, Oregon.

The Associated Press’ education coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org .

essay questions marijuana


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