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Legalization of Marijuana, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 691

Essay

The use of marijuana is becoming more accepted for medicinal use and viewed less severely for recreational use.  The Huffington Post’s 2013 article, Majority of Parents Support Medical Marijuana Legalization, Says Survey by Partnership at Drugfree.org, reports that many American parents are in favor of legalizing marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes and decriminalizing recreational marijuana usage.  It discusses the results of a survey conducted in an online field study in March, 2013.  Even though the data represents a small portion of the population, it was relatively accurate with a high confidence level and a small margin of error.

Regardless if it is “right” or “wrong,” the reality is that American children are using marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes.  Marijuana may help some with medical problems, such as alleviating pain and relieving nausea associated with cancer patients; it may simply be used for recreational purposes.  Punishments for handling marijuana range in severity from either a fine or time in jail.  While breaking the law is usually not encouraged, many parents feel that the punishment of prison, especially for first-time offenders, is too harsh.  If children are sent to prison for marijuana use, it could severely impact their lives.

Wilkey (2013) reported that 70% of the survey respondents were in favor of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, 52% supported decriminalizing marijuana, and 42% supported legalizing marijuana for recreational usage.  Out of the 1,603 adult respondents, 1,200 were parents of children ages 10 to 19.  Of the 1,200 parents, 200 were from Colorado and 200 from Washington State; marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington in November, 2013.  The study also noted that support for marijuana legalization increased from 3% to 11% when the parameters were explained to the respondents.  Medical marijuana would be administered to only those with a prescription from a physician.  If marijuana use was no longer considered criminal activity, those who were caught with marijuana would receive a warning or a fine as opposed to going to prison.

The results of the survey from the Partnership at Drugfree.org (2013) yielded a confidence level of 95% with a margin of error of  4.9% for the general population.  If the survey was repeated 100 times, then 65.1-74.9% of respondents would be in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, 47.1- 56.9% would support its decriminalization, and 37.1- 46.9% would support legalizing marijuana for recreational use.   The margin of error is a statistical number that estimates the amount of random sampling error in the results of an experiment.  When the margin of error is larger, the data is less accurate.   For example, the information collected from the general population of American parents at a 95% confidence interval is  The margin of error increases to  6.9% when the population samples were concentrated on the parents in Washington and Colorado.  One factor in sampling surveys is that people who chose to respond to the survey may have a personal interest in the subject matter, despite the random distribution of the survey.  Parents who were more tolerant to the legalization of marijuana have a greater chance of having experimented with it before.

The data reflects the openness of American parents in not the promotion of marijuana usage, but the rather the acceptance.  In certain states, such as Washington and Colorado, parents were more likely to be tolerant of marijuana legalization.  Since marijuana had already been legalized in these Washington and Colorado, states with more conservative policies may have been underrepresented.   These statistics are reflected in a larger margin of error for parents in Washington and Colorado as opposed to parents where geographic region was not taken into consideration.

References

American Association for Public Opinion Research. (n.d.). Opt-in surveys and margin of error.

Retrieved from http://www.aapor.org/Opt_In_Surveys_and_Margin_of_Error1.htm

Clark, P., Capuzzi, K., & Fick, C. (2011). Medical marijuana: Medical necessity versus political agenda. Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experiemental and Clinical Research, 17(12), RA249-RA261. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3628147/

Department of Health, (1999). Confidence intervals – statistics teaching tools. Retrieved from website: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/chronic/confint.htm

The Partnership at Drugfree.org. (2013). Marijuana: It’s legal, now what?

Wilkey, R. (2013, July 17). Majority of parents support medical marijuana legalization, says survey by partnership at Drugfree.org. Huffington Post, Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/17/parents-support-medical-marijuana_n_3611822.html

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