+1(978)310-4246 credencewriters@gmail.com


should be about a specfic subject and not one certain disease, partial work has done. also I’ve attached an example below.

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Yedam Hong
Professor Fischer
Writing 39C
5 February, 2021
Ignorance is destructive: What California Does Not Know About Marijuana
“Yedam! Can you please come to me quickly? I’m right at the main quad. Please!” my
friend June texted me after school as if there was an emergency. I ran out hastily, but everything
seemed fine—except June who was standing vacantly, with her unzipped backpack sagging
heavily on her shoulder. Sleepy eyelids, bleary eyes, and not-well coordinated movements—I
could easily find out something was odd with her. I immediately walked her out, knowing that
she smoked marijuana. Her arm was tightly wrapped around mine, as she needed a prop. I didn’t
ask her anything, but her continuous chuckles filled the silence. After this day, she called me
whenever she experienced similar effects, and I soon realized that she was calling me regularly.
In 2016, California legalized recreational use of marijuana, which has led to increased
exposure to it, while simultaneously decreasing people’s alertness of its risks, just like what has
happened with June. Since legalization, many adults and teens are blinded by the sudden
euphoria and relaxation provided by marijuana, not aware of the actual effects of it on brains that
are severe enough to be concerned. Among numerous California residents, who are the victims
of marijuana and its undermined, physical and mental effects, adolescents specifically are greatly
affected—and attacked—by it, as their brains are still developing, and thus are the most
vulnerable. Legalization of recreational marijuana, coupled with former legalization of its
medical use, has altered the legal landscapes toward more positive attitudes toward cannabis,
contributing to increased access to it, even among the teenage population. Adolescents’ lack of
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understanding about marijuana’s harmful effects on their brains, coupled with the additional
complication of addiction, has put them at risks, which is why the recreational use of marijuana
should not be legalized.
The reason why marijuanal was legalized in the first place was because of its medical
advantages, which caused more people to approve its usage, and thereby leading to the
legalization of recreational marijuana. 1970 Controlled Substances Act had once considered
marijuana one of the most dangerous drugs, classifying it as schedule 1 drug. However, it was
found out that marijuana has medical uses, resulting in an enactment of Compassionate Use Act
of 1996, or Proposition 215. According to LA Times, this law acknowledges marijuana for its
benefits in medicine, as marijuana successfully reduces chronic pain and anxiety and controls
nausea and vomiting by generating “high” feelings. Purpose of the proposition was also to ensure
that all patients in medical need, including cancer, arthritis, and anorexia, can afford and attain
marijuana upon physicians’ prescriptions for treatment (Imler). Following the ratification of the
law, an increasing number of states adopted it, which provoked further recognition of its medical
purposes. With growing advocacy of marijuana, California eventually passed Adults Use of
Marijuana Act, or Proposition 64, legalizing its recreational use, in 2016. The findings of
marijuana’s medical and the subsequent legalization of recreational marijuana demonstrated that
the public’s opinions regarding marijuana had shifted toward the more positive side.
Since the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, people’s perceptions of its
risks have decreased overtime, generating optimistic opinions regarding marijuana. Gallup,
which is a global analytics and advice firm, exhibits increasing support for marijuana (Figure 1).
While the change in percentage of people who say “yes” to legalization is moderate from 1969 to
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1996, increasing from 12 percent to 25 percent, the percentage rises dramatically from 25 percent
to 64 percent since 1996, when medical marijuana legislation came into effect.
As social acceptance grew, people began to view marijuana as “treatment,” not a drug.
Teenagers are also swayed easily by the public’s general understanding due to exposure through
social media. A scholarly article, “Perceptions of social norms and exposure to pro-marijuana
messages are associated with adolescent marijuana use,” written by researchers from Stanford
University and University of California San Francisco, shows a survey on adolescents’ exposure
to positive information about marijuana on social media. 786 adolescent participants from
California, who are ethnically diverse, 345 teenagers (52.7%) reported to have seen “a message
posted on social media about benefits or good things related to using the products below.” The
researchers also concluded that teenagers were not aware of marijuana’s addictive nature but
rather viewed it as a means to look “cool and fitting,” concentrate better, and relieve stress
(Roditis et al.). Even though marijuana has distinct benefits, continuous presentation of positive
information is likely to undermine marijuana’s risks as a “drug” and generate misconceptions
that marijuana is not harmful. A review article, “Understanding Rates of Marijuana Use and
Consequences Among Adolescents in a Changing Legal Landscape,” written by researchers of
RAND Corporation—an institution that conducts numerous research and analyzes through
rigorous review processes—reveals the percentage of teenagers who don’t think marijuana
causes harm. It states that more than 50 percent of 10th and 12th graders across the USA believe
that “smoking marijuana regularly does not carry great risk” (D’Amico et al.). As more favorable
information about marijuana is introduced, along with increased social approval, teenagers are
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Figure 1: a line graph displaying a continuous rise in “Americans’ Support for Legalizing
Marijuana” (Source: Gallup.com)
likely to misunderstand that marijuana is safe just because of its medical uses, though the
purpose of medical and recreational usage are patently different.
Decreased perceptions of marijuana’s detrimental effects, while a rise in perceived
attractiveness, are associated with higher probability of smoking it. Knowing that marijuana
usage is more widely accepted and no longer criminalized, people are likely to find it more
reasonable and safer, which leads to easier access and exposure. In fact, CNN reported that
California’s marijuana sales are even more than “the combined output of the more mature
markets of Colorado and Washington” (Wallace). This indicates that marijuana usage in
California has significantly increased after legalization. Additionally, false belief that marijuana
is not detrimental adds to its attractiveness. Roditis et al. report that among 786 adolescents,
individuals whose close friends used marijuana “had a 27% greater odds of having ever used
themselves” (Roditis et al.). This is where legalization becomes problematic; overall optimistic
views on marijuana engender more curiosity and a sense of relief—that it is safe—among
teenagers, which “encourages” others to use it. This result corresponds to another research
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involving approximately 8000 youth, conducted by D’Amico et al., who report that their
exposure to marijuana advertisements are linked to “both intentions to use marijuana and
marijuana use 1 year later” (D’Amico et al.). This reveals a correlation between increased
exposure and increased usage, which starts from a positive stance toward marijuana. Recognition
of its medical purposes should not serve as an encouragement for adolescents to use it, though in
reality, it has contributed to a surge of social acceptance, which weakened adolescents’ alertness
to marijuana’s negative effects.
While many adolescents exhibit positive attitudes toward marijuana, marijuana is
undeniably addictive and leads to disorder, of which teenagers are not well aware. Contrast to
people’s common misunderstanding, marijuana is addictive, including symptoms of withdrawal
and tolerance. According to a journal article “Cannabis Addiction and the Brain: a Review,”
written by Anna Zehra et al., who are the researchers at National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism, the first step of addiction is repeated or binge usage of marijuana. Its repeated usage
causes “an impairment in incentive salient”—a mental process that motivates one’s behavior.
Dysfunctioning of this process results in the maintenance of “motivation to take the drug upon
exposure to conditioned-cues and even when [marijuana’s] pharmacological effects lesson”
(Zehra et al.), and thus tolerance. Tolerance reduces reaction to marijuana and induces the users
to increase the frequency of usage or seek for stronger drugs. This, however, leads to more
tolerance, further lessening the drug’s effects. Next is “withdrawal/negative affect stage” that
occurs when there is a sudden interruption after chronic drug intake. This stage involves
“neurobiological changes that drive the loss of motivation” and “impaired emotion regulation,”
which leads to “increased anxiety-like responses, chronic irritability, malaise, and dysphoria
during … abstinence from a drug of abuse.” It is also marked by physical symptoms, including
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“significant discomfort such as shakiness or tremors, sweating, fever, chills, and headaches”
(Zehra et al.). Thus, it is people’s misconception that marijuana is not addictive. Because not
many adolescents are aware of its addictive nature, while they are greatly exposed to it,
legalization has become problematic, although its very initial purpose was to acknowledge its
medical use. Some people might argue that marijuana is safe if one does not abuse it. However,
Robert DuPont, who is a member of National Institute on Drug Abuse, states that among
“Americans with substance use disorders due to drugs… nearly 60 percent are due to marijuana,”
and that “about 30 percent experience disorder” (DuPont). This implies that marijuana usage has
not been effectively controlled. As increased attractiveness and exposure, which are the results of
decreased perceptions of marijuana’s potential risks, raise the likelihood of its usage, there is a
higher chance of addiction and drug abuse among teenagers. The sense of relief—that marijuana
is not addictive or harmful—created by legalization of its recreational use has only engendered a
social problem of higher chance of disorder or drug abuse.
Marijuana disrupts various regions of the brain, which is why adolescents, whose brains
have not fully matured, are especially more vulnerable. An academic article “New Feature:
Cannabis and the Adolescent Brain,” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences of the United States of America, informs that marijuana damages prefrontal cortex that
is in charge of “high-level functions such as making decisions, controlling impulses… planning”
and of “defining our personalities” (Shen). Because this region undergoes the most prolonged
changes and is the last to fully develop, it is especially vulnerable to drugs, resulting in
diminished ability for teenagers to define their personalities and develop perceptions regarding
social situations. Prefrontal cortex is not the only region affected by marijuana. Changes in the
volume of gray matter in the brain also reflect brain alterations due to marijuana usage. Gray
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matter is composed of neuronal cell bodies and gets pruned throughout the growth process
because an excessive amount is produced before the age of 3. Figure 2 displays MRI images of
gray volume differences after adolescents’ marijuana usage.
Colored parts in the figure represent enlarged regions of gray matter. Pruning of the gray matter
is an important process of brain development. However, marijuana causes the gray matter to
expand, contradicting normal adolescent development. Because there are multiple developmental
processes that adolescent brains go through before they fully mature, they are especially more
susceptible to marijuana’s striking effects. Marijuana, therefore, should not be legalized for its
recreational purpose, as it has severe consequences on teenagers’ brain development.
Figure 2: MRI images of gray matter in adolescents after marijuana usage (Source: NBC
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Although marijuana has certain necessary uses in medicine, which made this problem
regarding legalization complex, it still cannot justify the legalization of recreational use because
people cannot perceive its risks. Social benefits of aiding patients proves legalization of medical
marijuana to be reasonable; therefore, it should not be criminalized for all of its usage, despite its
initiation in altering the legal landscape more positively. Nevertheless, medical marijuana should
lead into legalization of recreational marijuana because the former is to provide alleviation for
patients, while the latter is generally to feel the drug reactions of pleasure and relaxation; their
purposes are evidently different. Then why should marijuana be illegal when alcohol and
cigarettes are not? This is because marijuana has been more problematic and causes neurological
deficits. In “Understanding Rates of Marijuana Use and Consequences Among Adolescents in a
Changing Legal Landscape”, D’Amico et al. explains that from the study with 1573 youth in
California, while marijuana use was “slightly lower than alcohol use (37% and 42%,
respectively), … CUD [cannabis use disorder] was three times more prevalent than alcohol use
disorder (14% and 4%, respectively)” (D’Amico et al.). In other words, the research
demonstrated that despite similarities in rates of marijuana and alcohol usage among teenagers,
they were more likely to abuse marijuana. It is thus imperative that problematic use of marijuana
far outweighs alcohol. Furthermore, it is true that cigarettes have harmful consequences as well.
However, they do not cause any momentary neurological deficits, compared to marijuana that
brings about feelings of being “high,” resulting in psychological disturbances and mental
illnesses. To summarize, legalization of medical marijuana cannot rationalize that of recreational
use due to its aftermath of psychological and mental disorder, which are more adverse than
alcohol and cigarettes.
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Ignorance is destructive. Without much knowledge of marijuana’s risks—of its addictive
nature and brain alterations—adolescents can easily fall for sudden euphoria and relaxation
provided by marijuana. Legalization of marijuana, by generating optimistic attitudes toward it,
has created a sense of reassurance, and thereby attracting more teenagers to use it. Because the
recognition of marijuana’s medical purposes should not serve as reasons for its recreational use,
and because marijuana has imperiled plenty of teenagers, its legalization cannot be justified.
Marijuana provides temporary relaxation—that is, in fact, intoxication—only taking away our
chances to be the owners of our own lives. What we need today is awareness of marijuana’s
effects, not legalization.
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Works Cited
Charles, Shamard. “Even a Little Marijuana May Change Teen Brain, Study Finds.”
NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 20 June 2019,
This is a news article, written by Shamard Charles, that addresses the changes in
teens’ brains due to even low levels of marijuana. It is published in NBC news that
includes countless news brands that provide the latest top news. Among many divisions
of NBC, NBC News is the “America’s number-one-rated newscast”, and the “longestrunning television series,” meaning that it has been contributing to delivering important
news to American public, and thus is reliable. Charles refers to a study that involved 46
14-year old teenagers from England, Germany, and Ireland and presents a MRI image of
their brain regions in charge of learning, emotion-processing, and forming memories.
This study was published in the “Journal of Neuroscience”, which indicates that this
study has credible information. Also, Charles further strengthens the credibility and
engages the audience through the implementation of the MRI image, as it exhibits
differences in teens’ brains clearly. Furthermore, he states that 32.6% of 10th graders
have smoked marijuana at least once, according to the data from the National Institute on
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Drug abuse, which again serves to appeal to the logic of the audience. Overall, this news
article provided clear and trustworthy information that helped me to not only learn about
marijuana’s effects on brains but also see the real changes through MRI.
D’Amico, Elizabeth J. “Op-Ed: Keep Marijuana Ads a Football Field (or Two) Away
from Your Kids.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2018,
This is an opinion editorial on LA Times, written by Elizabeth J. D’Amico. She is
a clinical psychologist and senior behavioral scientist at the Rand Corporation, which
makes her opinionated article credible, as she is knowledgeable of psychological
reasonings and behavioral effects regarding continuous exposure of marijuana. This text
is intended to inform about the consequences of increased marijuana exposure and why it
should be prevented among teenagers. D’Amico explains her seven-year research project
that reveals that greater exposure of marijuana advertising to young people is linked to
increased likelihood of having positive perceptions and drug usage. She makes sure her
research and conclusion from it are understandable and reliable by explaining the overall
procedure. Also, the fact that her study involved 6500 adolescents in Southern California
makes it significant. She reported that exposure rate had increased very sharply after
recreational use legalization, and that teens with more exposure to medical marijuana
advertising demonstrated greater likelihood of having smoked marijuana and having
positive beliefs. Her analysis and conclusion are trustworthy, as they arise from her
statistically significant test. Therefore, although this is an opinion article, it is reliable due
to the writer’s educational background and thorough analysis supported by her research
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project. Through this article, I was able to learn more about the correlation between
legalization of recreational marijuana and exposure to adolescents, and its overall impact
on them.
D’Amico, E.J., J.S. Tucker, E.R. Pedersen. et al. “Understanding Rates of Marijuana Use
and Consequences Among Adolescents in a Changing Legal Landscape”. Curr Addict
Rep, vol. 4, pp. 343–349, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-017-0170-y
This scholarly article, written by Elizabeth J. D’Amico, Joan S. Tucker, Eric R. Pedersen,
and Regina A. Shih, who are researchers at RAND Corporation, is a report on whether
legalization of recreational marijuana has led to its increased usage. The purpose of this
review is to inform the audience about the effect of legalization of marijuana on overall
marijuana usage and adolescents’ views on it. Their research includes statistics to appeal
to the logic of the readers. They reported that there was not a significant positive
correlation between legalization of marijuana and its usage. However, teens with greater
marijuana use demonstrated poorer academic performance and worse mental health. This
data serves as a significant contrast against adolescents’ belief (more than 50% of 10th
and 12th graders) that smoking marijuana would not be harmful. Additionally, the
researchers revealed that although the usage of alcohol and marijuana were not much
different, cannabis use disorder was much more frequent–14% and 4%–than alcohol use
disorder, indicating marijuana causes more trouble. Because they present these numerical
data, they ensure the credibility of their research. Also, RAND corporation is an
institution that conducts numerous research and analysis, which are subject to rigorous
review processes. This indicates that the source of this article is reputable. The writers
also provide information about marijuana’s harm and benefits, which proves that they are
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knowledgeable of the topic. Therefore, this academic journal article is a reliable source
that explains a serious need to regulate marijuana usage among teenagers as they exhibit
positive views on it, even though legalization of marijuana itself has not significantly led
to increased usage. This article allowed me to compare marijuana and alcohol and
remove my previous bias that legalization must lead to increased usage.
Dupont, Robert. “Marijuana Legalization Has Led to More Use and Addiction While Illegal
Market Continues to Thrive.” RiverMend Health, 13 Sep. 2017,
This article, published in RiverMend Health, is written by Robert Dupont, who is a
member of Institute for Behavior and Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Because it is written by an author who is an expert in drug abuse and people’s health and
behavior regarding the effects of drug abuse, this article is credible. Also, his education
status, which is a masters degree, further emphasizes credibility. Moreover, RiverMend
Health has their methods proven and involves the nation’s top treatment facilities, which
assures the audience that their source is reliable. This article addresses the effects of
marijuana, and how the legalization has led to more usage, while not solving issues with
black markets. This serves as a counter argument because proponents of the legalization
claim that it will be a solution to flourishing unregulated sales. To appeal to the logic of
the readers, they incorporate statistics: 60% of the drug abuse is due to marijuana.
Overall, this was a credible source that informed me that marijuana has played a huge
role in drug abuse.
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“Medical Marijuana in California: a History.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 6 March
2009. https://www.latimes.com/health/la-oew-gutwillig-imler6-2009mar06-story.html
This article is written by Imler Scott and published in LA Times. LA Times is the “largest
metropolitan daily newspaper” in the US. It is read by more than 30 million people,
meaning that numerous people credit and rely on this source, also, it has won the Pulitzer
Prize for covering current issues in Southern California for more than 139 years.
Although it does not include a specific author, the fact that LA Times has been a reliable
source for more than 100 years proves that the information provided is trustworthy. This
article also quotes reputable people, such as the U.S. attorney and the director of Drug
Policy Alliance, which further strengthens the credibility. Overall, this was a credible
news article, and I was able to learn about the brief history of how marijuana was
legalized in the first place and its medical advantages.
McCarthy, Justin. “Record-High Support For Legalizing Marijuana Use in U.S.” Gallup.com.
Gallup, 25 October 2017. https://news.gallup.com/poll/221018/record-%20high-supportlegalizing-marijuana.aspx
This article is written by Justin McCarthy, who is a journalist and Analyst at Gallup.
Gallup is a global analytics and advice firm, which means that it is in charge of countless
data, including statistics. It is also acknowledged by Chuck Hagel, a former US secretary
of defense. Additionally, it has been collecting and publishing data for more than 80
years, indicating that it has become a reliable source that serves to inform people around
the world. Significantly, this article includes a line graph that displays an increasing trend
of Americans’ support for marijuana. The incorporation of this graph, along with the
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statistics of the percentage, makes the content more credible. Through this article, I was
able to learn about the overall trend and gain solid evidence.
NYU Langone Health / NYU School of Medicine. “In states where recreational
marijuana is legal, problematic use increased among adults and teens.” ScienceDaily.
ScienceDaily, 13 November 2019.
This academic article, written from NYU Langone Health and NYU School of Medicine,
claims for the increased problematic use of marijuana following the legalization. Because
this is from NYU School of Medicine, the audience can immediately realize that the
writers of this article are professionals, which strengthens the credibility. Their study
mainly focused on the marijuana usage following the legalization of medical and
recreational marijuana. It reports that marijuana use among teens aged 12 to 17 was 25
percent higher in states that legalized marijuana than those that did not. The use of
statistics prove their information to be trustworthy and their conclusion to be logical. To
prove that the results are significant, the writers state that 505,796 respondents were
involved in their study. They also refer to the quote, “cannabis use disorder in
adolescence is associated with long-term adverse health, economic and social
consequences,” from Silvia S. Martins, MD, PhD, who is an Associate Professor of
Epidemiology at Columbia University. Reference to the expert serves to make the article
more trustworthy. Therefore, this informative article was a reliable source that reveals
increased percentage of marijuana usage among teens and adults, which helped me to
gain statistical evidence.
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Roditis, M.L., K. Delucchi, A. Chang, B. Halpern-Felsher. et al. “Perceptions of Social Norms
and Exposure to pro-Marijuana Messages Are Associated with Adolescent Marijuana
Use”. Preventive Medicine, vol. 93, pp. 171–176, 2017.
This is an academic journal article, written by Maria Roditis, Audrey Chang, and Bonnie
Halpern-Felsher, who work for the Division of Adolescent at Stanford University, and
Kevin Delucchi from the Department of Psychiatry at University of San Francisco. Their
educational status makes this article credible, indicating that they are professionals in
conducting a statistically significant test. The purpose of this study was to find out the
source of access of marijuana among California teenagers and their perceptions of its
risks. They make their study very understandable by providing detailed procedure and
results of it in an organized manner. Throughout the article, they provide a thorough
interpretation of their data, stating that over 60 percent of marijuana smokers among
teenagers attained it from their friends. They also reported that adolescents were not
aware of marijuana’s addictive nature but perceived it to provide social benefits of
“looking cool and fitting” and to be beneficial by helping with concentration and stress
relief, which reveals the overall optimistic views of society on marijuana. This study was
significant because it involved 786 adolescents. To further strengthen the credibility of
their findings, the researchers provide a list of questions asked to participants and
statistics on them, which proves the article to be logical and trustworthy. The fact that
they analyze solely based on numerical data indicates that this study is not biased but
rather reliable. Overall, this scholarly article organizes results of the research on
adolescents’ marijuana use and their perceptions of its potential risks or benefits. It
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allowed for me to narrow my research to California and view how many teenagers are
ignorant about marijuana’s potential harm.
Shen, Helen. “News Feature: Cannabis and the Adolescent Brain.” Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117, no. 1, pp. 7–11, 7 Jan 2020,
This scholarly article, written by Helen Shen, addresses the effects of cannabis on
adolescent brains. It is published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the
United States of America (PNAS). This is a credible publication site, as it has one of the
world’s most-cited scientific journals; covering a wide range of science topics, it involves
numerous researchers worldwide. The purpose of this article is to inform the readers
about potential risks of cannabis on adolescents, although there still needs further studies.
In the beginning, Shen proves herself to be knowledgeable, and thus to be credible, by
including the explanation of the component of marijuana and the description of prefrontal
cortex. She also incorporates a previous 15-year-long study that involved 45,000 Swedish
military conscriptions. It reported that those who had smoked marijuana more than 50
times were six times more likely to suffer schizophrenia. By providing conclusions based
on the analysis of the studies, she is ensuring that her information is reliable. Moreover,
she states that there are a lot of areas yet to be researched, which indicates that she is not
biased, making her article more trustworthy. Overall, this is a credible, academic source
that reveals potential harm of cannabis usage, especially on adolescents because they are
far more vulnerable. Through this article, I could learn about specific part of the brain
that is affected and the consequences of it.
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Wallace, Alicia. “California Cannabis Industry Sending SOS to State Leaders.” CNN,
Cable News Network, 26 Nov. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/11/26/business/californiacannabis-industry-layoffs/index.html.
This is a news article, written by Alicia Wallace on CNN. It addresses California as the
world’s biggest cannabis market and its challenge against black markets. It intends to
inform the public that black markets are still prevailing, causing trouble for cannabis
sellers, even after the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. This article
provides specific dates and statistics, appealing to the logic of the audience; it reports that
California’s marijuana sales are approximately $3 billion, which is more than combined
profit of markets of Colorado and Washington, where marijuana markets were introduced
even earlier. Wallace’s statement backed up by numerical data indicates that this article is
based on facts, making it more trustworthy. She also reports that unregulated sales and
black markets are still apparent; only one in four allows for regulated retail operations.
Besides its reliable content, CNN is a reputable source that provides current news and
information, which further strengthens the credibility of the article. In short, this news
article is a dependable source that explains the surge of both cannabis markets and
widespread unregulated markets in California. Through this article, I realized that even
the legalization of marijuana could not stop black markets, and that legalization has
contributed to a sharp increase in cannabis sales.
Zehra, A., J. Burns, C.K. Liu, et al. “Cannabis Addiction and the Brain: a Review”.
Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, vol. 13, pp. 438–452, 2018.
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This is a scholarly article, written by researchers at Laboratory of Neuroimaging,
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and National Institutes of Health,
which provides detailed explanations on long-term side effects of cannabis use on
the brain and behavior by reviewing previous researches. The fact that it is
published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology by expert researchers indicates
that the information provided is trustworthy. Throughout the paper, the authors analyze
neurobiological/neurophysiological changes in the brain regarding its various roles, such
as behavior, stress, and memory, in an organized manner. This paper is reliable, as the
authors support their conclusion with the data from various studies that prove severe,
long-term effects of cannabis abuse very thoroughly. Also, the statistics, diagrams, and
figures are specific to the overall message of the article, proving it to be logical.
Additionally, the website SpringerLink is where researchers access millions of scientific
documents, meaning that it contains professional articles. Overall, this article is credible
and helps the audience realize the dangerous reality of cannabis use that is undermined
due to the decrease in perceived risk. It taught me that cannabis use with distorted
purpose can greatly harm people mentally and behaviorally.
Research Project Part One: Contexts
Two major assignments comprise the research project: Part One: Contexts (CP) and Part Two:
Advocacy (AP). This first assignment, the CP, asks you to (1) research and deploy various
types of sources to describe, contextualize, and analyze a significant contemporary
political/social/cultural problem; (2) summarize and evaluate conversations and debates
happening between credible scholars, thinkers, and organizations about your topic.
Together, the actions above comprise expository writing—the guiding method of this project—
which means simply that with this first composition you are attempting to describe your project’s
central problem and explain its relevance by contextualizing it.
Why “contexts”?
An informed, authoritative writer understands their topic in context. Context can be historical.
Analyzing the past means grappling not simply with events,
Some questions that might
but with the issues and concerns of the time. It’s not enough
help to direct your research
to read a contemporary account of the past; we must also look
at the work produced in the past—its political speeches, court
decisions, and media. Therefore, one goal of this assignment
What harm does the problem
is to learn about the historical contexts of your problem: the
cause to individuals,
laws, legal precedents, and institutional practices that underlie
communities, institutions,
its current form, and economic, social, political, and/or
and/or ecologies?
environmental trends that have shaped its development.
Why does the problem exist?
When and how did it
develop? Do any individuals,
communities, or institutions
benefit from it?
Who is paying attention to
and writing or speaking
about the problem among
journalists, politicians,
scholars, other researchers,
activists, governmental
agencies, and/or industries?
Context can also be rhetorical. We want to present the stakes
that a given community has in the topic of our research, but
we also want to interrogate the way those stakes get
articulated by journalists, researchers, and politicians. Even
within “scholarly writing,” you should become aware of how
various communities (called disciplines) frame the same topic
quite differently from one another. Identifying these relevant
communities of thinkers and writers, analyzing their
perspectives, and bringing their views together will help you
gain a comprehensive understanding of your problem, and the
authority that understanding entails.
As you research for your CP, you will concurrently develop a
Working Annotated Bibliography for your entire project
that involves summarizing and analyzing individual sources (your instructor will provide you
with separate instructions for this portion of the assignment).
By the time you complete the CP, you should be able to:
Develop effective research note-taking habits through source annotations.
Practice information literacy in the research process by locating and critically evaluating
relevant and credible evidence from a variety of sources and genres.
Understand research as a part of the larger composition process of prewriting, drafting, and
Collaborate with fellow researchers to give and receive constructive feedback on the work in
Plan, draft and revise an essay with organization and style appropriate for addressing a
general academic audience.
Arrange and integrate evidence—primary-source, secondary-source, and multimodal—
intentionally, with particular attention to its argumentative purpose and rhetorical effect.
Integrate and cite evidence in a transparent and ethical manner, using a standard citation
system. Learn how and why to avoid plagiarism and patch-writing.
Assignment Requirements
Process work is required to be eligible to submit a final draft for a grade. This may include but
is not limited to topic development exercises, a proposal or prospectus, and multiple essay drafts.
Late or incomplete process work may result in a grade penalty on the final draft.
The contextualizing in the CP must be supported by a broad and varied selection of research ,
including primary and secondary sources, scholarship, journalism, policy papers, reports, case
law, and other sources as appropriate for your topic. While both you and your instructor will
work to determine an appropriate scope and variety of research for your essay, at a minimum it
should draw evidence from 6-8 sources, including TWO scholars in conversation. Keep in
mind that the total number of sources for the entire project’s bibliography is 12-20 sources.
Your final submission for Part One should be a 1500-2000 word multimodal composition. It
should be formatted in MLA style, with parenthetical citations, a Works Cited page, and a
descriptive academic title.

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