#3 The Devil’s Lettuce

The conflict: Different parties in our society refusing to have honest and unbiased conversations about marijuana and how that harms our youth. Messages about marijuana seem to fall into two categories: anti-weed PSA’s that talk about weed like a terrible thing that is corrupting our youth, and people making it seem like a benign, pleasant thing that couldn’t possibly be bad for anyone, that’s just your lame parents smothering you, how could weed be bad? See, these grandma’s are smoking weed and they’re fine. There are very few sources of information on weed that aren’t pushing an agenda one way or another. My local newspaper, the Addison Independent, did just publish an article about marijuana support in our community, but it was mostly about people’s opinions.

Who are the different characters / organizations / groups involved, and what are their perspectives?

Team “Weed is the Devil’s Lettuce”: School administrators, parents, many legislators. Many believe it is a gateway drug, that it is addictive, that it hurts brain development. The Addison Independent article mentioned that many parents worry about their teenagers doing it and suffering long lasting health consequences, or the danger of pot smokers driving and otherwise endangering others.

Team “Weed is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”: People who already smoke weed, some legislators, Relieves pain, stress, is fun and less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol. Many people believe that legalizing marijuana would create a new market, new jobs, and generally boost the economy. Of course, opponents argue the opposite.

There is a third side in this whole conversation that isn’t really involved in what I’m looking at right now, but is probably worth mentioning regardless, and that is those who believe that good or bad, marijuana has been used as an excuse to incarcerate people, predominantly people of color, for fairly minor crimes. Marijuana has a very long history of complex racial politics, stemming back to prohibition, and it likely plays into how people talk about weed today, at least on a subconscious level.

What unites people? Kids. There is no side in this fight that is looking to hurt kids, and a lot of people who feel strongly against marijuana feel that way out of a desire to protect them. Their intentions are good, whether or not their methods are is another matter.

What divides people? Marijuana is easily one of the most divisive subjects in our society today, and that’s saying something.  A lot of feelings about marijuana stem from the circumstances we live in. People with kids are often coming at this issue out of concern for their kids. Generational differences definitely play a part, with a lot of support coming from younger people, while older generations having different experiences with weed (the anti-war movement in the 60’s and 70’s was often linked to marijuana, giving many of our parents a specific context for understanding marijuana us that may sway them for or against).

What are your most pressing questions?

How do high school aged people respond to marijuana messaging? What are the main messages they are exposed to. How do various schools and other programs in Vermont handle drug education? What credible research do we have on marijuana?

Epp, Henry, and Annie Russell. “Pediatrics Advocate Hails Scott’s Marijuana Legalization Veto.” The Frequency, Vermont Public Radio, 25 May 2017, digital.vpr.net/post/pediatrics-advocate-hails-scotts-marijuana-legalization-veto. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

VPR has some good information about marijuana in Vermont, mostly focusing on the debate over legalization. One article in particular, “Pediatrics Advocate Hails Scott’s Marijuana Legalization Veto” really got into what I’m interested in, which is concerns about how marijuana affects youth.

 

The Addison Independent is a very helpful resource for local information on marijuana that has helped give me a sense for where my community is at on this issue. The article on a recent survey which showed a majority of Middlebury in favor of legalization was particularly illuminating on the issue.

Seeley, Heather . “Survey reveals support for legal pot in Middlebury, but town officials remain cautious on marijuana issue.” Addison County Independent, 14 Sept. 2017, www.addisonindependent.com/201709survey-reveals-support-legal-pot-middlebury-town-officials-remain-cautious-marijuana-issue. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

 

Photo by Dmitri Popov on Unsplash

Lucy Groves

3 Responses to “#3 The Devil’s Lettuce

  • Hey Lucy,

    It seems like you have got a topic figured out, have plenty of information, and the beginning of a path of inquiry! I have little to help you with as I am at a similar place with a similar subject, and I am looking at many of the same points, especially when it comes to race and marijuana. However the one thing that I think would most be interesting to explore would be how high school aged people respond to marijuana messages. I know personally every time somebody tells me not to do something I either want to do it or do it, even when they tell me how horrible it may be. Either way you seem to have a solid grasp on the project, so more power to you.

    Sincerely,
    Olympia

  • Melissa
    4 years ago

    Lucy,

    This is awesome. I love how you broke down the third category. Understanding the context of the education/arguments that are being delivered is critical.

    Even if this is not what you’re examining specifically, I think the sentiment of digging deeper into the philosophy, history, reasoning, backstory around these methods of education delivery will make your argument stronger. Even if it’s just a sentence, acknowledging the context in which a certain curriculum was developed (looking into the mission, the year of founding, etc.), will give you credibility.

    Melissa

  • You ask such important questions. You also did an awesome job about clearly showing the different sides of the topic, which helped in understanding the overall argument. This is a really important topic for people our age to tackle. The history you gave is very interesting, and I would love if you went deeper into it (at a later time, of course). It seems like you have a pretty clear path, so good luck and keep up the great work!

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