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Legalizing Marijuana in the state of Massachusetts (Essay Sample)


College Writing II


Research Paper: Writing an Argument

6-8 pages


Purpose:  To argue your stance on a topic of your choice, supported by research.


Objectives:  In completing this assignment/unit, students will:

  • Learn how to choose a topic appropriate to the scope of the assignment
  • Conduct preliminary research
  • Keep accurate record of research/notes
  • Develop an argumentative thesis
  • Practice the methods of argumentation and persuasion
  • Practice addressing counterarguments
  • Use a variety of sources to support the paper, including academic, peer-reviewed research
  • Evaluate source material
  • Utilize library services on and off campus
  • Use MLA method of citations correctly



Assignment Steps & Due Dates:

  1. Choose a topic.  Think about issues/ideas that you have a strong opinion on or are passionate about.  Conduct some prewriting and preliminary research to see what you can find on your topic.  Keep track of all possible sources and citation information as you go.  *Off-limit topics: drinking age, abortion, and the death penalty.  You should begin working on this step immediately after receiving the assignment.  Please feel free to run preliminary topic ideas by me prior to working on the proposal. 


  1. Argument Paper Proposal  Due: Wed, 3/26 (to Blackboard under Homework Assignments)


  1. Once your proposal is approved, you should continue your research and plan your paper.  You should strongly consider creating an outline for yourself to follow.  Then begin drafting the paper. 


  1. A full draft of your research paper is due Wed, 4/9 by class time (bring a PRINTED OUT copy to class with you to turn in!).  I will review your papers and prepare commentary on them to be discussed during individual conferences. 


  1. Individual Conferences will be held on Mon, 4/14 and Wed, 4/16.


  1. Peer Workshops: Wed, 4/23.  Please bring 2 copies of your revised paper with you to this class meeting.  Your goal is to have revised based on what we discussed in your conference and then get feedback from your peers on your revisions.


  1. Final Draft Due: Tues, 4/28 (submit to Blackboard by class time)


Sources: Minimum of 7, 4 of which must be academic, peer-reviewed journal articles; all website/other sources must be credible


Essay Format:  This is a formal essay; you will utilize 3rd person point of view only.  The essay should adhere to MLA format, be logically written and supported, and connections between ideas and research conducted should be evident and clear to the reader.  Grammar and spelling, as in all essays, do count!


Course title:
Legalizing marijuana in the state of Massachusetts
In this paper, the purpose is to provide a comprehensive discussion regarding the legalization of marijuana in the state of Massachusetts. The state of Massachusetts strongly supports marijuana reform. In this state, over twenty marijuana dispensaries have been approved to be launched as major strides are being undertaken in the United States to make legal the weed that was once vilified. The state is joining twenty other states across the country that permit the usage of marijuana for medical reasons (Bednar 27). Voters in the state, in 2012, endorsed the usage of medical cannabis for over 34 dispensaries, although not over 5 are to be situated within any one county. A lot of potential users of medical marijuana feel happy since they would have alternative options to pain management. Many people believe that dispensaries would offer several choices that would be certified and safe, and not originating from the black market. Nonetheless, the Massachusetts Medical Society is cautioning that there is insufficient scientific information confirming that medical marijuana is effective or safe (Zemel 56). Although the state has legalized the substance for dispensaries to open for medical reasons, the push for recreational use is a very dissimilar case. In the state of Massachusetts, marijuana substance is quickly rising, and this is largely contributed by the voter-initiative process of the state's residents. It is noteworthy that in the last 6 years, Massachusetts voters endorsed 2 ballot questions on the substance. A 2012 measure permitted the usage of the substance as medicine. Four years earlier, a measure eliminated criminal penalties for the possession of little quantities of the substance (Sullum 25). Certainly, the drinking of wine on sidewalks or restaurant patios might still be subject to lengthy negotiations with neighbors, and the smoking of cigarettes might currently be prohibited in public parks of Boston. Nonetheless, that other funny smell that one detects across Boston is precisely what one thinks it is: many people smoke a lot of weed publicly in the state of Massachusetts (Bednar 28).
Activists of the legalization of marijuana have their eyes on the state of Massachusetts for the upcoming elections in the year 2016. This might be the year that the residents of this state will make their last push for the full legalization of marijuana. In the year 2008, voters in this state decriminalized the possession of little quantities of marijuana. This made the possession of less than an ounce of the drug punishable by a fine of $100 (Ross 36). The Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, in the year 2012, passed with 63 percent of the vote. This made the state the 18th one in the country to legalize medical marijuana. In 2013 November, Bay State Repeal filed the paperwork aimed at putting the legalization of marijuana on the ball...
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