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Question:

What is the issue? Based on evidence, how prevalent is it in today’s society?
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Marijuana is used as a psychoactive drug and as medicine. It is generally consumed for the psychoactive and physiological impact like euphoria relaxation, and an increase in appetite. But the consumption of Marijuana involves a lot of side effects which include short term memory loss, drying of mouth, eye reddening and feelings of anxiousness or paranoia. So there is an urgent need by all the governments to declare the consumption or even possession of Marijuana a criminal offence. The burgeoning issue in Canada is that the marijuana laws of the country must be reformed. The article that I have chosen from The Star is based on the reformation that must be incorporated in Canada so that the Government of Canada must ensure that the police must hand out tickets for the users of marijuana. (thestar.com, 2015) The article deals in criticizing the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper for still considering the decision to declare the possession of marijuana as a ticketable offence. The article focuses on the rise in the offence due to the consumption of marijuana and that there is an urgent need to prevent marijuana consumption. Another possible side effect of marijuana is that it distorts the motor skills of the individual which can cause accident, breach of traffic rules and rash driving. All these are crimes which highlights the social issue of deviance and crime in the society due to the marijuana. (Weed?, 2015)

Sociology Theories

The scientific study of the different aspects of the society is defined by Sociology. There are three central sociological theories that help to identify the nature and explore the characteristics of the society. They are Structural Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Symbolic interactionist theory. The theories help to discover their approach towards the need to prohibit the marijuana consumption. (Dillon, 2010)

Structural Functionalism focuses on each aspect of the society from the gangs to the system of criminal justice and poses the function that requires serving the interest of the society as a whole. The article emphasizes on the prohibiting the consumption of marijuana in the country by stringent law. In this aspect, prohibition of Cannabis (another name for marijuana) can be viewed as the decision of a dominant group in this case Harper and his conservatives mainly through the delay in consideration of reforming the marijuana law of Canada and increasing the crime rates in the country by 28%. This can be explained as the comfort in a controlled chaotic situation where the War of Drugs prevails. This is the aspect that the Functionalist sociology theorist would agree and disagree with the Harper’s decision of still considering the reform in the laws.

 

Conflict theory is derived from Marxist ideology and draws attention to the differences in power. It can be defined as the state of coercion and power to drive social order in the economy. The Conflict sociology theorist would agree to the article where the editor has emphasized that the government must exercise power so that the police are given the authority to hand out tickets for possessing marijuana of more than 30 grams. But the article would not be accepted where the Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had put forward a proposal that spread controversy. The proposal was to legalize and decriminalize marijuana and be sold freely without taxes. This would be seen as the Conflict theorist as imposing power to drive the society towards social disorder. (Bartos and Wehr, 2002)

Symbolic interactionist theory deals with how individuals decipher meanings from the everyday interaction through symbols. In the study of deviance, symbolic theorist explores how people describe deviance which is the difference between the cultures and the settings in a society. A symbolic theorist would agree that the symbols created by humans would influence others. In this regard the article talks about the rise in the crimes and that the police had charged about 60,000 offence related to cannabis in the year 2013. If the individual enters a new peer group and observes everyone to smoke marijuana then they would also capture the meaning of such symbol and start smoking marijuana and increase the crime rates. (Ritzer, 2012)

Thus, through the three theories we can understand the sociological aspect on the prohibition of Cannabis in Canada with respect to the article in The Star.

Critical Assessment

The article has broadly criticized Harper and his government on the ground that he is still considering and Mackay, the Justice Minister is still consulting with the police as what steps can be taken to reform the marijuana laws and people possessing small time weeds. But the article does not focus on why the government is still contemplating on the issue. (The Huffington Post, 2015) The article did not mention the modern uses of marijuana as recreational (Koven, 2015) and medicinal drug. It did not consider the medical marijuana that the doctors prescribe to use cannabis plant as herbal therapy and can be used to treat Post Traumatic Stress disorder. (Veteransformedicalmarijuana.org, 2015) Although I feel there is a certain amount of bias in the article as the editor is constantly criticizing the Harper government on failure to reform the marijuana law. The article should be more neutral and focus on the pros and cons of why the government is holding to the decision to reform the marijuana laws. (The Huffington Post, 2015)

Conclusion

The Star has delivered an appropriate article on the reformation of the marijuana laws in Canada. Yet the article could not explore the two sides of the decision of the Harper Government. Marijuana is the thriving issue in all nations. The possession of any quantity of marijuana is termed as illegal in any regions of Canada but there are certain speculations that possessing marijuana of lesser quantity is no longer an offence in the country. The debate still continues over the confusion regarding the possession and consumption of marijuana in Canada. It was also not mentioned that the government of Canada is unfairly imposing coercion on the doctors as not to prescribe marijuana to the patients. (Tremayne-Lloyd, 2015) All these issues confirm that the confusion over the marijuana possession and consumption need to be declared clearly. The reformation of the marijuana law is much needed in the country.

 

References

Bartos, O. and Wehr, P. (2002). Using conflict theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dillon, M. (2010). Introduction to sociological theory. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell.

Koven, P. (2015). Pot luck: Canada's first recreational marijuana stock set to begin trading. [online] Financial Post. Available at: https://business.financialpost.com/2015/03/20/pot-luck-canadas-first-recreational-marijuana-stock-set-to-begin-trading/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2015].

Ritzer, G. (2012). The Wiley-Blackwell companion to sociology. Malden, MA: John Wiley.

The Huffington Post, (2015). Constitutional Challenge Of Canada's Medical Pot Laws Underway. [online] Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/02/23/medical-marijuana-canada_n_6736312.html [Accessed 23 Mar. 2015].

The Huffington Post, (2015). Looser Pot Laws Still On Table: MacKay. [online] Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/08/19/peter-mackay-pot-marijuana-laws_n_5692163.html [Accessed 23 Mar. 2015].

thestar.com, (2015). Reform our dopey marijuana laws: Editorial | Toronto Star. [online] Available at: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/03/10/reform-our-dopey-marijuana-laws-editorial.html [Accessed 23 Mar. 2015].

Tremayne-Lloyd, T. (2015). Government Is Placing An Unfair Burden on Doctors Who Prescribe Marijuana. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tracey-tremaynelloyd/medical-marijuana_b_6317808.html [Accessed 23 Mar. 2015].

Veteransformedicalmarijuana.org, (2015). General use of cannabis for PTSD Symptoms | VMCA. [online] Available at: https://veteransformedicalmarijuana.org/content/general-use-cannabis-ptsd-symptoms [Accessed 23 Mar. 2015].

Weed?, W. (2015). The Law – Answering Questions About Marijuana. [online] Whataboutweed.org. Available at: https://whataboutweed.org/?page_id=185 [Accessed 23 Mar. 2015].

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