Masters Thesis

A Policy analysis on the regulation of medical marijuana in the United States

The use of medical marijuana in the United States is a debatable issue due to the different perceptions the public holds. At the state and federal level, controversies also exist on marijuana’s therapeutic value. Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), marijuana is classified as schedule I drug; meaning it may be highly abusive and has no connection with medical treatment. While the law has been in effect since 1970, sixteen states have passed medical marijuana laws allowing patients to consume the substance for certain medical illnesses. States have the power to execute these laws through the 10th Amendment. Consequently, the inconsistency of the laws has created issues between some states and the federal government. The federal government can interfere at any time with medical marijuana laws and prosecute anyone who is affiliated with the substance. In order to find a solution to this problem, the researcher has conducted in depth analysis of the existing laws and how they relate to the theory of federalism. In addition, the researcher has analyzed three alternatives and the status quo to find the most effective solution. Based on the alternatives, the researcher has selected the reclassification of marijuana to a schedule II drug as the best option. The alternative has been selected because it will create a uniform policy with the existing laws. In order for this alternative to be effective, the researcher suggests eight recommendations. The recommendations range from educating children and patients of the risks and benefits of the substance to prohibiting medically ill children from consuming the substance until more research is acquired. Additionally, the researcher advises that more research needs to be conducted on the potential effects of recreational use. This is because states may want to pass these laws in the future as it was seen in the state of California.


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