Marijuana Legalization in 5 Policy Frameworks Essay

Marijuana Legalization in 5 Policy Frameworks Essay

The legalization of marijuana is still one of the debatable issues at the federal and state levels. People have different views on the matter, which results in quite a challenging legal environment. For instance, the use of marijuana is prohibited at the federal level while the recreational and medical use of this substance, as well as its production, transportation, and sale, is legal (in different forms) in 29 states (“State Marijuana Laws in 2018 Map,” 2018). Many factors affect the legislative process. It is possible to apply such models of policy frameworks as Interest Group Theory, Institutional Rational Choice, Advocacy Coalition, Social Construction and Multiple Streams framework to understand possible outcomes of the ongoing discussion.

One of the basic models of policy frameworks is Interest Group Theory. When applied to the legislation in question, it is possible to note that interested groups call for action, create organizations, draw public attention to the problem (Weimer & Vining, 2017). The medical use of marijuana can be regarded as an illustration of this approach. People participated in marches, addressed policymakers, and used different instruments to facilitate the discussion in order to contribute to the legalization of cannabis for medical use (Fuller, 2018). This model can also be effective when applied to policymaking related to the production and sale of the weed as entrepreneurs can become the force that will advance the matter.

Institutional Rational Choice model is concerned with the impact of rules and conventions existing at different levels on the legislative process (Weimer & Vining, 2017). This framework can help in understanding such aspects as recreational and medical use, sales and production, negative outcomes of the use of this substance. Chilkoti (2017) points at the opposing views on the recreational use of marijuana in different states. People have strong beliefs that weed has detrimental effects on individuals’ and public health. Policymakers and authorities, as well as ordinary people, fear that even partial marijuana legalization can lead to the rise of unlawful behavior (illegal production and sale). These views have an influence on the process of legalization, which is very slow in many states. However, this model is the least influential when applied to the legislation in question.

Advocacy coalition framework concentrates on the change within subsystems. The focus is on core and secondary values are (Weimer & Vining, 2017). When applied to the legislation in question, the policies and beliefs on the overall use of marijuana interact with views on health and economic outcomes of marijuana legalization. Social construction framework is associated with the focus on groups and power they have. For instance, the legalization of marijuana is desirable for people with chronic conditions, so the legislative process leads to a significant liberalization due to the significant power of voters. Small businesses are also likely to contribute to the legalization of marijuana (at least, at the state level) as this group has meaningful political power.

At the same time, Multiple Streams Framework is likely to have the most impact on the legislation. This model implies the focus on such domains (called streams) as issue, policy, and political (Weimer & Vining, 2017). It is believed that three major powers affect the legislative process. The problem stream is an array of events and issues the society has to face. For example, the current opioid use problem can lead to the development of a more favorable public view of marijuana. Moreover, financial constraints the country faces can make people consider legalization as a way to bring more funds to the budget. However, the alarming rate of car accidents involving substance abuse still makes people and policymakers cautious (Chilkoti, 2017). Therefore, the production of cannabis is likely to remain the industry for small enterprises rather than big industries that facilitate the consumption of products. Marijuana will be grown in some confined spaces so that its consumption could remain under control especially when it comes to younger generations.

Policy streams will also have a considerable effect on the legislation. The existing regulations on cannabis production and sales, as well as its use, have proved to be effective in many settings, which makes many states to be more liberal (Fuller, 2018). However, the ate of young people using this substance and abusing it will make policymakers introduce stricter regulations. Various restrictions associated with packaging and advertising will be imposed to divert young people form weed. The political streams also have an impact on the legislative process. The prevalence of Republicans in the US Congress, as well as a Republican as the president, is likely to result in stricter regulations and more bans related to marijuana use, production, transportation, and sales.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that the Multiple Streams Framework has the greatest influential impact on marijuana legislation. This paradigm is associated with the effects of three domains that shape the process of marijuana legalization. Some events, existing policies and possible alternatives, as well as political domain, influence the legislation under analysis. First, people face certain issues (health issues, economic constraints, and new market potential, the war on drugs, and so on). The existing policies (that have proved to be effective in other countries or other states) are reviewed and considered. Finally, the political agenda and people’s views existing in different states shape the process of weed legalization.


Chilkoti, A. (2017). States keep saying yes to marijuana use. Now comes the federal no. The New York Times. Web.

Fuller, T. (2018). Recreational pot is officially legal in California. The New York Times. Web.

State marijuana laws in 2018 map. (2018). Governing. Web.

Weimer, D. L., & Vining, A. R. (2017). Policy analysis: Concepts and practice (6th ed.). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

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