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Use of Persuasion in Legalization of Marijuana Issue

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    This age of technological advancement and media has brought with it several issues of controversy not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world. Political issues such as immigration, social issues, rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) to bring up children, and the legalization of marijuana are issues arousing strong debate among the citizens of the United States. In this issue analysis essay, the area of focus is on the controversy over the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. This is one issue that has seen the nation also divided in two with those proponents for the legalization of marijuana arguing by financial benefits while the opponents are clinging on to the health and social issues surrounding the use of marijuana. In this issue analysis, it is evident that advocates of the legalization of marijuana have used persuasion effectively that has changed the ideology of the society.

    The Issue at Stake and Parties Involved

    The controversial issue on the legalization of marijuana has been a topic of hassle and debate for as long as I can remember and honestly needs to come to an end. This issue has become more complex and complicated over the past few years. This is due to the fact that after considering marijuana illegal for so long, today, 29 out of 50 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Michigan is currently, one of the 29 states, that legally use medical marijuana. However according to Carmody, of the Michigan radio, the marijuana advocates are waiting closely for the legislation to decide on whether to join the other 9 states, that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in addition to medical; e.g.: California, Maine, Oregon, and Colorado.

    The parties in this issue, are divided in two groups, those in favor of the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes and those who are against it. Many Americans view legalization of marijuana for medical reasons as favorable, including members of the medical community and Congress. Studies have shown that medical marijuana can treat symptoms caused by diseases, such as HIV, AIDS, and cancer. Medical marijuana is administered to patients to eliminate vomiting episodes and to decrease nausea, especially when caused by chemotherapy in cancer patients. Also, “Marijuana can relieve the spasticity of the muscles that is sometimes associated with multiple sclerosis and paralysis (Morrow).” The party against legalizing marijuana claim that there could be an increase in health issues from the use of marijuana and that the health issues that could come with the use of marijuana have not been fully tested. This controversy is unique in so many ways, simply because it has involved lawmakers, medical professionals, and the consumers, and each party involved has a different view, or outlook on this unique controversy.

    To Which Extent Has Rational, Motivational and Credibility

    Based Persuasion Been Used

    The proponents and opponents of this argument somewhat use motivational persuasion in the process of relaying to people the convincing factors included within this complex issue. ‘This approach has been found mainly with the proponents who intended to make the public feel that the opponents are only opposed to the legalization of marijuana out of emotions but not out of research’ (Jones and Simons 311). It seems to me that both parties have used the rational persuasion approach, and that is somewhat the most logical approach. With that being said, it is obvious due to the many competitive articles that are online and that are in magazines, relaying information in regard to the health impacts, dangers, and the benefits of marijuana. As mentioned by Bochers, in our text book, the media, and its use has influenced persuasion in many aspects, and this issue is one of them.

    Also, our text book specifically states how hard it is to flee media, in contemporary society nowadays. The two parties involved in these complex issues have therefore decided to use the media as a means, and mode to make their facts known, and to make sure the facts, logic, and ideas are passed along, and shared amongst others. In this issue, the media has proven to be the best source of Rational persuasion. In the media, anyone for this cause will always give facts, ideas, and data to prove their point as to why legalizing marijuana for recreational use is a plus, also anyone who is against legalizing is will simply state the facts, give data, and ideas as to why it shouldn’t be legalized, is rational persuasion as well. Finally, since this complex issue is still pending legalization in many states, both parties are using credibility based persuasion, such as qualitative and quantitative data, due to the fact that each side will speak their case, and try to convince us why their data is credible.

    Impact of Persuasion on the Citizens

    Those in support of legalization of marijuana as mentioned have used rational, credible, and motivational persuasion approaches, it has worked well in changing people’s thinking regarding marijuana. In other words, instead of people thinking that marijuana is a hard drug that is considered illegal, people have shifted their thoughts and look at the drug as usable and capable of treating people. The persuasion has also encouraged citizens to think critically regarding cannabis hence dispelling the popular belief in it being an illegal and harmful drug. The two major social impacts due to this persuasion are the ideological change in the way that people see marijuana.

    Secondly, marijuana is becoming increasingly popular, and in some cases, people have begun using it for medicine or recreational purposes. According to Borchers, in our text of Chapter. 5, I believe audience analysis was used as a mode to grab the audience’s attention, and better persuade them. Audience analysis is the process persuaders use, in which they separate their target audience and block them into very small groups, and survey them and adjust the message to meet their needs. When someone is trying to convince a group, they will always give them the facts, and statistics they want to hear. Those for it, will simply want to hear the benefits, and those against it will simply want to hear the cons. The persuaders in this case are willingly able to adapt to the needs of the audience. (Borchers). Also, Segmenting Internet audiences was a strategy that was used in this case. According to our text, Borchers states that due to data collection, the internet offers persuaders a lot of different chances to understand the audience.


    The debate concerning the legalization of marijuana has existed for a long time, but it has become even more of a concern after some states have legalized cannabis. Using persuasion, the proponents of the legalization have convinced the public of the benefits of using marijuana. Social media has been a tool that the opponents and proponents have both used. The proponents of the legalization of marijuana have succeeded and seem to have outdone the opponents. Currently, the public view Marijuana not as a drug but as a recreational substance and a source of medicine for the community.



    • Borchers, T. A. “Persuasion in the media age” (3rd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2013 (13-digit ISBN: 978-1-57766-826-8, 10-digit ISBN: 1-57766-826-X).
    • Dainton, Marianne, and Elaine D. Zelley. “Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life: A Practical Introduction.” Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications, 2011. Print. 103 – 150
    • Jones, J. G., and H. W. Simons. Persuasion in Society. Taylor and Francis, 2017.pp 311 – 402Morrow, Angela. “The Debate Over the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Use.” Verywell Health, Verywellhealth, 2 May 2018,
    • Carmody, Steve. “Marijuana Advocates ‘Closely’ Watching Michigan Lawmakers as Deadline Approaches.” Michigan Radio, 4 June 2018,

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