Light Up Stay Out: Target Inner City Illegal Marijuana Use


Play the part of a sociologist who has been requested by your national community to craft a letter of intent to the potential funder, the Department of Health and Human Services. The project will be divided into two parts. In the first part, you will prepare to write the letter of intent by conducting research on the social problem and thinking about how to limit your personal biases when later analyzing the social issue. In the second part of the project, the letter of intent, you will analyze the problem from a sociological perspective, outlining the influential variables and the local and global impacts of the problem, and finally suggest a potential solution.

Analyze contemporary social problems on local and global scales by applying key theoretical perspectives
• Analyze social variables and determinants for their influence in the development of contemporary social problems on a local and global scale
• Suggest potential solutions that are aligned with best practices for addressing the negative impacts of social issues
• Illustrate how the use of sociological theory limits personal and societal biases in analyzing social problems

Specifically, the following critical elements must be addressed:

  1. Introduction: Explain the contemporary social problem that you selected, and explain why you chose this specific social problem.
  2. Research: In order to further understand the social problem, you will conduct some research on its influences, impacts, and attempted solutions.
  3. Identify social variables and determinants that have influenced the development of the social problem and explain their influence. Support your
    explanations with resources.
  4. Explain how the social variables and determinants influencing the development of the social problem vary depending on whether the social
    problem is local or global. In other words, are the previously identified social variables and determinants influencing the social problem the
    same or different as the social variables and determinants influencing the social problem in another country? Provide specific examples.
  5. Describe attempted solutions to the identified social problem that failed, and explain why the attempted solutions might have been
    unsuccessful, supporting with resources.
  6. Describe the attempted solutions that were successful in addressing the identified social problem, or a similar social problem, and identify best
    practices based on these successful solutions. Be sure to support with resources.

III. Approach: In this section, you will sift through your personal biases, with the aim of limiting such biases in your later analysis.

  1. Describe how people generally tend to talk about this social problem and how these approaches are problematic, supporting with resources.
    What stereotypes, biases, and assumptions are at play?
  2. Reflect on your own biases and assumptions around the issue and how these may affect your analysis of the issue. Everyone has certain
    preconceived notions about social issues. What are yours, and how might they influence your analysis?
  3. Explain how you will use sociological theory to limit your biases when you analyze the social problem. How can the theory help you limit your
    biases? Provide a specific example.

I will also submit my letter of intent to work off of.


Light Up Stay Out: Target Inner City Illegal Marijuana Use

  1. Introduction

Light Up Stay Out is a local non-governmental organization that has been assisting people who are into drug abuse. The area of interest for the NGO at the moment is marijuana use. The NGO has taken notice that there is increased marijuana use in the area with teenagers as young as twelve years engaging in its use. Statistics indicate that there has been an increase in its consumption during the past year. For fiscal year 2017, arrests included 117 misdemeanor arrests and 3 felony arrests. In 2016, 93 arrest for misdemeanor and 2 felony arrest for possession or use of illegal marijuana were reported (Brown, 2013). The increased consumption of marijuana has necessitated that the organization focuses on addressing the social problem.

  1. Research on Marijuana Use

Marijuana use is a social problem that affects the whole world. The effect of the drug has resulted in most countries making its use illegal. However, the drug still finds its way into the countries through smugglers. The drug traffickers are encouraged to take the risk as a result of the profits accrued from its sale. The drug also has high demand, especially from the youths, thus encouraging the smugglers to avail it in the black markets. Locally, the demand for marijuana and its consumption has increased leading to a sharp rise in crime, increased school drop-out rates, growing number of single parent households, and a decline in cognitive functioning.


            Marijuana use has been made illegal in most countries due to the effects that it has on the body and brain. A person who is high on marijuana can be noticed by their mode of behavior. The common physical side effects that are associated with marijuana consumption include poor muscle and limb coordination, distorted sense of perception, an initial liveliness, anxiety, panic, delayed reaction time, and red eyes among other effects (Volkow et al., 2014). Marijuana consumption is dangerous to the body because accumulating high levels of it in the blood can lead to toxicity. The symptoms associated with marijuana toxicity include heart attack, chest pain and irregular heart rhythm, headache and high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, stroke, and hyperactivity or aggressiveness. Marijuana has been shown to affect brain activity. Regular marijuana consumption can lead to impairment of brain functioning, especially amongst the teenagers. It leads to poor judgements and low academic achievement.

According to statistics, marijuana is currently the leading illicit drug in consumption. The advances in its cultivation have led to increased potency with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels reaching 11.75 in 2008 from 4.56 in 1996 (Brown, 2013). In America, the use of the drug is most prevalent in young black men and women as well as Latino men and women. The increased potency contributes to rising cases of problematic use. Although marijuana rarely causes death, it can result in a lot of social effects. Regular marijuana use can lead to reduced quality of life on the user. It negative effect on attention, memory, and learning may lead to a reduced intellectual functioning level. Poor educational outcomes may lead to the affected students dropping out of school. Constant use can lead to addiction and the abusers may sometimes attempt suicide. Marijuana has also been shown to result in unemployment, reduced levels of income, greater welfare dependence, and criminal behavior. Regular consumption can lead to lower life satisfaction.

  1. Variables and Determinants

There are various social factors and determinant that influence the consumption of marijuana in the area. The main variables that determine its use include peer influence and environmental factor. Most youth are driven to marijuana use as a result of the social groups that they are involved. Peer influence is key motivator to drug abuse because a person wants to be accepted in the group. They will, therefore, take to their activities to identify with the group. Environmental factors are wide. People can be drawn into drug consumption as a result of its ease of accessibility. Consumption of marijuana can also be rampant to the point that it becomes acceptable. Every youth will thus want to identify with drug. Parental influence is a key motivator to marijuana consumption. A child that grows in a household where parents consume drugs is likely to be involved in its consumption too. Parents act as role models to the young people.

  1. Variable and Determinants Global

The variable and determinants for marijuana use at the global level are the same as at the local level. Its consumption is determined by both cultural and social factors. Cultural factors include social support and social alienation, societal systems and institutions, as well as social cohesion and exclusion (Szaflarski & Sirven, 2017). People who are involved in marijuana use are likely to be unemployed. There is easy availability of the drug and the crime levels are high.

  1. Attempted Solution

There are several attempts that have been made to reduce illegal consumption of marijuana. The state has strengthened the laws concerning marijuana sale and use to carry stiffer penalties. However, the stricter laws and improved enforcement is yet to yield results. The local community has been involved in public awareness campaigns to discourage the consumption of marijuana by explaining its effects on health. The awareness campaigns have been designed to target the youth.

The introduction of stiffer penalties has largely remained unsuccessful due to the collaboration of the drug traffickers with the law enforcement officers. Despite the drug being illegal, there is a high availability level thus encouraging the people to continue using the drug. Laws that target the consumers are largely ineffective because more youth are introduced to the habit everyday due to the drug availability. Therefore, the enforcement should target the drug smugglers.

  1. Best Practices

Attempted solution that has been largely successful is public awareness campaigns that are directed to a target group. The local administration has designed educational and awareness programs that are specifically targeted to the youth. The campaigns enlighten the youth on the health effects of marijuana use.

III Approach

  1. Stereotypes

There are a number of stereotypes, biases, and assumptions when it comes to marijuana use. The most widely held assumption is that marijuana has a medicinal value. According to Szaflarski and Sirven (2017), there are people that hold the belief that marijuana can be used to prevent and cure epilepsy. Therefore, there are some people that are convinced that marijuana use is good for their health (Padilla, 2017). It has become difficult to convince them to leave the habit. The public awareness campaigns are thus of minimal effect to such groups of people. Some people are convinced that smoking marijuana makes them to be hardworking. They believe that they are able to endure strenuous work for a long time. Such people cannot engage in any work without using the drug.

  1. Limit Biases

My own assumption about the drug is that it helps in facilitating meditation. I also believe that consumption of marijuana makes one to be cool. The assumptions will affect my analysis of the social problem by influencing me to support the use of marijuana.

  1. Sociological Theory

I will use the critical theory to limit my bias while handling the social issue. My analysis of the issue will be based on the need to promote social change in the society. Therefore, my critique of the society and social structures will be done for the good of the overall society as opposed to self. For example, when analyzing the effect of marijuana use in the society, I will focus on how it would help to reduce criminal activities in the society as opposed to the coolness that it creates. Eliminating personal bias promotes objective analysis of social issues that affect the society.


Brown, M. (2013). Familial, Social, and Individual Factors Contributing to Risk for Adolescent Substance Use. Journal of addiction2013.

Szaflarski, M., & Sirven, J. I. (2017). Social Factors in Marijuana Use for Medical and Recreational Purposes. Epilepsy & Behavior70, 280-287.

Padilla, A. (June 15, 2017). Study Contradicts Negative Stereotypes about Marijuana Consumers. KDVR. Retrieved from

Volkow, N. D., Baler, R. D., Compton, W. M., & Weiss, S. R. (2014). Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use. New England Journal of Medicine370(23), 2219-2227.

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