Legalizing Marijuana by Margaret Goldstein

Legalizing Marijuana Promises and Pitfalls by Margaret Goldstein. November 1, 2016. Twenty-First Century Books, 104 p. ISBN: 9781467792431.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 1310.

With the increase in states legalizing marijuana, understanding the debate about marijuana is more important than ever. Learn about the movement to legalize, the arguments on each side, and what it means for patients, state economies, and legal systems. Examine issues including the history of the movement toward legalization in the United States, efforts toward legalization around the globe, the risks/benefits of marijuana use, how it works in the body, safety regulations, economic impact of legalization, problems surrounding patchwork legalization across the nation, and the dark side of marijuana: addiction.



Booklist (October 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 4))
Grades 7-12. When five-year-old Charlotte Figi began eating oil derived from cannabis, she became Colorado’s youngest medical marijuana patient, and her symptoms caused by Dravet syndrome (a rare, life-threatening form of epilepsy) dramatically improved. After describing Charlotte’s case, the author provides a thorough overview of the controversies surrounding the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. Goldstein not only briefly explains the drug’s medicinal uses throughout world history but also its role in American history, particularly in the War on Drugs and its classification as a Schedule 1 drug (considered the most dangerous). The balanced text then focuses on a series of conflicting issues, including such discrepancies as state-legalized marijuana versus federal laws that still consider it an illegal substance; marijuana’s medicinal effects versus problems with FDA approval; and inconsistent potency. Useful for debates, the book gives myriad pros and cons of legalization through the lenses of advocates and protesters. A final chapter even considers the unique business of “ganjapreneurs” who produce and sell legalized marijuana. A thoughtful presentation of the lows—and highs—of legalized marijuana.

School Library Journal (August 1, 2016)
Gr 9 Up-This book outlines the history of marijuana cultivation and use, describes current attitudes toward marijuana, and details the movement toward legalization. While this is a worthwhile resource for students researching controversial issues, the text does tend to promote only one side of the issue (the legal use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes as well as the cultivation of related hemp materials). The “pitfalls” alluded to in the title are mostly frustrations with the slow pace of legalization rather than arguments against legalization. Much of the evidence provided here is anecdotal, with some historical, political, and empirical evidence. Goldstein notes the lack of scientific and thorough studies as one of the frustrations facing the pro-marijuana movement, though it is unclear if additional studies would support legalization. There are some instances where the text seems contradictory. For example, the majority of the work emphasizes the minimal dangers of marijuana use, whereas the “Proceed with Caution” chapter notes the possible permanent neurological damage in younger users. Still, the research is rigorous, complete, and an effective defense of the book’s thesis. VERDICT Used in conjunction with other resources, this will be a useful addition for high school research collections.-Paige Rowse, Needham High School, MA

About the Author

Margaret J. Goldstein was born in Detroit and graduated from the University of Michigan. She is an editor and the author of many books for young readers. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Teacher Resources

Marijuana Legalization Debate Activity

Around the Web

Legalizing Marijuana on Amazon

Legalizing Marijuana on JLG

Legalizing Marijuana on Goodreads




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