Welcome to SEE's Reasoning with Ethics page. The following case and supporting resources (below) are provided to help facilitate class discussions or essay assignments with a focus on ethical reasoning. Ethical reasoning is one factor teachers can encourage for student character formation.
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SEE encourages the strategy described in our Reasoning with Ethics resources to be applied beyond current events cases and used to analyze relevant cases in history, literature and life.
Cases can be used as
• Class discussion starters
• Reading lessons
• Essay prompts
• Social studies, health or ethics class analysis
* See below for link to supporting resources and archived cases
April 12, 2021
Virginia and New York are two of the most recent states to legalize some form of recreational use of marijuana. They join 27 other states that have now taken some action to decriminalize marijuana.
The debate that has taken place over legalization often includes the concern for the costs of criminalizing the personal choices of individuals that do not harm others. There is certainly evidence that the “war against drugs” has been costly and ineffective. Other advocates note that you can’t stop the use of pot, so it might as well be legally regulated and have the state earn taxes on the sale.
NPR: Virginia Legalizes Recreational Pot-- https://www.npr.org/2021/04/07/985014557/virginia-16th-state-to-legalize-recreational-pot-latest-to-emphasize-social-equi
ABC News: Legal Marijuana movement Builds (1:02)-- https://abcnews.go.com/US/legal-marijuana-movement-builds-states-change-laws/story?id=76907902&cid=clicksource_4380645_15_hero_headlines_headlines_hed
ABC News: NY Legalizes Marijuana (1:56) - https://abcnews.go.com/US/york-legalizes-recreational-marijuana-expunges-pot-convictions/story?id=76775175
Imprimis: Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, January 2019 • Volume 48, Number 1 • Alex Berenson -- Essay
The opponents to legalization of marijuana point to the remarkable harmful effects demonstrated by many studies over many years. Journalist Alex Berenson writes in a 2019 essay for Imprimis, “And I soon realized that in all my years as a journalist I had never seen a story where the gap between insider and outsider knowledge was so great…Almost everything you think you know about the health effects of cannabis, almost everything advocates and the media have told you for a generation, is wrong.” He goes on in the essay linked below to describe the substantial correlational link between marijuana use, mental illness, and violence.
This is a very complicated topic with passionate advocates on both sides of the issue. Do the arguments for and against legalizing pot have an ethical claim?