It's a free country, X should not be illegal. The Constitution prohibits X from being made illegal. If the Constitution protects a right to X, how can it be immoral?
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract The objective of this study was to systematically examine predominant themes within mainstream media reporting about marijuana use in Canada. Privileged normalization implies that marijuana use can be acceptable for some people at particular times and places, while its use by those without power and status is routinely vilified and linked to deviant behavior.
The privileged normalization of marijuana by the media has important health policy implications in light of continued debate regarding the merits of decriminalization or legalization and the need for public health and harm reduction approaches to illicit drug use.
The United Nations World Drug Report revealed that Canadians have one of the highest prevalence rates for cannabis use in the world, after Australia and New Zealand. Despite high rates of use among Canadians, public debate about marijuana has remained polarized, with calls to decriminalize possession and to expand medical use of marijuana, conflicting with calls for more stringent penalties for people who use and distribute the drug Jones and Hathaway Between these two extremes are those who advocate for a public health approach to marijuana use, to minimize the harmful or negative consequences stemming from its use Fischer et al.
As interest groups from varied perspectives attempt to influence drug policies, media coverage of the marijuana issue is an important component of the national discourse on drug use. However, to date, few studies have been conducted to systematically ascertain the changing tone and predominant themes within the mainstream media, to consider how these might influence public debate and advocacy for public health policies.
To fill this gap, we conducted an analysis of representations of marijuana in major Canadian newspapers over the course of a year period to ascertain dominant messages about marijuana use. Background literature Marijuana policy in the Canadian context To contextualize our study, we provide a short history of the social and legal status of marijuana in Canada.
A government-sponsored inquiry into the non-medicinal use of drugs followed these social changes and, inled to the recommendation that cannabis be decriminalized and federally regulated.
Similar government reports were issued in and that resulted in proposed cannabis decriminalization bills, though these bills did not become law. Inthe Liberal Government succeeded in passing legislation that allows citizens with specific chronic diseases to apply for permission to use government-regulated marijuana, making Canada the first country to adopt a medicinal marijuana program Health Canada This program sparked intense public debate in Canada regarding the therapeutic benefits of marijuana as well as the social and health harms of marijuana use Graham Today, although medical marijuana use is sanctioned for some, marijuana production, distribution, and use remain illegal.
In more recent years, intense debates have taken place in Canada and internationally regarding the legal regulation of marijuana. Some US states have legalized possession of marijuana and are developing plans for regulation, and countries such as Portugal have decriminalized the possession of all illicit substances Greenwald Although similar changes have not occurred in Canada, there is a thrust towards more progressive drug policy in growing recognition of the futility of prohibiting marijuana use Hathaway, Comeau, and Erickon Research about the framing of marijuana by the news media Newspaper coverage related to marijuana has been shaped generally by its status as an illicit substance and by the established patterns of reporting criminal behavior, a staple of news content in North American media Bright et al.
Charges of sensationalism are not unique to stories about substance use: As argued by Taylormedia reporting has more than just discursive effects because its representations of illicit drug use primarily as a criminal choice, rather than as a public health concern, have contributed, in part, to the social exclusion of drug users from mainstream society.
Until recently, large-scale studies focused exclusively on marijuana in news media have been limited. Boyd and Carter analyzed 15 years — of Canadian reporting about marijuana grow operations and illicit drug discourse in one national and three provincial newspapers.
Focused primarily on representations of the people who grow and sell marijuana, their analysis of the truth claims made by local spokespersons i. Acevedo analyzed media messages regarding the UK government's re-classification of cannabis in and In describing typical discourses present in the media reports, she concluded that these policy discourses revolved around a binary characterization of marijuana as either poison or remedy, and created a new characterization of the marijuana user as psychotic, reinforcing asymmetrical power relations related to cannabis use.
Finally, Lewis and Proffitt analyzed the media's framing of American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps' marijuana controversy in contrast with the framing of other athletes' marijuana cases, particularly that of US National Football League player, Michael Vick.
They found that Phelps' case was minimized and excused while Vick's situation was framed as criminal activity and proof of his deviant nature. The authors characterized this framing as a function of racism whereby black athletes' crimes are typically portrayed as an enduring trend while white athletes' crimes are treated as unique incidents.
Lewis and Proffitt argued that the news reports' authors tended to identify with Phelps and therefore defended him, and thus described an important way in which racialized discourse informed the discursive framing of athletes' marijuana-related incidents.
Although not specific to marijuana use, Manning's research about media and substance use described how representations of drugs and the individuals who use them are constructed in particular ways based on symbolic meanings and associations. Manning's concept of the symbolic framework is based on four dimensions that he argued shaped discourses about substance misuse in media: This framing of drug use is implicitly linked to power and status; for example, solvents are typically used by less privileged people Manning We employed Manning's symbolic framing approach to illuminate issues of power within news stories about marijuana and to unpack some of the assumptions and stereotypes about marijuana users that appear in mainstream Canadian reporting.
Manning's conceptualization of symbolic framing underscores how news media constructs drug users as immoral or deviant, and also suggests how different substances are comparatively more stigmatized based on the social location of their users.
Likewise, proponents of the normalization thesis within the sociology of substance use see: Measham, Newcombe, and ParkerParkerParker, Williams, and Aldridge have challenged the premise that illicit drug use is essentially deviant in contexts where prevalence of use is widespread and recreational use has become expected amongst adolescents and young adults.
This perspective helped us to probe the ways in which marijuana might be normalized differently for different groups of people. While our use of the term privileged normalization was primarily informed by Manning's concept of symbolic framing, we acknowledge the theoretical contributions of the normalization literature for illuminating the social construction of drug use and challenging punitive approaches to drug prevention and policy.
Methods The analysis reported here was part of a larger project to describe the dominant messages and trends related to marijuana in a population of Canadian national newspaper stories published over a year period. The method occurred in four sequential stages:“Gulf State Park was inducted into the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for receiving such awards for five consecutive years.” Ellis said he has been impressed with what the Gulf State Park staff has.
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