The history of marijuana in the twentieth century has been a slow process for its social acceptance. This process of acceptance still continued in twenty-first century. If we look into the history, In the 1936 a movie "Reefer Madness," shows marijuana smokers, they were portrayed as morally depraved fiends. In 1950s, marijuana was considered as a dangerous drug, people assumes that marijuana was a stepping stone towards the use of heroin and more dangerous drugs. In 1979, In a pole by CBS News, New York showed that27 percent of Americans were in favored legalization of marijuana by taxing it. Slowly but consistently, the social acceptance of marijuana proceed to climb and by the 1980s, more than 80% of high school students accepted that they had access to marijuana easily. By 1988, the Drug Enforcement administrative law judge, Francis Young said that marijuana may be the most safest psychoactive substance used by human in history. In 2009, a CBS News poll suggest that more Americans support legalization. In this poll 41 percent American said that they think marijuana should be legalized and 52 percent opposed. Most people that favor legalization of marijuana also conclude that a heavy tax duty should be imposed on it which will help government to get a good revenue which could help many projects. Today marijuana legalization seems to be a possible in coming years. Some states including New Mexico, California and Rhode Island already permit use of marijuana's for medicinal purposes. These initiatives showed up success and supported economy. Now a president who himself did inhale with governors who want to discuss complete legalization of marijuana, it seem possible that in near future legal bans on the use of marijuana for beneficial usage will be lifted and it will be legalized.
As for the legalization for recreational use seems a bit far as most politicians are wary of the topic, they are more conservative in public statements. Marijuana legalization has become one of the most popular topic for our society and media. Media is also playing its lead role for the awareness of society. Media poles also showing a shift towards acceptance of marijuana. Now experts are coming with questions as What are governments plans for failing on 'War on Drugs' as it is sucking tax payers money and in result putting non-violent people behind the bars for longer than violent criminals? Poorer Americans are arrested on illegal drug possession charges and they are unable to navigate our legal system. While some also believe that marijuana is unhealthily same as the smoking. Following figure shows the change in views of our peoples about marijuana
The study of media reports in this paper will examined that with how much aggregate levels media has cover news about marijuana and impactions. we know that news coverage on why people should not use marijuana can cause decrease in usage of marijuana. Conversely, news cover over the benefits of marijuana use can cause increase of marijuana usage. We will focus on a news that does not include such type of reports rather then it will focus on an event of capturing amount of marijuana and then we will explore different media news on same issue and will analyze them.
On Thu October 20, 2011 CNN reported a new on an arrest over marijuana drug CNN reported
"(CNN) -- A U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention officer was arrested this week on suspicion of marijuana possession after a pursuit in which he was seen throwing bundles of marijuana out the window of his truck, according to federal court documents. Jason Alistair Lowery was arrested Tuesday after the chase, which ended when he lost control of his truck and overturned, according to the documents. He is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute. Lowery, of Chandler, Arizona, appeared in federal court Wednesday, according to court records and an arrest report. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Tuesday. If convicted, Lowery faces between 15 and 40 years in prison, said Manuel Tarango, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Phoenix. A call to the attorney listed in court records as representing Lowery, Rebecca Felmly, was not immediately returned Thursday. Lowery began duty as a deportation officer for ICE in August 2008, ICE spokesman Vincent Picard said in a statement.
"ICE is cooperating with federal and state authorities in this matter," Picard said. "We hold our officers and agents to the highest levels of responsibility and are committed to supporting the agencies investigating this incident." Agents had Lowery under surveillance after an agent in the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General received information this month from a confidential informant, according to the criminal complaint. The informant told the agent of involvement with a law enforcement officer and a narcotics smuggler in smuggling marijuana, the documents said. The scheme included the law enforcement officer "using his status to assist in the theft of marijuana from undocumented aliens," according to the complaint.
The informant made recorded phone calls to both the law enforcement officer and the narcotics smuggler, and authorities learned the law enforcement officer was to pick up 500 pounds of marijuana, using his government-issued pickup, the documents said. He would then take the marijuana to the smuggler's home. On Tuesday, federal and state authorities watched as a man loaded bundles of marijuana into the government-owned truck and drove toward the smuggler's residence in Arizona City, Arizona, the complaint said. He got about a mile away and "was observed exiting his truck and looking around," then began driving in the opposite direction, according to the documents. Agents attempted to stop the truck, and the driver pulled over, but as officers got out of their cars, he "sped off at a high rate of speed," the complaint said. "While in pursuit agents observed bundles of marijuana being thrown from the truck," the complaint said. "Agents and officers recovered approximately 11 bundles of marijuana along the chase route." The chase proceeded down a dirt road along a canal, and the man lost control of his truck and overturned, documents said. The law enforcement officer, identified as Lowery, excited his truck and surrendered to agents.
After being advised of his Miranda rights, the complaint said, Lowery "admitted to his involvement in smuggling marijuana including on the date of his arrest." The alleged narcotics smuggler, identified as Joshua Powell, was also arrested Tuesday, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Authorities executed a search warrant on Powell's home and found 14 firearms that he was not allowed to possess under Arizona law, the department said. At the time of his arrest, Powell was "out on a $25,000 bond stemming from a previous investigation finished approximately three weeks ago that culminated with a search warrant of his residence," the department said in a statement. "During that particular search warrant, numerous ballistic armor vests, weapons including a stolen rifle, stolen night vision equipment, and hundreds of ammunition of different calibers were located along with significant amounts of meth, heroin, steroids, prescription pills and other paraphernalia."
In this news a U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention officer is accused of his involvement in marijuana drugs. Security agencies trace him and get him while he was trying to escape. This guy was charged with possession of marijuana and intent to distribute. Proofs provided in this news were in detail and were enough to put this guy behind the bars. This news in particular describe the importance of marijuana issue and the amount of money involved in this illegal business. Although this news clearly mark that incase this guy is convicted he could face a 15 to 20 years of impressments, this shows that laws and punishments against smuggling, selling or production of marijuana are very much implicated. This guy was under the umbrella of ICE and he was using his powers to make illegal money. In this news any event history related to such incidents is not brought into light as a good news also linked to any previous event which relate to it. In this news CNN does not focuses on the number of peoples using marijuana or any statistics that shows usage of marijuana and challenges faced by security agencies to track such individuals or network. The root cause is also ignored while reporting this issue as money involve and the large consumer base are motivations behind such type of involvement by some security agencies personal.
CNN completely look into each and every details of this news but they did not provided any opinion or any suggestion to this issue. The role of media is not only report any event but it should suggest solution to issues raised by the event. Media should give us view of both sides against the event and in favor of event, it should go in depth to the root causes on any news as in this case money attached to this illegal business attract people while its users are growing all over U.S, this news does not focus on legality of marijuana or acceptance by major part of society as it should be brought in discussion.
Now we should look in to another media report on same event by Reuters.
On October 19th 2011 same news was reported by Reuters
"(Reuters) - A U.S. immigration officer in Arizona was arrested on drug charges after leading authorities on a high-speed chase as he tossed bundles of marijuana from his government truck, state troopers said on Wednesday. Jason Lowery, a deportation officer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was taken into custody on Tuesday in southern Arizona following a 45-minute pursuit that ended when his vehicle flipped, troopers said. Lowery, 34, suffered minor injuries.
The Phoenix-area officer was booked into a Pinal County jail on suspicion of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, according to court records. A suspected co-conspirator, Joshua Powell, was arrested at his home. Vincent Picard, an ICE spokesman, said the agency was cooperating with investigators. "We hold our officers and agents to the highest levels of responsibility and are committed to supporting the agencies investigating this incident," he said in a statement. A law-enforcement task force of police and federal agents had placed Lowery under surveillance since early September following reports from three sources that he may be corrupt, said Officer Carrick Cook, an Arizona Public Safety Department spokesman.
Cook said authorities had set out 500 pounds of marijuana in the desert and let Lowery know through sources where it could be found. Investigators then watched as he picked up 14 bundles of the drug and loaded them into a truck. "He drove around in circles for awhile," Cook said. "We stopped his vehicle and then he took off." Authorities said Lowery threw 10 of the 14 bundles out of his vehicle during an ensuing chase that reached speeds of 110 miles per hour over rural and desert roads. The pursuit came to a halt when Lowery rolled his truck, which landing on its roof near Sacaton, Arizona, about 40 miles south of Phoenix. Inside the vehicle were the remaining four bundles of marijuana, authorities said.
In a separate case last week, a U.S. Border Patrol agent caught with more than 700 pounds of marijuana inside his truck was convicted in Arizona of drug-trafficking charges."
In this news by Reuters a U.S Immigration officer is accused of involvement in trafficking marijuana drugs. Security agencies trace him and get him after a 45-minute pursuit as he was trying to escape. This guy was booked into a Pinal County jail on suspicion of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Proofs provided in this news were in detail and were enough to show this guy future in stake, ICE spokesman supported any investigation against this guy. This news describe the importance of marijuana drug and money involved in this illegal business. This news also focus on the strength of laws enforcements agencies against marijuana. In this news report a history related news is also provided at the end which tells us continuity of such cases. In this news Reuters does not focuses on the number of peoples using marijuana or any statistics related to marijuana, that could describe usage of marijuana and challenges faced by security agencies to track such individuals or network.
Unlike CNN, Reuters does not focuses into each and every details of this news, While it provided another news at end from the past to link the importance of such events and to determine the strength of occurrence of such events. Reuters was unable to provided any expert opinion or any suggestion to decreases cases of security agencies officer involvement in marijuana. Media should not restrict itself to just reporting any event but it should also search for solution. Reuters report seems fair enough to give news about event but it could not be said as complete news report as it does not focus on the issue of marijuana and our society trends towards marijuana.
Social Responsibility of Media
The duty of media is to provide news with every detail of event to the people so that peoples have access to complete truth. In the case of this news media have successfully provided full image of the scene and also supported detail by the comments of informant. While all news of event were covered but causes of event were ignored by media. The news by media should be balanced and its should focus on social benefits for society. In the case of this news media was balance in such way that it was following the laws of our land and proving this news as a success of security agency and focusing on implications of marijuana smuggling, Although it is a success but the reasons behind illegal smuggling were not discussed. The main attraction in this business is its turnover which even effected ICE officer to work for narcotics smuggler, this was not brought into light by both media reports, both reports focuses on event but not on reasons behind the involvement of security officers in such actions.
Media need to work for the development of public opinion in public interest, Issues needed to be spot lighted. In this news media worked in public interest as it has describe marijuana dealer as a criminal which is as per public opinion and in public interest for their health and safety. The real issue of illegality of marijuana is not spotlighted in this new. As media should also give any poll in which peoples were ask about the legality of marijuana. Media should focus for the solution rather than just propagating issues, media should conclude expert opinion for solution. In this news media propagated the issue but does not go deep into the roots of issue, media was also unable to give any solution. Any expert opinion was not used in this report to focus solutions for this issue of illegality of marijuana. Another issue that needed more attention is that media should have to focus on the steps taken by law enforcement agencies to minimize such involvement by their officers.
Media should provide a guide line to the society and specially to youth. Media should always condemn any kinds of criminal activities. In this news media have given a clear message to youth and all involve in marijuana drugs by transporting to distributing, that security agencies are tightening their arms around them and in case of capture they will be heavily punished.
Legalization of marijuana and media reports
In this part we will take a news by CNN on June 5, 2012 about legalization of marijuana, our task is to critically analysis the role of media in legalization of marijuana.
"(CNN) -- The New York governor's proposal to decriminalize the public possession of marijuana is drawing high praise from some politicians and police, black and Hispanic activists and backers of pot legalization. "It is a step in the right direction," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent African-American political activist. But some voices issued warnings about the proposal, with one group, the Drug Free American Foundation, arguing that it is not the time "to be backing off the marijuana law." New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the proposal Monday and said the law would end a double standard that has disproportionately hurt black and Hispanic youth. In 1977, New York's legislature reduced the penalty for possessing 25 grams or less of marijuana to a non-criminal violation carrying a fine of no more than $100 for first-time offenders, as long as the marijuana was in private possession and not in public view. If the marijuana is out and viewable in public -- as it might be when someone is asked to empty his or her pockets during a police "stop and frisk" -- it becomes a Class B misdemeanor and can lead to arrests and jail.
The "stop and frisk" policy allows police to stop and search anyone they deem suspicious. In 2011, more than 50,000 arrests were made for small amounts of marijuana, the governor's office said. Half of those arrested were under 25 years old, and 82% were black or Latino. Less than 10% were ever convicted of a crime. Selling and smoking or burning marijuana is still a crime, and Cuomo is not suggesting changing that. "If you possess marijuana privately, it is a violation. If you show it in public, it's a crime. It's incongruous. It's inconsistent the way it has been enforced," Cuomo said in Albany on Monday. As a result, thousands of young people have wound up "with a permanent stain on their record for something that would otherwise be a violation. The charge makes it difficult for them to find a job," Cuomo said. His proposal won praise from some legislators, police, the Manhattan district attorney and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But some say the proposal is counterproductive.
David G. Evans, special adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation and a criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey, said the group is "very very concerned with this latest development." "This can be seen by the young people as approving the use of marijuana, and they will most likely use marijuana. Marijuana of today is much more addictive and much more potent, and it poses health and criminal problems." New York State Assemblyman Brian Kolb said he doubts legislators will back the proposal because of "pushback" from the community. He argues that marijuana possession is a federal crime, and "it does not make sense to pass guidelines at the state level that contradicts federal laws." "This is a wrong message to send across the country," he said. "This should be a decision at the federal level to be interpreted for all the 50 states." He said the Food and Drug Administration should make sure the plan follows the proper protocol. "This is not a states-rights issue. This is a drug issue. In this case, this is a controlled-substance issue," he said. But Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, said the proposal would address police abuse. "We have been convinced, given the data, that Stop and Frisk does not alleviate crime but instead increases the racial profiling exposure of mostly young Blacks and Hispanics," he said in a statement. Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the NORML Foundation, which supports legalizing marijuana, said he expects legislators to "faithfully embrace" the proposal.
He also said the proposal is "a political no-brainer" because most Americans will someday back "marijuana possession in small amounts." He said Cuomo, who might one day might have presidential aspirations, is positioning himself as the "marijuana law reformer."
Lester Grinspoon, a psychiatrist, retired professor at Harvard University and expert on drug policy, said Cuomo's move is "a step on the way of what is inevitable." "Adults should be allowed to use marijuana responsibly, in much the way we use alcohol," he said. "It's not just because it's a civil liberties issue. It is very important to furthering marijuana as a medicine."
He said marijuana has been used in the treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and glaucoma. Robert MacCoun, professor of law and public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, said a dozen states have decriminalized small amounts, usually up to an ounce for a first-time possession, and most of the legal changes took place in the 1970s.
An expert on marijuana laws, MacCoun said the "decriminalization label has mattered less and less" over time. "First, the other 38 states have become less and less likely to send convicted marijuana possession felons to prison. Second, states that have 'decriminalized' -- like New York -- still make lots of arrests for marijuana. Few of those arrested will end up in prison, but they may do a short jail stint." And echoing concerns about the stain of an arrest for marijuana, he said, "there is a lasting effect on their records, which hurts their employability." MacCoun said the "big change" over the past 10 years "is the partial legalization of medical marijuana in many states."
"Recent polls suggest that roughly half of American voters now support some form of legalization; if current trends continue, I think we'll see a state legalize marijuana soon, perhaps even this November. But there will be a thorny conflict with federal laws that prohibit marijuana," he said. He points out that medical marijuana or decriminalization can't be confused with "true legalization." He called decriminalization a "sensible reform" and not a "risky" legal change. "Marijuana possession sanctions have almost no measurable effect on levels of marijuana use. So it is not clear whether any valid purpose is being served by all the marijuana arrests in New York, and people of color are much more likely to be arrested even though they are not more likely to be marijuana users," he said. "Legalization is more complicated, because the steep drop in prices would be difficult to offset with a sustainable tax, and so consumption would probably increase." Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said, "the human costs to each defendant charged with a misdemeanor are serious."
"The simple and fair change proposed by Gov. Cuomo will help us redirect significant resources to the most violent criminals and serious crime problems, and, frankly, it is the right thing to do."
The governor's office said 94% of arrests for small amounts of marijuana in the state are in New York City, and Bloomberg, the New York Police Department and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have come under fire in recent years for the department's "stop and frisk" policy. Last year, Kelly issued a policy order directing officers to issue violations, rather than misdemeanors, for small amounts of marijuana discovered during street searches.
On Monday, Bloomberg issued a statement in support of Cuomo's comments. "The governor's proposal today is consistent with the commissioner's directive and strikes the right balance by ensuring that the NYPD will continue to have the tools it needs to maintain public safety -- including making arrests for selling or smoking marijuana," he said. "Thanks to the NYPD, our city has come a long way from the days when marijuana was routinely sold and smoked on our streets without repercussions." Kelly said Monday, "I was asked to respond to criticism by some members of the (City) Council that the Police Department was making 'too many' arrests for small amounts of marijuana. And my response to them was, 'Well, your option is to go to Albany and get the law changed.' Better that than having New York City police officers turn a blind eye to the law as it was written, and as it is still written."
And, with the backing of the mayor and the governor, it's hard to fathom any significant opposition to the proposal will arise, said Peter Moscow, an associate professor in the Department of Law and Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "It's a positive move," he said."
This news seems to be much focused on the legalization of marijuana by giving sufficient evidence. It also include expert opinion on this issue from both sides. This news report brought a clarity of mind to its reader that it is just a matter of time that this issue will be resolved through legality of marijuana as more and more Americans are favoring to lift the ban on marijuana. Another aspect of this news reports is the legal implication as federal laws impose a ban on marijuana and which put a question that states will able to counter any federal law. This news focus on the legal implications of this law but failed to provide any solution for this issue. Another issue which is highlighted in this news is racism by police which is related to extensive use of marijuana by blacks and Hispanic. The role of activists in favor of marijuana and role of Drug Free America Foundation is well described in this report but this report does not give any back ground of both. This news report is able to relate history legislation in favor of marijuana to some extent. This news also focuses on the difficulties faced by accused persons on getting jobs as they are unable to get good jobs due to their past record of illegality possession of marijuana. This shows that media has also focus on issues faced by youngster in their further life. Statistics and numbers are presented in a well organized way to show that huge number of arrest were made by police, just for having small amount of marijuana. Benefits of legalization of marijuana are also discussed as police will have more time to focus on other crimes rather than searching for marijuana inhalers, by imposing tax on marijuana government could raise much money to fund new projects, marijuana could also be used for medicines. On other side the unhealthy impacts by the use of marijuana are discussed but not in such details as benefits of its legalization. Health related issues raised by the use of marijuana, link between its usage and crime rate are also ignored in this report.
This news does not completely explain the history of this step by New York governor or any related news which link to this news. views of multiple organizations and individuals make it more like a debate to show well scenarios of both sides. This particular news shows that media has taken this issue as a social cause and media is helping in creating awareness on this issue. News poles are used in this report to examine increasing trend towards marijuana by our society. We can conclude that this news helped in legalization of marijuana by giving details about change in peoples view in accepting marijuana as a drug.
Marijuana has become a hot issue in U.S, In past decade its increasing acceptance have made it a debatable issue for society. Media also played it role in awareness against marijuana but as we have gone through news by multiple media report we find that media reports are insufficiently focusing only one sided of the event. The causes or roots of issue were ignore by media. We have examine three media reports from which two were about a incident in those we find similarity about discussing only event and not giving any expert opinion our suggestion for solution while in the last report media has focused much over the legalization of marijuana. Our media should focus more on reporting issues of such nature with focusing suggestion and solution, while addressing history of issue and comparing its present implications.
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