The History of America’s Weed Laws

To understand the laws regarding marijuana use in the United States, you can go all the way back to the 1800's to learn about farming hemp, or you can go back to 2018 when California became the sixth state to legalize recreational marijuana use. Learners watch a video and discuss the history of marijuana in America before writing an essay that reflects their opinion regarding the legalization of marijuana.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Use in a social studies class when researching the history of legalized marijuana
  • Incorporate into a high school health class during a unit on recreational drugs
  • Have class members complete the essay in class for an argument writing assignment
  • Expand the project to examine the number of incarcerations that resulted from minor marijuana offenses
Classroom Considerations

  • Be sure that the legal and legislative information listed in the resource is up to date by the time you teach it in class
  • Link in the resource doesn't work; see attached materials for the functioning link
Pros

  • Connects science, social studies, health, and language arts in one lesson
  • Focuses on an essential question regarding the history of criminalization and legalization of marijuana use
Cons

  • None