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This professional project is a series of three journalistic articles. Each article focuses on laws, regulations and social attitudes surrounding marijuana in the United States. These topics are explored primarily through the lenses of two Midwest states (Illinois & Nebraska), which have highly contrasting laws and regulations regarding marijuana. The state of Illinois legalized medical marijuana in January 2014 and recreational marijuana in January 2020, while in Nebraska, both medical and recreational use still remains illegal, though possession of up to one ounce has been decriminalized.
The purpose of choosing these two states is to show how stark a contrast there is between marijuana-legal and marijuana-illegal states, even when they are found within the same region.
The focal point of these articles is the culture surrounding marijuana usage in each state. In this sense, culture refers to the social atmosphere surrounding marijuana usage by groups and individuals– current viewpoints/perspectives, and values or lack thereof associated with the use of this substance. The project also includes overviews of dialogues that are currently taking place amongst various groups (advocacy groups, community members, etc...), as well as individual consumers and those with strong opinions on the topic as it pertains to laws and regulations in their state.
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