Research Proposal Part I Team A Christopher Franks December 7, 2016   Introduction Marijuana is one of the common drugs used by the youths in the US and other parts of the world. Marijuana is derived from shredded leaves, flowers, seeds and stems of the hemp plant (also called Cannabis sativa). One of the chemicals contained in marijuana, called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, has a mind-altering effect (Becker et al., 2014). The chemical alters the mind in a way that changes how the users perceive the world and judge issues. The results of the Monitoring the Future Survey over the last one decade have shown that the use of marijuana among the youths in the US was increasing at a steady rate until 2014. Since 2015, however, smoking of marijuana among the youths has been steady (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2016). One of the widely held notions is that the use of marijuana among the youths increases their inclination to engage in crime. As such, marijuana use among the teens is believed to be one of the factors contributing to cases of delinquency. However, there is lack of adequate empirical evidence showing a positive connection between marijuana use among the teens and their involvement in crime. In this regard, the proposed study will seek to fill the existing gap in research through determining whether or not teenage use of marijuana contributes to delinquency. Determining the connection between marijuana use among the youths and their engagement in crime is important since the topic addresses major ethical and legal issues faced currently by the Americans and people in other countries where marijuana is used. Also, the issue resonates with the current trends in the beliefs of the Americans towards the effects of use of marijuana. Problem Statement The research problem that will be addressed by the study is the lack of adequate empirical evidence showing that the consumption of marijuana among the youths contributes to delinquency. Although the rate of Marijuana use among the teens in the US has been over the past one year, the recent results of Monitoring the Future Survey indicate that there is an increase of favorable attitudes about marijuana smoking among the youths. The results of the survey released in June 2016 indicated that majority of the youths believed that marijuana does not cause harm when it is smoked occasionally (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2016). The results reflect the general trend in the US, as the number of states legalizing medical use of marijuana has been increasing steadily. By November 2016, the number of states that had legalized use of Marijuana in the US had increased to 28 (Berman, 2016). At the same, the consumption of marijuana is still used in judging the potential behaviors of the youths. For instance, one of the standards applied during the selection of police officers in the US is that the candidates must not have smoked marijuana for more than 15 times in their lives (Berman, 2016). The standard was developed based on, among other factors, the traditional belief that candidates for police force that have a long history of smoking marijuana are likely to collude with criminals or to carry out criminal activities. Although the favorable attitudes towards use of marijuana in the US are increasing, majority of the Americans believe that heavy use of marijuana increases the possibility of engaging in deviant behaviors, including crime. A study conducted by Hunter et al. (2014) showed that there is no significant relationship between occasional use of marijuana among the youths and their inclination to engage in crime. Hunter et al. (2014) noted in the previous studies previous that heavy consumption of marijuana could contribute to youth engagement in crime. However, some of the previous studies have suggested that consumption of marijuana, in particular, is not the factor that leads to engagement in crime among the youths. Instead, engagement in crime among the heavy users of marijuana emanates from predisposing factors of the heavy marijuana use, such as poor school performance, poor relationships with parents, association with deviant peers, behavioral problems and low economic status (D’Amico et al., 2013). Thus, there is lack of agreement regarding the impact of marijuana use on delinquency among the youths. In this regard, the proposed study will provide evidence to be relied upon when determining whether or not the use of marijuana among the youths contributes to crime. Research Questions The proposed study will seek to answer the following research questions: i. Does accessional use of marijuana increase propensity for the youths to engage in crime? ii. Does heavy use of marijuana increase propensity for the youths to engage in crime? iii. Is engagement in crime among the youths that use marijuana caused by predisposing factors? Justification of the study The proposed study will contribute in providing empirical evidence regarding whether marijuana use influences the youths to engage in crime. As such, the study will be useful in reducing the lack of agreement on the issue in the previous studies. Importantly, the results of the study will be useful in responding to the beliefs held by the Americans, policy makers and members of the criminal justice system regarding the impact on teenage use of marijuana on delinquency. For instance, the results of the study will be useful in influencing the decisions of the policy makers and judges when dealing with the issue of marijuana use among the youths. The results of the study will be useful tom academics since they will be relied upon when relaying information to the learners about the connection between marijuana use among the youths and crime. Rationale The research questions stated above will help to achieve the main objective of the study, which is to determine the association between marijuana use among the youths and crime rates. The first research question will help to determine whether or not occasional use of marijuana among the teens increase their inclination to engage in criminal activities. The second research question will focus on the issue of heavy use of marijuana by the youths. The third question is important since it will help to determine whether it is consumption of marijuana, the predisposing factors, or the combination of both that influence the youths to engage in crime. Hypothesis The study will be guided by the following null hypothesis: Null Hypothesis: The consumption of marijuana contributes to teenage engagement in crime The above hypothesis is important to criminal justice since the outcomes of the study will influence the beliefs, arguments and decisions made by the members of the criminal justice system, such as judges, police officers, prosecutors and lawyers. If confirmed, the hypothesis will prove that marijuana consumption among the youths is one of the factors that have been contributing to the current and past rates of crimes in the US. If not confirmed, the hypothesis will prove that marijuana has not been contributing to delinquency rates in the US. References Becker, S. J., Nargiso, J. E., Wolff, J. C., Uhl, K. M., Simon, V. A., Spirito, A., Prinstein, M. J. (2012). Temporal relationship between substance use and delinquent behavior among young psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents. J Subst Abuse Treat., 43(2),251-259. Berman, R. (2016). Marijuana’s Moment. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/marijuana-legalization-election/503252/ D’Amico, E. J., Hunter, S. B, Miles, J. N., Ewing, B. A., Osilla, K. C. (2013). A randomized controlled trial of a group motivational interviewing intervention for adolescents with a first time alcohol or drug offense. J Subst Abuse Treat., 45(5), 400-408. Hunter, S. B., Miles, J. N. V., Pedersen, E. R., Ewing, B. A., & D’Amico, E. J. (2014). Temporal associations between substance use and delinquency among youth with a first time offense. Addict Behav, 39(6), 1081–1086. National Institute of Drug Abuse (2016). Drug Facts—High School and Youth Trends. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Proposal Part I

Team A

Christopher Franks

December 7, 2016

 

 

 

Introduction

Marijuana is one of the common drugs used by the youths in the US and other parts of the world. Marijuana is derived from shredded leaves, flowers, seeds and stems of the hemp plant (also called Cannabis sativa). One of the chemicals contained in marijuana, called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, has a mind-altering effect (Becker et al., 2014). The chemical alters the mind in a way that changes how the users perceive the world and judge issues. The results of the Monitoring the Future Survey over the last one decade have shown that the use of marijuana among the youths in the US was increasing at a steady rate until 2014. Since 2015, however, smoking of marijuana among the youths has been steady (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2016). One of the widely held notions is that the use of marijuana among the youths increases their inclination to engage in crime. As such, marijuana use among the teens is believed to be one of the factors contributing to cases of delinquency. However, there is lack of adequate empirical evidence showing a positive connection between marijuana use among the teens and their involvement in crime. In this regard, the proposed study will seek to fill the existing gap in research through determining whether or not teenage use of marijuana contributes to delinquency. Determining the connection between marijuana use among the youths and their engagement in crime is important since the topic addresses major ethical and legal issues faced currently by the Americans and people in other countries where marijuana is used. Also, the issue resonates with the current trends in the beliefs of the Americans towards the effects of use of marijuana.

Problem Statement

The research problem that will be addressed by the study is the lack of adequate empirical evidence showing that the consumption of marijuana among the youths contributes to delinquency. Although the rate of Marijuana use among the teens in the US has been over the past one year, the recent results of Monitoring the Future Survey indicate that there is an increase of favorable attitudes about marijuana smoking among the youths. The results of the survey released in June 2016 indicated that majority of the youths believed that marijuana does not cause harm when it is smoked occasionally (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2016). The results reflect the general trend in the US, as the number of states legalizing medical use of marijuana has been increasing steadily. By November 2016, the number of states that had legalized use of Marijuana in the US had increased to 28 (Berman, 2016). At the same, the consumption of marijuana is still used in judging the potential behaviors of the youths. For instance, one of the standards applied during the selection of police officers in the US is that the candidates must not have smoked marijuana for more than 15 times in their lives (Berman, 2016). The standard was developed based on, among other factors, the traditional belief that candidates for police force that have a long history of smoking marijuana are likely to collude with criminals or to carry out criminal activities.

Although the favorable attitudes towards use of marijuana in the US are increasing, majority of the Americans believe that heavy use of marijuana increases the possibility of engaging in deviant behaviors, including crime. A study conducted by Hunter et al. (2014) showed that there is no significant relationship between occasional use of marijuana among the youths and their inclination to engage in crime. Hunter et al. (2014) noted in the previous studies previous that heavy consumption of marijuana could contribute to youth engagement in crime. However, some of the previous studies have suggested that consumption of marijuana, in particular, is not the factor that leads to engagement in crime among the youths. Instead, engagement in crime among the heavy users of marijuana emanates from predisposing factors of the heavy marijuana use, such as poor school performance, poor relationships with parents, association with deviant peers, behavioral problems and low economic status (D’Amico et al., 2013). Thus, there is lack of agreement regarding the impact of marijuana use on delinquency among the youths.  In this regard, the proposed study will provide evidence to be relied upon when determining whether or not the use of marijuana among the youths contributes to crime.

Research Questions

The proposed study will seek to answer the following research questions:

  1. Does accessional use of marijuana increase propensity for the youths to engage in crime?
  2. Does heavy use of marijuana increase propensity for the youths to engage in crime?
  • Is engagement in crime among the youths that use marijuana caused by predisposing factors?

Justification of the study

The proposed study will contribute in providing empirical evidence regarding whether marijuana use influences the youths to engage in crime. As such, the study will be useful in reducing the lack of agreement on the issue in the previous studies. Importantly, the results of the study will be useful in responding to the beliefs held by the Americans, policy makers and members of the criminal justice system regarding the impact on teenage use of marijuana on delinquency. For instance, the results of the study will be useful in influencing the decisions of the policy makers and judges when dealing with the issue of marijuana use among the youths. The results of the study will be useful tom academics since they will be relied upon when relaying information to the learners about the connection between marijuana use among the youths and crime.

 

Rationale

The research questions stated above will help to achieve the main objective of the study, which is to determine the association between marijuana use among the youths and crime rates. The first research question will help to determine whether or not occasional use of marijuana among the teens increase their inclination to engage in criminal activities. The second research question will focus on the issue of heavy use of marijuana by the youths. The third question is important since it will help to determine whether it is consumption of marijuana, the predisposing factors, or the combination of both that influence the youths to engage in crime.

Hypothesis

The study will be guided by the following null hypothesis:

Null Hypothesis: The consumption of marijuana contributes to teenage engagement in crime

The above hypothesis is important to criminal justice since the outcomes of the study will influence the beliefs, arguments and decisions made by the members of the criminal justice system, such as judges, police officers, prosecutors and lawyers. If confirmed, the hypothesis will prove that marijuana consumption among the youths is one of the factors that have been contributing to the current and past rates of crimes in the US. If not confirmed, the hypothesis will prove that marijuana has not been contributing to delinquency rates in the US.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Becker, S. J., Nargiso, J. E., Wolff, J. C., Uhl, K. M., Simon, V. A., Spirito, A., Prinstein, M. J.

(2012). Temporal relationship between substance use and delinquent behavior among young psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents. J Subst Abuse Treat., 43(2),251-259.

Berman, R. (2016). Marijuana’s Moment. Retrieved from

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/marijuana-legalization-election/503252/

D’Amico, E. J., Hunter, S. B, Miles, J. N., Ewing, B. A., Osilla, K. C. (2013). A randomized

controlled trial of a group motivational interviewing intervention for adolescents with a first time alcohol or drug offense. J Subst Abuse Treat., 45(5), 400-408.

Hunter, S. B., Miles, J. N. V., Pedersen, E. R., Ewing, B. A., & D’Amico, E. J. (2014). Temporal

associations between substance use and delinquency among youth with a first time offense. Addict Behav, 39(6), 1081–1086.

National Institute of Drug Abuse (2016). Drug Facts—High School and Youth Trends. Retrieved

from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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