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 This time, though, instead of answering each and every question, primarily look for problem areas where you can help your author, using the checklist as a guideline.  For example, if the thesis and introduction are perfectly fine, you don't need to comment on them.  I did highlight in boldface some areas that I do want you to specifically address, though.  I also took out the "On Your Second Read of the Paper" section.  And, for the second checklist, I'm mostly looking for formatting and adhering to the assignment issues.  Is the paper 7-10 pages EXCLUDING the title, abstract, and reference pages?  Are there a minimum of 15 sources?  That kind of thing.  And, again, you don't have to comment on every question if you think the paper fulfills the assignment. 

Literature Review: Peer Edit Checklist Part I

1) Intro and Thesis:

a) Does the intro provide enough context for the thesis, and does it establish the importance of the topic in one or both of the two ways we’ve discussed: 1) describe the number of people affected and/or 2) describe the extent to which they are affected?

b) Is the intro overly general or does it get right to the point? (Remember, no “dawn of man” introductions.)

c) Is the thesis clearly stated?

2) Body Paragraphs:

a) Is there a clearly identifiable topic sentence for each paragraph?

Does the rest of the paragraph support ONLY that topic sentence? Does it stray from that topic sentence?

b) Are the paragraphs in logical order so that one paragraph logically progresses from the one before?

c) Are there smooth transitions between paragraphs? Between sentences?

d) Is there enough evidence (specifically, empirical evidence) provided to support claims by the author? Are all claims made adequately supported?

e) Are there multiple sources cited for each (or at least, most) point(s)? For example: (Jones, 2012; Smith & Kelly, 2009). Are there any sections that don’t have any sources cited (there shouldn’t be)?

f) Does the paper focus on content (rather than sources) by citing sources in parentheses at the end of the sentence rather

than in the sentence (except when citing specific studies)?

g) Does the author editorialize (that is, make personal comments about the topic) when the focus should be on what the literature says? (This should be saved for the conclusion, if relevant.)

3) Paraphrases & Quotations (If used Quotations are used at all, they are used very sparingly!) :

a) Is each quotation integrated into the author's own prose? (No “free floating” quotes: Do not begin sentence w/ quote.)

b) When author tags are used, is the author repetitive in their author tags and signal phrases? (e.g., do they use “says” or “states,” or “according to” each time?)

c) Does the author use “The article says…” or “The journal says…” tags? They shouldn’t.

4) APA/Writing Style and Mechanics:

a) Comment on any unclear or awkward phrases that you find. (“?” or “clarify” will help your peer id problems.)

b) Diction: are there any words that sound unprofessional, informal, or less academic?

c) Are some of the sentences wordy and difficult to follow?

5) Conclusion:

a) Is the thesis restated in a new and interesting way? (Remember to avoid verbatim restatements.)

b) Does your conclusion make clear how the body of the review supports the assertion/proposition/thesis presented in the Introduction?

c) Have you addressed the implications of your topic? In other words, have you made suggestions as to what actions seem promising based on the review of the research?

6) What changes would you recommend? Comment as needed throughout the paper.






Legalizing Marijuana

A Review of the Literature

Author Note

This paper was prepared for CRJU , Section , taught by Professor .


In recent years, there has been a growing debate over the legalization of marijuana for medical or even recreational use. States are beginning to legalize it for one or both purposes, but federally the drug is still equated to heroin. Supporters and critics typically rely on a few set facts that benefit their argument, and don’t usually acknowledge the other side in any way. This literature review examines both the potential benefits and the known risks of marijuana usage. This examination is done to conclude that marijuana does have benefits but the risks need to be further researched and kept in mind when legalizing so that the American public is fully informed about what they’re putting in their body when consuming marijuana for medical or recreational usage.

Keywords: marijuana, medical, recreational, legalization, public health, laws, adolescence, abuse

Legalizing Marijuana

A Review of the Literature

Marijuana legalization is an increasingly popular topic in the United States and more and more states continue to legalize the usage of cannabis for medical and/or recreational use. Federally, the drug is still classified in the same category as heroin, which many supporters of marijuana argue against. Over time, there has been much debate over the potential for marijuana to have medical benefits or be used as an alternative to tobacco and alcohol for recreational use. Critics claim there are negative effects to be wary of, and some see it as a societal menace. Ultimately, marijuana can have some benefits but the dangers need to be further examined and kept in mind when legalizing so anyone who wishes to consume marijuana is fully informed.

Mental Health

One of the most common narratives in favor of the legalization of marijuana is its ability to benefit those with mental illnesses. However, users need to be mindful that it cannot benefit all mental ailments. A 2018 study showed that marijuana usage can tend to worsen schizophrenia symptoms and cause a diagnosis of schizophrenia in those who are susceptible to being diagnosed with the disease (Caspar, 2018). This is a sharp contrast to the typical narrative regarding marijuana which is that marijuana usage can be a valid alternative to modern prescription medications to treat certain diseases. Research such as this is useful to make patients aware that marijuana cannot benefit every condition and that it may worsen some as well.

On the other hand, those with anxiety and depression can possibly see benefits from marijuana usage. Anderson, in an article from 2017, called for more research into the benefits of marijuana for anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression. The author claimed that the usage of marijuana can benefit those who have been diagnosed with those mental disorders (Anderson, 2017). This more closely follows the current popular opinion of marijuana which is that it is beneficial to those who have mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, and may not want to take medication, or may not even be able to afford medications to treat those disorders. However, it is difficult to prove these claims with solid research, as marijuana is still classified as a federal schedule 1 drug and therefore cannot be used in federally sponsored clinical trials.

Mental Development

Despite having some medicinal benefits, its important to keep in mind that marijuana should be used primarily by adults only unless a doctor specifically prescribes it to a minor. A 2019 study showed that marijuana can also damage developing brains, and that the age of recreational usage should be increased to 25 which is when the brain is finished developing (Davis & Kreek, 2019). This is also different from the narrative that marijuana is harmless and is alarming because of the high rate of usage amongst youth. States which currently have marijuana legalized for adult usage have the age set at 21; and this study showed that the brain can still be damaged at that age.

Potential for Trafficking

As federal legalization may be a more difficult battle, individual states are attempting to legalize cannabis one-by-one to allow their citizens to benefit from it. Critics argue that if a legalized and non-legalized state are neighbors, the state without legal cannabis will experience trafficking of the drug. Kreit, in a 2017 article, argued that states which do not have marijuana legalized do not have to worry about their neighboring states if those neighbors have marijuana legalized. It was noted that marijuana is typically not trafficked because of the small quantity limit it has to be purchased in, and the availability of marijuana on the black market in non-legal states (Kreit, 2017).

Effects on Driving

A common concern which is mentioned by critics when discussing the legalization of marijuana is whether people will begin to drive while under the influence and increase the number of fatal car crashes. Aydelotte, in a 2017 study, determined that once marijuana was legalized, there was not a statistically significant increase in fatal car crashes in the few states which had legalized it (Aydelotte, 2017). Supporters may see this as a convincing reason to legalize, but the author also made a note that due to the small amount of states for which the data was available, more thorough research needs to be conducted once legalization occurs in more states (Aydelotte, 2017).

Post-Legalization and Decriminalization

Legalizing marijuana across the board is not the last step in the process. Many people have been imprisoned and given life-altering criminal records because of marijuana usage and possession, and these people need to be treated with equity in the legalization process to reverse the effects of the acts which are no longer crimes. Thompson, in a 2017 article, argued that those who have been incarcerated by marijuana laws are typically forgotten when marijuana is legalized. The article provided examples such as a law which prevents those who have been convicted on marijuana charges from working in marijuana dispensaries (Thompson, 2017). When marijuana is legalized, work needs to be done to provide equity to those who have been incarcerated under laws which then would no longer apply to them.


Marijuana is not perfect. It has medical benefits but is not the ultimate healer. For some, it offers harmless stress relief, and for others it can be addictive or aggravate already existing conditions. These negatives should not be enough to classify it, federally, as if it were as dangerous to society as heroin is. If it were decriminalized, federally sponsored research could be executed to determine the true scope of its medical benefits, as well as any dangers it carries with it.


Anderson, S. E. (2017). Using Marijuana as My Antidepressant and Now I Feel Better: A Call for More Research into the Viability of Marijuana as Treatment for Depression, Anxiety, and Bipolar Disorder. Oklahoma City University Law Review, 42(3), 335–365. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.csulb.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=133592531&site=ehost-live

Aydelotte, J. D., Brown, L. H., Luftman, K. M., Mardock, A. L., Teixeira, P. G. R., Coopwood, B., & Brown, C. V. R. (2017). Crash Fatality Rates After Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Washington and Colorado. American Journal of Public Health, 107(8), 1329–1331. https://doi-org.csulb.idm.oclc.org/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303848

Caspar, S. M., & Joukov, A. M. (2018). The Implications of Marijuana Legalization on the Prevalence and Severity of Schizophrenia. Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, 28, 175–200. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.csulb.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?

Davis, K. L., & Kreek, M. J. (2019, June 16). Marijuana Damages Young Brains. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/16/opinion/marijuana-brain-effects.html.

KREIT, A. (2017). Marijuana Legalization and Nosy Neighbor States. Boston College Law Review, 58(3), 1059–1084. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.csulb.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=123871943&site=ehost-live

Thompson, B. Y. (2017). “Good moral characters”: how drug felons are impacted under state marijuana legalization laws. Contemporary Justice Review, 20(2), 211–226. https://doi- org.csulb.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/10282580.2017.1307109