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Medical Marijuana Essay Essay

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Marijuana Madness: A Look at Organizational Implications

After the release of the film “Reefer Madness” in 1936 and all of the horrible things marijuana is purported to make a person do, who would have thought marijuana would ever gain legal status anywhere in the U.S.? It only took 76 years but on November 6th, 2012 marijuana became legal for recreational use in two states: Colorado and Washington. This report aims to analyze the many organizational aspects that need to be established in order to facilitate the growth, distribution, regulation, and the effects on both our economy and the people who will be using marijuana in those two states.

In Washington State, agriculture already accounts for $8 billion in revenue with about 40,000 farms. As of December 6th, applications for marijuana growing permits had not yet been made available to those who have gone to apply and none of the members of the Washington Farm Bureau have any plans to enter their farms into the marijuana growing business ( Most of these members have good reason, as the Justice Department and the federal government have remained silent on whether they intend to fight the newly enacted law, considering that although it is legal at the state level, it is still classified as a schedule 1 substance and growers, traffickers, or those in possession can still be federally prosecuted.

Marijuana plants in Washington would have to be grown indoors, in a secure environment with special lighting. Since it will cost more money for this lighting through electricity bills and the additional fans and ventilation needed, this makes for a more expensive crop. Some of the other types of crops that a farmer could typically plant and yield the same amount of bounty for equal or more of a profit would be much more appealing than a venture into marijuana growing. In Colorado, the recently passed marijuana law called Amendment 64 goes into effect on January 6th, 2013 since there is a 30 day waiting period. In this state, a person who is 21 years of age or older is permitted to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed dispensary, as well as grow up to 6 plants at their residence for personal use (

Since marijuana legalization is a new concept in our country it will be important to attempt to establish a model for its growth pattern to ensure a smooth transition from non-existence to today. Greiner’s Model of Organizational Growth shows that “If organizations do model themselves on one another in this way, it follows that both the imitators and the imitated encounter similar kinds of strategic and structural problems as they grow over the life cycle” (Jones 316). With that being said, it only makes sense to use another, similar model as an example of growth for marijuana: alcohol consumption.

The stages of Greiner’s Model of Organizational Growth are Stage 1: Growth through Creativity, Stage 2: Growth through Direction, Stage 3: Growth through Delegation, Stage 4: Growth through Coordination, and Stage 5: Growth through Collaboration (Jones 316-320). The first stage of Greiner’s model is the most important to the beginning and start-up of the marijuana growth and trade in both Colorado and Washington. The entrepreneurs who begin their businesses need to be creative in the ways that they advertise their products and reach new potential markets of people who may be interested in trying this drug. The average person who smokes marijuana now will probably be an easy catch, but getting new clientele from the rest of the legal population may prove more difficult.

According to Jones, “the availability of resources determines the number of organizations in a population” and “the amount of resources in an environment limits population density”, thus are making one wonder how many of these farms are going to be able to exist in either state (310). Since this is referring to business structures with products that are already in existence and being bought and sold, other factors need to be considered when comparing the marijuana growing business with alcohol manufacturing.

From 1920 until 1933, alcohol manufacturing, sale, and consumption were prohibited under the 18th amendment. Bootleggers began importing alcoholic beverages from bordering countries to sustain the demand for the drink and thus a black market was created. When alcohol became legal again in 1933, distilleries were licensed and established and the normal production and sale resumed. The black market all but vanished because most any alcoholic drink could be attained through a legal transaction. Since growing, selling and possessing marijuana was illegal from 1937 until just last month in the U.S., many black markets and “trade routes” currently exist to import it into the country, however, since it is only legal in two states, this brings our organizational structure into a gray area.

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