Federal legalization of recreational use of marijuana
For this assignment you must write an opinion article (~600 words) about a contemporary political/policy
issue. You MUST pick an issue where you can have an opinion. Your task is to write an opinion article in
which you try to convince a reader of your position. In your article you must:
● Take a position on (make an argument for) a position regarding a social, political, educational, or
cultural issue. Op-eds are not reporting or reviews of facts. Please consult the resources I’ve
posted on Blackboard and read a few newspaper op-ed sections for examples and more
● Address why your idea hasn’t already been enacted.
● If it’s a good idea (which is your argument), then why hasn’t it already been done?
● Cite at least one academic article/research in your OpEd. You will need to describe the article and
what it tell us, but the description of the results of the article will be brief
● Cite at least one non-academic article (i.e. newspaper, magazine, etc.) that provided you with
information for the article.
● Think of a topic based on what interests you.
● Make sure you have a thesis: “In this essay I argue that [insert your opinion/argument].”
● Ground your opinion in social science, i.e., back your opinion up with evidence!
If you need ideas, I suggest you look at articles or opinion columns in the New York Times, The
Economist, Washington Post or publications from think tanks such as Brookings, Cato Institute, Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities, the American Enterprise Institute or other similar organizations.
Here are some sample topics from which you can choose from or you can choose your own idea.
- Federal legalization of recreational use of marijuana
- Federal re-enactment of the assault weapons ban
- Tax reform: increasing taxes on wealthy earners, implementing a Universal Basic Income, cutting
corporate tax rates, etc.
- Federal/State support for higher education
Grading criteria (30 points total)
- Does the topic address politics/policy? (3 pts)
- Did you express your opinion? (6 pts)
- How well did you justify your opinion? The following two components will contribute to this part
of the grade. (15 pts)
a. Logical consistency of the argument
b. Empirical support for the conclusions/claims
i. You need to address why your proposed idea hasn’t already been implemented.
- Writing style, grammar, and conventions (6 pts)