Example Research Proposal for report on the Legalization of Marijuana

9 November 2012

Memorandum to Ms. Holifield

From: Richard Braxton

Subject: Research report on the legalization of marijuana

This research proposal will contain five sections, introduction, current situation, project plan, qualifications, and costs and benefits.


The use of marijuana is a volatile subject to broach; people on both sides of the issue find the task of discussing the pros and cons of marijuana use a difficult one. The discussion of this topic can lead to heated tempers and use of coercive tactics to get one’s point across. These difficulties in resolving differences can only mean one thing: it is election time. However, the difficulties go beyond just personal discussions; the state and federal governments have been locked in this battle with each other for the last decade or two. During Tuesday’s elections, the states of Washington and Colorado became the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. While the medicinal use of marijuana has already been legalized in many states, the states of Washington and Colorado are pushing the battle between state and federal laws one step further. This trend is a prime example of how popular opinion leads to civil disobedience on a statewide level, and the understanding of this process as it involves the issue of legalization of recreational marijuana can shed light on the process of popular opinion driving change in general.

Current Situation

According to the ABC News/Washington Post and Time/CNN polls, the opposition to the legalization of marijuana has been on the decline since about 1985, and by April 24, 2009, nearly half of the people polled felt that marijuana should be legalized. However, these results are from a general poll across the population of the United States, and opinions may vary from state to state. Although the frontlines of this battle are predominantly in liberal states, a strongly conservative state, such as Mississippi, may hold the key to understanding how close the federal government is to being forced to change its stance on the legality of marijuana. The repercussions of this battle can be felt among America’s changing attitudes about the legalization of marijuana.

Views on Legalizing M

Project Plan

On November 5, 2012, I was assigned the task of doing a research project on a topic that was of interest to me; the purpose of this proposal is to receive the go-ahead to begin research into the local attitudes toward the legalization of marijuana. First, the report will research the current state of the movement to legalize marijuana. It will delve into the history of this subject and shed a light on why opinions are changing. It will discuss the organizations for and against marijuana’s legalization and their battle strategies. Second, the report will compare the national opinions on the legalization of marijuana and the opinions local to the University of Sothern Mississippi. To accomplish this task, I will poll my classmates regarding their opinions about the legalization of marijuana. Plus, the poll will compile other required information needed to better understand the local attitude toward marijuana in general. Third, the report will discuss the local findings in detail and extrapolate the local attitudes to the attitudes of the state at large. Additionally, the third section of the report will forecast the role that the state of Mississippi will play in the battle to legalize marijuana. Forth, the report will show how these tactics can be used to make other, more important changes in the laws of this nation. Therefore, this report will be an invaluable teaching tool for political change.


I will be the primary researcher on this project, and my qualifications are based mostly on predilection to look up the things that interest me. I have an interest in political underdog stories. Things like the first black president, gay marriage, and the legalization of marijuana draw my interest not because I am a bleeding heart liberal, but because I am enthralled by David and Goliath stories. I have done numerous other research projects in my college career, and I have done preliminary research on this topic. By the time I am finished with this project, I will have exhaustively researched this topic.

Costs and Benefits

I would like to conclude this proposal by summarizing the costs and benefits of this research. I can realistically set aside about two hours per day on this project, and by the due date of November 27, 2012, I should have over 30 hours invested in this research project. I will complete a survey of the local opinions about the legalization of marijuana. I will compare the results of the local survey with previously existing national figures. I will interpret these results and make a guess as to Mississippi’s future role in the battle to legalize recreational marijuana. Not only will this research bring a deeper understanding of the topic under scrutiny, but also this research will lead others to devise new strategies for political change. The recent legalization of recreational use of marijuana in the states of Colorado and Washington is a controversial first step that begs further research. I thank you for your time and understanding. Once you have read over this proposal and given your go-ahead on this research project, I will begin further research on this topic, and on November 23, 2012, I will turn in a progress report detailing the status of this report. I can be reached for questions or comments by email at richard.braxton@eagles.usm.edu.




4 thoughts on “Example Research Proposal for report on the Legalization of Marijuana

  1. good luck with your research! I hope you find some way to bring the history of how and why it was made illegal into your polls, I think most people have no idea of how intentionally racist these ‘laws’ against marijuana (and other illegal drugs) are.


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