Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Legalizing Marijuana: A Classroom Debate
Discuss as a class the status of medical marijuana use in Canada and students' opinions on the topic. Find out what students already know about the legality of prescribing marijuana medically and explain to them that they will be examining the issue further.
Outline the Opportunity
Place students in groups of three or four. Have them examine the topic Pot and Politics: Canada and the Marijuana Debate on the CBC Digital Archives website. As they explore, they will take notes about the arguments for and against the legalization of marijuana.
Using their notes, students in each group will prepare a chart outlining both the pro and con arguments in the debate.
Present the resolution: Be it resolved that marijuana should be legal in Canada. Assign each group either the "for" or "against" position, then pair up groups and have them debate the resolution for the rest of the class. The group's research should be the basis for their arguments.
Revisit and Reflect
Have the class vote on which group has won each debate. Which arguments were persuasive? What other factors led to a win for a given position? Did any of the debates change your personal position on the issue? How?
Students can write a letter to their local member of Parliament sharing their opinion on the debate and supporting it with details from their work. Invite any students who get a response to share it with the class.