Grade 11, 12 Drug Policies in America

West Haven Public Schools

Unit Planning Organizer

Subject:     Issues in Government                                

Grade:   11-12

Unit:    Drug policies in America                                 

Pacing: 4th MP (1 week)

Essential Question(s):

1. What impact will the decriminalization of marijuana have on America?

2. Why do state laws regulate personal behavior?

3. Is marijuana medicinally beneficial?

Big Idea(s):

1. The decriminalization of marijuana will have an impact on various sectors of American society (law enforcement, prisons, culture)

2. State laws regulate personal behavior to protect citizens (seat belts, helmet laws, alcohol policies, drugs)

3. Expert opinions support and oppose the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

CT State Standards (includes West Haven’s “Priority” GLES’s in BOLD and “Supporting” Standards)

1.1.7 Compare and contrast how different national governments throughout the world attempt to meet the needs of their citizens.

1.8.1 Describe the examples of laws that have been modified to meet the needs of society.

1.8.3  Analyze the relationship between law enforcement and personal behavior.

2.5.2: Create multi-purpose visuals to present information.


“Unwrapped” Concepts and Skills, and Bloom Levels (BL)

Concepts(Need to Know)

Skills(Able to Do)



  • Tenth Amendment
  • Ninth Amendment
  • Medical marijuana
  • Recreational marijuana
  • Legal drinking age
  • Underage drinking
  • felony
  • International views  and policies on marijuana .
  • International views  and policies on alcohol consumption.



 interpret the Ninth amendment                            

 interpret the Tenth amendment.

 create a visual presentation of reasons for or against the legalization of marijuana.

critique the legalization/ decriminalization of marijuana.

 analyze the effects of lowering the drinking age to 18.










Common Formative Pre- Assessment (Followed by Data Team Analysis):


“Dipsticks” (Informal Progress Monitoring Checks)



Common Formative Post- Assessment (Followed by Data Team Analysis):

Instructional Planning

Suggested Resources/Materials:

Opposing viewpoints chapter on Legalizing marijuana

Suggested Research-based Effective Instructional Strategies:

·        Debate the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, using valid statistical and anecdotal information.

·        Using the internet and other reputable databases, compare and contrast the drinking age of the United States to other countries.

o       accident rates

o       Health effects

·        Using the internet and other reputable databases, students can explore the use of recreational marijuana in the Netherlands.

·        Examine prison populations, anecdotal evidence, and statistical data on arrests for drug violations to guide students in a debate/discussion on the decriminalization of marijuana.

Vocabulary/Word Wall


Interdisciplinary Connections

Ninth Amendment

Tenth Amendment

Medical marijuana

Recreational marijuana


Gateway drug





Science & health:  Effects of marijuana smoke on human health.

Science & health: Effects of alcohol on human body. (brain)