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Paper Topic:

Becoming a Marijuana User

Research Study : Becoming A Marihuana User by Howard S . Becker , The American Journal of Sociology , Vol 59 , No3 (Nov1953 ) 235-242

This article addresses an individual 's ability and /or desire for the use of Marijuana . It is hypothesized that the continual use of marijuana is based on three things : the ability to smoke in a way that produces real effects , learning to recognize the effects and connecting them with the drug use , and enjoying the perceived effects (235 . These factors lead to someone becoming a marijuana user or developing the habit of using

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One thing that brings about habit is consistency . People anticipate consistency in their expectations as they develop habits . An example is given here , in which one of the participants is developing his ability to properly smoke marijuana . Here , the person is affected by what his peers believe . He needs to know that he has the skills to perform the behavior , which is demonstrated in the following narrative : I came on like I had turned on (smoked marijuana ) before . I didn 't want to seem like a punk to this cat . See , like I didn 't know the first thing about it - how to smoke it , or what was going to happen to me , or what . I just watched him like a hawk - I didn 't take my eyes off him for a second , because I wanted to do everything just as he did it . I watched how he held it , how he smoked it and everything . Then he gave it to me I just came on cool , as though I knew exactly what the score was . I held it like he did and took a poke just the way he did (237 . Novices watch experienced users and learn how to get an intoxicating or altered state effect . No person continued the use without finding out how to derive pleasure from it (237 . If the person perceives it as a desirable effect , he is likely to try again . Even if the person does not view the effect as desirable , if his peer group approves or acknowledges that he was apparently affected by the drug , he is more likely to try it again .Even after he learns the technique , if he does not perceive himself as being affected , he will not continue to use it . Some continue to use after their peers tell them that they arrived at the desired affect (237 . The technique is explored . Several factors affect whether this will happen at this point . One thing is if the person perceives the experience as a desirable effect

Since this drug is not viewed as addictive by the article , the issue of habitual or continual use is explored . According to the article , the first experience is not viewed as pleasant . Some will quit after one try . Being high is thought to consist of the presence of the effect and the awareness of said effect (238 . If one or both factors are missing the person is less likely...

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