Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy and Public Affairs

Second Department


Reader 1

Alex Rajczi

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Rights Information

© Marion Goldberg

OCLC Record Number



This thesis provides a framework to understand and apply the philosophical principles of paternalism to determine the most reasonable actions states can take in regard to marijuana legalization. As matters currently stand in U.S. policy, states must decide whether they will prohibit, decriminalize, or legalize marijuana. First, I will give a brief history of marijuana regulations and societal perceptions in the United States. Second, I will define and differentiate concepts of illegalization, decriminalization, and legalization from one another. Third, I will summarize and analyze Joel Feinberg and Sarah Conly's arguments against and for paternalism, respectively. I will conclude by applying the strengths of each philosopher's arguments with respect to the marijuana debate to offer a policy that is both just and effective.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.