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The legalization of marijuana has been a topic of contention and confusion for both sides of the debate.

by Barry Burton

The federal government still deems it illegal. Researchers like myself finally have some data to assess claims made on both sides. One of the biggest pro-legalization arguments was that states would be able to bring in a new source of tax revenue. However, the states made more than enough back from marijuana sales, since marijuana taxes are typically greater than alcohol taxes. Other states are reaping the benefits of marijuana taxes as well.

While projections for other types of goods are typically more reliable, this is an entirely new market and therefore prone to error. Well, the jury is still out.

Let's Weigh the Evidence: Which Bible is the Real Word of God?

A well-trodden argument against legalization is that it could lead youth to use it more. Researchers guess that this may be due to kids viewing marijuana as medicinal instead of recreational. In other words, if it is legalized, people are more willing to be honest about use.

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For example, Colorado teens had a statistically significant drop in marijuana use over the past three years since recreational legalization. While there are strong indicators that the legalization of recreational marijuana leads to decreased use in youth, only time will give the final verdict. The business decision-making process is a step-by-step process allowing professionals to solve problems by weighing evidence, examining alternatives, and choosing a path from there.

This defined process also provides an opportunity, at the end, to review whether the decision was the right one. Though there are many slight variations of the decision-making framework floating around on the Internet, in business textbooks, and in leadership presentations, professionals most commonly use these seven steps.

7 Steps of the Decision-Making Process

To make a decision, you must first identify the problem you need to solve or the question you need to answer. Clearly define your decision. If you need to achieve a specific goal from your decision, make it measurable and timely so you know for certain that you met the goal at the end of the process.

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Do an internal assessment, seeing where your organization has succeeded and failed in areas related to your decision. Also, seek information from external sources, including studies, market research, and, in some cases, evaluation from paid consultants.

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Beware: you can easily become bogged down by too much information—facts and statistics that seem applicable to your situation might only complicate the process. With relevant information now at your fingertips, identify possible solutions to your problem. There is usually more than one option to consider when trying to meet a goal—for example, if your company is trying to gain more engagement on social media, your alternatives could include paid social advertisements, a change in your organic social media strategy, or a combination of the two.

Lets Weigh The Evidence

Once you have identified multiple alternatives, weigh the evidence for or against said alternatives. Identify potential pitfalls for each of your alternatives, and weigh those against the possible rewards. Here is the part of the decision-making process where you, you know, make the decision. You are perfectly prepared to choose.

Develop a plan to make your decision tangible and achievable. Develop a project plan related to your decision, and then set the team loose on their tasks once the plan is in place. After a predetermined amount of time—which you defined in step one of the decision-making process—take an honest look back at your decision. Did you solve the problem? Did you answer the question?

Did you meet your goals?

Let's Weigh the Evidence

If so, take note of what worked for future reference. If not, learn from your mistakes as you begin the decision-making process again. Depending on the decision, you might want to weigh evidence using a decision tree.

The example below shows a company trying to determine whether to perform market testing before a product launch.