|VIII. Addendum: The Principles of Responsible Use
At NORML, we believe that marijuana smokers, like those who drink alcohol, have a
responsibility to behave appropriately and to assure that their recreational drug use is
conducted in a responsible manner. Neither marijuana smoking nor alcohol consumption is
ever an excuse for misconduct of any kind, and both smokers and drinkers must be held to
the same standard as all Americans.
The NORML Board of Directors recently issued
the following statement entitled "Principles of Responsible Marijuana Use,"
which defines the conduct which we believe any responsible adult marijuana smoker should
I. ADULTS ONLY
Marijuana consumption is for adults only. It is
irresponsible to provide cannabis to children. Many things and activities are suitable for
young people, but others absolutely are not. Children do not drive cars, enter into
contracts, or marry, and they must not use drugs. As it is unrealistic to demand lifetime
abstinence from cars, contracts and marriage, however, it is unrealistic to expect
lifetime abstinence from all intoxicants, including alcohol. Rather, our expectation and
hope for young people is that they grow up to be responsible adults. Our obligation to
them is to demonstrate what that means.
II. NO DRIVING
The responsible marijuana consumer does not
operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery impaired by marijuana, nor impaired
by any other substance or condition, including some medicines and fatigue. Although
marijuana is said by most experts to be safer than alcohol and many prescription drugs
with motorists, responsible marijuana consumers never operate motor vehicles in an
impaired condition. Public safety demands not only that impaired drivers be taken off the
road, but that objective measures of impairment be developed and used, rather than
III. SET AND SETTING
The responsible marijuana user will carefully
consider his/her set and setting, regulating use accordingly. "Set" refers to
the consumer's values, attitudes, experience and personality, and "setting"
means the consumer's physical and social circumstances. The responsible cannabis consumer
will be vigilant as to conditions -- time, place, mood, etc. -- and does not hesitate to
say "no" when those conditions are not conducive to a safe, pleasant and/or
IV. RESIST ABUSE
Use of marijuana, to the extent that it impairs
health, personal development or achievement, is abuse, to be resisted by responsible
cannabis users. Abuse means harm. Some marijuana use is harmful; most is not. That which
is harmful should be discouraged; that which is not need not be. Wars have been waged in
the name of eradicating "drug abuse," but instead of focusing on abuse,
enforcement measures have been diluted by targeting all drug use, whether abusive or not.
If marijuana abuse is to be targeted, it is essential that clear standards be developed to
V. RESPECT RIGHTS OF OTHERS
The responsible marijuana user does not violate
the rights of others, observes accepted standards of courtesy and public propriety, and
respects the preferences of those who wish to avoid marijuana entirely. No one may violate
the rights of others, and no substance use excuses any such violation. Regardless of the
legal status of marijuana, responsible users will adhere to emerging tobacco smoking
protocols in public and private places.