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Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding


Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

The Technical Papers of the First Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
March, 1972




Congress created the Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse to separate fact from fiction, reality from myth, and to achieve a balanced judgment on the marihuana issue. The first report of the Commission is an attempt to clarify the essential issues and concerns of our society regarding marihuana and to extrapolate our findings and conclusions into a reasonable societal response.

In an effort to present these complex issues with a maximum of clarity, comprehension, and readability, the Commission Report does not include references. This Appendix, however, fully documents the methodological and substantive, issues presented in the Report. In addition to the technical data, the Appendix also contains the historical and philosophical matrix of the Report.

The papers of the Appendix are divided into six major parts. Part One deals with the biosocial aspects which relate to marihuana's effect on individuals as well as to the larger society.

It includes an historical survey of two types of marihuana use, medicinal and intoxicant, which constitutes a review of marihuana use in many parts of the world. An analysis of the accepted sociocultural parameters helps to put the American marihuana, user into perspective.

Part One also presents detailed and current reviews of the botanical, psychopharmacologic, physiologic, and behavioral effects of marihuana on man.

Part Two, the social aspects of marihuana use, discusses patterns of the individual user as well as the relationship of marihuana use to violent and non-violent crime.

One of the most controversial issues in the study of marihuana is its relationship to other drugs. The second chapter of Part Two deals specifically with this issue and explores, in depth and with careful consideration, the hypothesis that marihuana use leads to other drugs, especially heroin.

Part Three is concerned with the legal aspects of the marihuana controversy. In order to place marihuana, a psychoactive drug, in proper perspective, a history of the control of marihuana, alcohol and tobacco is presented.

This section of the Appendix also reviews the current marihuana laws at the international, federal and state levels including statutes that require physicians to report drug addiction. The section concludes with a description of trafficking and distribution patterns of the drug.

Part Four, the response of the criminal justice system, analyzes law enforcement behavior with respect to marihuana use. The relationship between the opinions held by officials in the criminal justice system and their behavior toward marihuana offenders is also discussed.

Part Five presents the findings of the Commission-sponsored National Survey of public attitudes and behavior toward marihuana, other drug use and related social issues.

Part Six discusses the marihuana issue with respect to sociolegal policy practices and decisions. Included in the section is a discussion of the constitutional dimensions which form the basis for alternative models for the control of marihuana. A nationwide study of marihuana education presents policies and programs on a state-by-state basis and includes descriptions of ongoing marihuana education programs.

The Appendix concludes with a presentation of future research recommendations as suggested guidelines for various agencies, institutions and individuals engaged in research on marihuana.

Each of the papers contained herein represents the composite effort of the Commission members and staff, consultants, contractors and youth consultants.

Of necessity, space limitations precluded the publication in full of many excellent papers; many works are presented either in abridged form or integrated into the Commission's own presentation.

A list of all papers submitted to the Commission is presented at the conclusion of the Appendix. Should any reader wish to obtain a copy of a particular work, the request should be sent directly to the author and not to the Commission.


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Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding