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USA -- In the past few years, the U.S. has been steadily growing support for marijuana reform. From the presidential candidates to the general public, this progressive attitude has become a hot topic for debate, and as an election year approaches, everyone—from governors to legislators to those who would be president—seems to have an opinion on the issue. Presidential Candidates


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    • By Michael Komorn
      Governments from around the world have conducted exhaustive studies on Marijuana / Hemp / Cannabis and have found the exact same results each and every time, consistently over the last 120+ years.
      Likewise, the governments have attacked, ignored, buried and outright shunned every one of these reports for the last 120 years.
      The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report India 1893-1894
      The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report, completed in 1894, was a British India study of cannabis usage in India.
      The Commission report and all recorded testimony was over 3,000 pages long spanning 8 volumes.
      The Summary of conclusions regarding effects of cannabis is found in the first volume of the report, on pages 263 and 264.
      552. The Commission have now examined all the evidence before them
      regarding the effects attributed to hemp drugs. It will
      be well to summarize briefly the conclusions to which
      they come. It has been clearly established that the occasional use of hemp
      in moderate doses may be beneficial; but this use may be regarded as medicinal
      in character. It is rather to the popular and common use of the drugs that the
      Commission will now confine their attention. It is convenient to consider the
      effects separately as affecting the physical, mental, or moral nature. In regard to
      the physical effects, the Commission have come to the conclusion that the moderate
      use of hemp drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all. There may be
      exceptional cases in which, owing to idiosyncracies of constitution, the drugs in
      even moderate use may be injurious. There is probably nothing the use of which
      may not possibly be injurious in cases of exceptional intolerance. There are also
      many cases where in tracts with a specially malarious climate, or in circumstances
      of hard work and exposure, the people attribute beneficial effects to the habitual
      moderate use of these drugs; and there is evidence to show that the popular
      impression may have some basis in fact. Speaking generally, the Commission
      are of opinion that the moderate use of hemp drugs appears to cause no
      appreciable physical injury of any kind. The excessive use does cause injury.
      As in the case of other intoxicants, excessive use tends to weaken the constitu-
      tion and to render the consumer more susceptible to disease. In respect to the
      particular diseases which according to a considerable number of witnesses
      should be associated directly with hemp drugs, it appears to be reasonably estab-
      lished that the excessive use of these drugs does not cause asthma; that it may
      indirectly cause dysentery by weakening the constitution as above indicated;
      and that it may cause bronchitis mainly through the action of the inhaled smoke
      on the bronchial tubes.
      In respect to the alleged mental effects of the drugs, the Commission have
      come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp drugs produces no inju-
      rious effects on the mind. It may indeed be accepted that in the case of special-
      ly marked neurotic diathesis, even the moderate use may produce mental
      injury. For the slightest mental stimulation or excitement may have that
      effect in such cases. But putting aside these quite exceptional cases, the moder-
      ate use of these drugs produces no mental injury. It is otherwise with the
      excessive use. Excessive use indicates and intensifies mental instability. It
      tends to weaken the mind. It may even lead to insanity. It has been said by
      Dr. Blanford that "two factors only are necessary for the causation of insanity,
      which are complementary, heredity, and stress. Both enter into every case: the
      stronger the influence of one factor, the less of the other factor is requisite to
      produce the result. Insanity, therefore, needs for its production a certain insta-
      bility of nerve tissue and the incidence of a certain disturbance." It appears
      that the excessive use of hemp drugs may, especially in cases where there is
      any weakness or hereditary predisposition, induce insanity. It has been shown
      that the effect of hemp drugs in this respect has hitherto been greatly exag-
      gerated, but that they do sometimes produce insanity seems beyond question.
      In regard to the moral effects of the drugs, the Commission are of
      opinion that their moderate use produces no moral injury whatever. There
      is no adequate ground for believing that it injuriously affects the character of the
      consumer. Excessive consumption, on the other hand, both indicates and inten-
      sifies moral weakness or depravity. Manifest excess leads directly to loss of self-
      respect, and thus to moral degradation. In respect to his relations with society,
      however, even the excessive consumer of hemp drugs is ordinarily inoffensive.
      His excesses may indeed bring him to degraded poverty which may lead him to
      dishonest practices; and occasionally, but apparently very rarely indeed, exces-
      sive indulgence in hemp drugs may lead to violent crime. But for all practical
      purposes it may be laid down that there is little or no connection between the use
      of hemp drugs and crime.
      Viewing the subject generally, it may be added that the moderate use of
      these drugs is the rule, and that the excessive use is comparatively exceptional.
      The moderate use practically produces no ill effects. In all but the most excep-
      tional cases, the injury from habitual moderate use is not appreciable. The
      excessive use may certainly be accepted as very injurious, though it must be admit-
      ted that in many excessive consumers the injury is not clearly marked. The
      injury done by the excessive use is, however, confined almost exclusively to the
      consumer himself; the effect on society is rarely appreciable. It has been the
      most striking feature in this inquiry to find how little the effects of hemp drugs
      have obtruded themselves on observation. The large number of witnesses of all
      classes who professed never to have seen these effects, the vague statements
      made by many who professed to have observed them, the very few witnesses who
      could so recall a case as to give any definite account of it, and the manner in
      which a large proportion of these cases broke down on the first attempt to
      examine them, are facts which combine to show most clearly how little injury
      society has hitherto sustained from hemp drugs.
      Letter from the American Medical Association 1937
      Re: H.R. 6906
      SENATOR BROWN: Before we adjourn, I desire to place in the record a letter regarding the pending bill addressed to Senator Harrison by Dr. William C. Woodward, of the American Medical Association, Chicago, Ill.
      American Medical Association
      Bureau of Legal Medicine and Legislation
      Chicago, July 10, 1937
      Hon. Pat Harrison
      Chairman, Committee on Finance, United States Senate
      Washington D.C.
      SIR: I have been instructed by the board of trustees of the American Medical Association to protest on behalf of the association against the enactment in it present form of so much of H.R. 6906 as relates to the medicinal use of cannabis and its preparations and derivatives. The act is entitled "An Act to impose an occupational excise tax upon certain dealers in marihuana, to impose a transfer tax upon certain dealings in marihuana, and to safeguard the revenue therefrom by registry and recording."
      Cannabis and its preparations and derivatives are covered in the bill by the term "marihuana" as that term is defined in section 1, paragraph (b). There is no evidence, however, that the medicinal use of these drugs has caused or is causing cannabis addiction. As remedial agents, they are used to an inconsiderable extent, and the obvious purpose and effect of this bill is to impose so many restrictions on their use as to prevent such use altogether. Since the medicinal use of cannabis has not caused and is not causing addiction, the prevention of the use of the drug for medicinal purposes can accomplish no good end whatsoever. How far it may serve to deprive the public of the benefits of a drug that on further research may prove to be of substantial value, it is impossible to foresee.
      The American Medical Association has no objection to any reasonable regulation of the medicinal use of cannabis and its preparations and derivatives. It does pretest, however, against being called upon to pay a special tax, to use special order forms in order to procure the drug, to keep special records concerning its professional use and to make special returns to the Treasury Department officials, as a condition precedent to the use of cannabis in the practice of medicine. in the several States, all separate and apart from the taxes, order forms, records, and reports required under the Harrison Narcotics Act with reference to opium and coca leaves and their preparations and derivatives.
      If the medicinal use of cannabis calls for Federal legal regulation further than the legal regulation that now exists, the drug can without difficulty be covered under the provisions of the Harrison Narcotics Act by a suitable amendment. By such a procedure the professional use of cannabis may readily be controlled as effectively as are the professional uses of opium and coca leaves, with less interference with professional practice and less cost and labor on the part of the Treasury Department.
      It has been suggested that the inclusion of cannabis into the Harrison Narcotics Act would jeopardize the constitutionality of that act, but that suggestion has been supported by no specific statements of its legal basis or citations of legal authorities.
      Wm. C. Woodward,
      Legislative Counsel
      Whereupon at 11:37 AM Monday, July 12, 1937, the subcommittee adjourned.
      The marihuana problem in the city of New York 1944
      by New York (N.Y.). Mayor's Committee on Marihuana  
      In a 220 page report, the  La Guardia Committee on Marihuana investigated marijuana users, school children, and even conducted clinical studies on the effects of cannabis on 77 humans.
      From the foregoing study the following conclusions are drawn:
      1. Marihuana is used extensively in the Borough of Manhattan but the problem is not as acute
      as it is reported to be in other sections of the United States.
      2. The introduction of marihuana into this area is recent as compared to other localities.
      3. The cost of marihuana is low and therefore within the purchasing power of most persons.
      4. The distribution and use of marihuana is centered in Harlem.
      5. The majority of marihuana smokers are Negroes and Latin-Americans.
      6. The consensus among marihuana smokers is that the use of the drug creates a definite
      feeling of adequacy.
      7. The practice of smoking marihuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the
      8. The sale and distribution of marihuana is not under the control of any single organized
      9. The use of marihuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction and no effort
      is made to create a market for these narcotics by stimulating the practice of marihuana
      10. Marihuana is not the determining factor in the commission of major crimes.
      11. Marihuana smoking is not widespread among school children.
      12. Juvenile delinquency is not associated with the practice of smoking marihuana.
      13. The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marihuana smoking in New York City is
      Marihuana users accustomed to daily smoking for a period of from two and a half to sixteen
      years showed no abnormal system functioning which would differentiate them from the nonusers.
      There is definite evidence in this study that the marihuana users were not inferior in
      intelligence to the general population and that they had suffered no mental or physical
      deterioration as a result of their use of the drug.
      Addiction and Tolerance
      As our group of subjects included 48 users of marihuana, opportunity was afforded for some
      conclusions concerning marihuana addiction and tolerance. Practically all of our group of
      users stated that they could and often did voluntarily stop the smoking for a time without any
      undue disturbance from the deprivation. In the sociologic study reported by Dr. Schoenfeld it
      was found that smokers had no compelling urge for marihuana. If "reefers" were not readily
      available there was no special effort made to obtain them from known sources of supply. Dr.
      Walter Bromberg, Psychiatrist-in-Charge, Psychiatric Clinic, Court of General Sessions in
      New York, states: "The fact that offenders brought up on marihuana charges do not request
      medical treatment on their incarceration (with its cessation of drug supply) argues for the
      absence of with drawal symptoms.''(1) From interviews with several hundred marihuana users
      he concludes that true addiction was absent.
      (1) Bromberg, W. "Marihuana: a psychiatric study." J.A.MA. 113:4, 1939.=20
      The evidence submitted here warrants the conclusion that as far as New York City is
      concerned true addiction to marihuana does not occur.
      Drug addiction: crime or disease? Interim and final reports.  USA 1961
       Author: Joint Committee of the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association on Narcotic Drugs. In 1955-56 the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association appointed a Joint Committee on Narcotic Drugs to explore the problem. It issued a 173 page interim draft report of its findings in 1958, and sent it to the Bureau of Narcotics for review.
      In 1959,  a comprehensive attack upon the ABA/AMA draft report was published by Harry J Anslinger at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Titled "Comments on Narcotic Drugs: Interim Report of the Joint Committee of the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association on Narcotic Drugs" by Advisory Committee to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Narcotics.
      The Department of Treasury, after seeing the draft report conclusions contradicted their Bureau of Narcotics, then threatened the AMA, ABA and the funders of the study with losing their tax-exempt status and other threats if they dared to publish the study reports.  Alfred R. Lindesmith , professor at the University of Indiana then published the report 3 years later in 1961.
      On the basis of its studies and deliberations, the joint committee has reached the following conclusions concerning narcotic addiction and methods of dealing with narcotic addicts, which it submits for the purpose of indicating the need for further studies along the lines recommended above, and with the hope that these conclusions, although subject to reappraisal in the light of additional data, will be serviceable guides:
      1. There appears to have been a considerable increase in drug addiction in the United States immediately following World War II; the increase was most apparent in the slum areas of large metropolitan centers and especially among minority groups in the population.
      2. As a result, the federal government and many states passed legislation imposing increasingly severe penalties upon violators of the drug laws, as a means of dealing with the apparent increase in addiction.
      3. This penal legislation subjects both the drug peddler and his victim, the addict, to long prison sentences, often imposed by mandatory statutory requirements without benefit of the probation and parole opportunities afforded other prisoners.
      4. Though drug peddling is acknowledged to be a vicious and predatory crime, a grave question remains whether severe jail and prison sentences are the most rational way of dealing with narcotic addicts. And the unusual statutory basis of present drug-law enforcement, substantial federal domination in a local police-power field established by means of an excise measure enforced by a federal fiscal agency, invites critical scrutiny.
      5. The narcotic drug addict because of his physical and psychological dependence on drugs and because of his frequently abnormal personality patterns should be as much a subject of concern to medicine and public health as to those having to do with law enforcement. But the ordinary doctor is not presently well equipped to deal with the problems of the narcotic addict, and even his authority to do so is in doubt.
      6. The role of medicine and public health in dealing with drug addiction and the drug addict should be clarified. There must be a new determination of the limits of good medical practice in the treatment of drug addiction, and an objective inquiry into the question whether existing enforcement policies, practices and attitudes, as well as existing laws, have unduly or improperly interfered with good medical practice in this area. As part of this evaluation, consideration should also be given to the possibility of helping both the addict and persons formerly addicted through open clinic facilities as well as in closed institutions such as Lexington and Fort Worth.
      7. It can be stated emphatically that no acceptable evidence whatsoever points to the indiscriminate distribution of narcotic drugs as a method of handling the problem of addiction. On the contrary, the use of such drugs, except for legitimate medical needs, should be discouraged by the best available means. Individuals who have become addicted should be given the benefit of all known medical and paramedical procedures to encourage them to withdraw from dependence on narcotic drugs voluntarily; those who have withdrawn should be given psychiatric and social-agency help as long as necessary to assure against relapse. We need much more information than is presently available about the best means of handling addicts who, despite the best professional efforts, continue to be dependent on drugs. An experiment conducted by experts (as proposed above in this report) should be charged with getting information on this point.
      8. There is a high rate of relapse on the part of addicts who have been in the care of narcotics hospitals and installations for the treatment of addiction. The real reasons for this must be determined. Factors to be considered include the physical and personality make-up of the individual, the social pressures applied to him, both adverse and constructive, and the attitude and sophistication of medicine and the law regarding addicts and addiction.
      9. some responsible authorities state that the physical and psychological dependence of addicts on narcotic drugs, the compulsion to obtain them, and the high price of the drugs in the illicit market are predominantly responsible for the crimes committed by addicts. Others claim that the drug itself is responsible for criminal behavior. The weight of evidence is so heavily in favor of the former point of view that the question can hardly be called a controversial one.-But this point is so fundamental to the development of a sound philosophy of management of the problem that any residue of reasonable doubt must be resolved. )In this connection the joint committee deplores the hysteria which sometimes dominates the approach to drug addiction problems by persons in positions of public trust. In terms of numbers afflicted, and in ill effects on others in the community, drug addiction is a problem of far less magnitude than alcoholism. Crimes of violence are rarely, and sexual crimes are almost never, committed by addicts.
      In most instances the addicts' sins are those of omission rather than commission; they are ineffective people, individuals whose great desire is to withdraw from the world and its troubles into a land of dreams.
      10. It appears that neither compulsory hospitalization of all addicts nor permanent isolation is practicable at the present time. Hospital facilities to deal with narcotic addicts are not adequate in numbers, staff or program, and the permanent isolation of addicts, even if feasible, would not be a solution but only a temporizing maneuver--the very antithesis of the medical and scientific approach to the physical and behavioral problems of man.
      The foregoing recommendation and report will be submitted to the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association with resolutions similar to those appended hereto, merely conformed to adapt the language of the resolutions to A.M.A. purposes. The object of the resolutions is to continue cooperation between the two associations in further mutual efforts along the lines suggested in this report and the joint committee's interim report.
      It is firmly believed by the joint committee that the work it has already done clearly indicates a need for further joint efforts, carried on by both associations through permanent instrumentalities which have greater continuity, more facilities, and a broader mandate than the joint committee. Accordingly, favorable action on this report and its appended resolutions is respectfully urged.
      Even though the AMA knows the "gateway theory" was false, they still used it in the above public service announcement against marijuana.
      Wootton Commission Report UK 1968
      67. The evidence before us shows that:
      An increasing number of people, mainly young, in all classes of society are experimenting with this drug, and substantial numbers use it regularly for social pleasure.
      There is no evidence that this activity is causing violent crime or aggression, anti-social behaviour, or is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis, requiring medical treatment.
      The experience of many other countries is that once it is established cannabis-smoking tends to spread. In some parts of Western society where interest in mood-altering drugs is growing, there are indications that it may become a functional equivalent of alcohol.
      In spite of the threat of severe penalties and considerable effort at enforcement the use of cannabis in the United Kingdom does not appear to be diminishing. There is a body of opinion that criticises the present legislative treatment of cannabis on the grounds that it exaggerates the dangers of the drug, and needlessly interferes with civil liberty.

      The Report of the Canadian Government Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs -  Canada 1972
      1. Although research has not clearly established that cannabis has sufficiently harmful effects to justify the present legislative policy towards it, there are serious grounds for social concern about its use, and this concern calls for a continuing police to discourage its use by means which involve a more acceptable cost, than present policies, to the individual and to society.
      The focus of our social concern should be the use of cannabis by adolescents, and the principal object of our social policy should be to restrict its availability to them as much as reasonably possible by the methods which appear to be most acceptable on a balance of benefits and costs.
      The only policy which can impose a significant restriction on availability is a prohibition of distribution. Under a system of administrative regulation or licensing, availability would be virtually unrestricted. A policy of making cannabis available to adults would have the effect of making it more available to minors. This is the lesson of our experience with alcohol. It would also make cannabis appear to be relatively harmless. Further, there is no reason to believe that we could effectively control potency and encourage moderate use by a system of administrative regulation or licensing. People will consume the quantities they require to achieve the desired level of potency or they will seek more potent forms, if necessary in the illicit market. Moreover, our present knowledge about cannabis would not permit a policy of legal availability that could be accompanied by suitable assurances as to what might constitute moderate and relatively harmless use
      4. The costs to the individual and society of maintaining a prohibition of distribution are severe but they are justified by the probable effect of such a prohibition on availability and perception of harm, in contrast to the likely effect on both of a policy of legal availability.
      5. The costs of a policy of prohibition of distribution are only acceptable, however, if the possible penalties for illegal distribution are reasonable in relation to the relative seriousness of the offence. Having regard to thc potential for harm of cannabis in relation to other drugs, the extent to which young people are involved in its distribution, and the general level of penalties in other countries, the present penalty structure for the illicit distribution of cannabis is grossly excessive. In some cases it does not leave the courts sufficient discretion, and in others it leaves them too much.
      6. We recommend the following changes in the law respecting the illegal distribution of cannabis:
      (a) Importing and exporting should be included in the definition of trafficking as they are under the Food and Drugs Act), and they should not be subject to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. It might be appropriate, however, to make them subject to somewhat higher maximum penalties than other forms of trafficking.
      (b) There should be an option to proceed by indictment or summary conviction in the case of trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
      (c) Upon indictment, the maximum penalty for trafficking or possession for the purpose of trafficking should be five years, and upon summary conviction, eighteen months. It should be possible in either case to impose fine in lieu of imprisonment.
      (d) In cases of possession for the purpose of trafficking it should be sufficient, when possession has been proved, for the accused to nise a reasonable doubt as to his intention to traffic. He should not be required to make proof which carries on a preponderance of evidence or a balance of probabilities.
      (e) Trafficking should not include the giving, without exchange of value, by one user to another of a quantity of cannabis which could reasonably be consumed on a single occasion.
      7. The costs to a significant number of individuals, the majority of whom are young people, and to society generally, of a policy of prohibition of simple possession are not justified by the potential for harm of cannabis and the additional influence which such a policy is likely to have upon perception of harm, demand and availability. We, therefore, recommend the repeal of the prohibition against the simple possession of cannabis.
      The cultivation of cannabis should be subject to the same penalties as trafficking, but it should not be a punishable offence unless it is cultivation for the purpose of trafficking. Upon proof of cultivation, the burden should be on the accused to establish that he was not cultivating for the purpose of trafflcking, but it should be sufficient for him, as in the case of possession for the purpose of trafficking, to raise a reasonable doubt concerning the intent to traffic.
      9. The police should have power to seize and confiscate cannabis and cannabis plants wherever they are found, unless the possession or cultivation has been expressly authorized for scientific or other purposes.
      Marihuana: a signal of misunderstanding; first report 1972
      by United States. Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse   The recommendations included:
      All public and private institutions should sponsor research and objective evaluation of drug-related issues, programs, and policies. Congress should create a single Federal drug agency. The accomplishments should be reexamined four years after its creation; and the agency, by law, should disband within five years. Each state should establish a unified drug agency on the same model as that proposed for the federal government. Congress should establish a commission four years hence to determine which measures have justified their costs and which have not and to propose new policies. The Single Convention Treaty should be redrafted to make clear that each nation is free to determine which domestic uses of drugs it will allow. Cannabis should be removed from the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), since this drug does not pose the same social and public health problems associated with the opiates and coca leaf products. The American Medical Association should determine cocaine's therapeutic benefits.   If no unique therapeutic use remains, the government should eliminate manufacture altogether. Except where the Commission has specifically recommended a change, the present levels of control on availability of psychoactive substances should be maintained.  With respect to the drug trafficking laws, the trafficking offenses and penalty structure presently in force should be retained.  The unauthorized possession of any controlled substance except marihuana for personal use should remain a prohibited act. The primary purpose of the possession laws should be detection of those persons who would benefit by treatment or prevention services, rather than criminal punishment. Federal criminal investigative agencies should concentrate primarily on the top level of the illegal drug distribution network. State enforcement should concentrate on the lower levels of both licit and illicit distribution networks. Criminal investigation activities at the federal level should not have regional offices, as BNDD and Customs have now but instead should deploy strike forces.  Each state should have a separate unit charged with the responsibility of investigating any evidence of corruption in drug law enforcement agencies.  Local police should receive appropriate training in dealing with the medical needs of drug-dependent persons, including alcoholics. The government should continue to prohibit heroin maintenance. Each state should establish a comprehensive statewide drug dependence treatment and rehabilitation program, with confidentiality-of-treatment laws. Drug abusers who are suffering from emergency medical conditions should not be refused treatment in hospitals, solely because of their drug abuse. The states should provide by law for emergency detention and treatment of persons (not to exceed 48 hours) so incapacitated by use of a drug that they cannot intelligently determine whether they are in need of treatment. Drug use prevention strategy, rather than persuading or "educating" people not to use drugs, should emphasize other means of obtaining what users seek from drugs, means that are better for the user and better for society. The government role should be limited to providing accurate information regarding the likely consequences of the different patterns of drug use. A moratorium should be declared on the production and dissemination of new drug information materials, including all drug education programs in the schools. State legislatures should repeal all statutes which now require drug education courses to be included in the public school curriculum.  Government should not interfere with private efforts to analyze the quality and quantity of drugs anonymously submitted by street users. The government should not support programs which compel persons to undergo drug testing, except in limited situations. Government should remove legal and bureaucratic obstacles to research into the possible therapeutic uses of currently prohibited substances, such as marihuana and hallucinogens. Schools of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and public health should include the social and medical aspects of drug use in their curriculum. Drug companies should end the practice of sending doctors unsolicited samples of psychoactive drugs. The business community should not reject an applicant solely on the basis of prior drug use or dependence, unless the nature of the business compels it.  Industry should consider alternatives to termination of employment for employees involved with drugs.  The business community should adopt  "employee assistance" programs for drug problems. College and universities should make their policies and practices regarding drug use, including alcohol, explicit, unambiguous, and readily available to all students.   Even those colleges and universities which strongly disapprove of student drug-use behavior should expand their counseling services rather than rely upon disciplinary measures alone.   
      U.S. Senate Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency and Marijuana Decriminalization, including  4 years of research during 1971-1975.
      Senator Bayh. We meet today to consider legislation relating to the appropriate legal sanctions for the private possession of small amounts of marihuana.
      Throughout the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency's 4-year investigation of drug traffic and abuse I have noted with concern the growing number of arrests for marihuana possession. Arrests have increased from 188,682 in 1970 to 420,700 in 1973. It may go as high as 500,000 for 1974. This is not nearly as dramatic as the 1,000 percent increase between 1965-70 from 18,815 to 188,682; but it is rather astonishing that this 3-year increase of 232,018 is more than 12 times the total marihuana arrests just 10 years ago.
        Additionally, the number of marihuana arrests as a percentage of all drug arrests has increased substantially. In 1970 these arrests amounted to 45.4 percent of total drug arrest= During the 1970-73 period 1,127,389 of the total 2,063,900 drug arrests were for marihuana. And in 1973, the most recent year for which records are available, 67 percent of all drug arrests were for marihuana.
      Available studies and research to date have found that the majority of those arrested are otherwise law-abiding young people in possession of small amounts of marihuana. In fact, a Presidential commission found that the vast majority of users are essentially indistinguishable from their nonuser peers by any criteria other than its use.
      During these last 4 years, I have likewise been especially concerned about the ever-escalating level of serious crime. The recently released FBI report on the trends in crime for 1974 presents a frightening picture of the rising tide of criminal activity in America. Serious crime in the United States rose 17 percent last year, the highest, annual increase since the FBI began collecting data 45 years ago. In fact, the increase for the final quarter of 1974 had reached 19 percent. The suburban increase for last year was 20 percent while crime in rural areas increased by 21 percent. In smaller communities—under 10,000— crime increased by 24 percent last year while robbery alone went up 30 percent.
      The rising tide of serious crimes inevitably raises the question of whether we are properly allocating our crime fighting resources and aggressively pursuing the arrest and criminal prosecution of the 13 million American users of marihuana. It is estimated that the prosecution of these cases costs $600 million annually.
      In 1969 and 1970 the subcommittee considered the adequacy of penalties for marihuana with the result that thenew Controlled Substances Act provided that simple possession or distribution of a small amount of marihuana for no remuneration were both designated misdemeanors, not felonieb. punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine. It was the view of many members that the sanctions should be further reduced. Some suggested that the sanction be eliminated for such conduct.
      In order to permit a thorough assessment of these issues the subcommittee recommended the creation of a Presidential commission. The Congress agreed and provided for the establishment of the Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse in part F of the Controlled Substances Act.
      This body known as the Sliafer Commission, after its distinguished chairman, conducted an in-depth study of the issues and concluded that marihuana was not dangerous enough to the user or to the general public for its private possession and use to remain a criminal offense.
      In the last several years a growing list of organizations and individuals have endorsed the Shafer Commission recommendations, including the following:
      American Bar Association.
      Consumer Union, publishers of Consumer Reports.
      National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
      American Public Health Association.
      National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals.
      National Council of Churches.
      The Governing Board of the American Medical Association.
      National Education Association.
      B'nai B'rith.
      Canadian Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical use of
      Drugs [Le Dain Commission],
      San Franciso Committee on Crime.
      Mayor's Advisory Committee on Narcotics Addiction
      [Washington, D.C.].
      John Finlator, retired Deputy Director, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, U.S. Department of Justice.
      William F. Buckley, Jr., syndicated columnist, author, TV host and editor of National Review.
      James J. Kilpatrick, syndicated columnist, Washington Evening Star.
      The subject of our hearing S. 1450, the "Marihuana Control Act of 1975" introduced by Senators Javits, Cranston, Brooke, and Nelson, reflects the general recommendation of the Shafer Presidential Commission. It adopts an approach similar to that undertaken by the State of Oregon which abolished criminal penalties for simple possession of marihuana and substituted a civil fine of up to $100 for possession and nonprofit transfers of up to 1 ounce of marihuana. Criminal penalties for sale of the drug for profit would remain intact. Thus, this approach maintains a policy of discouragement toward marihuana use while recognizing the current inappropriate use of law enforcement resources and the destructive impact of criminal records for such common conduct.
      Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs, Australia 1979
      On page A63, the report states:
      At present it appears that intermittent use of cannabis in low
      dosages does not produce any permanent brain damage. While there is no
      definite proof, to date, that long-term chronic high dosages of cannabis
      produce any lasting brain impairment this needs further study. There
      have been suggestions that cannabis might cause prolonged abnormalities
      of mental function, including personality disorders and a cannabis
      psychosis. There is no proven evidence that such disorders are caused
      by cannabis.
      Acute Toxicity
      THC has a wide safety margin, much more so than does alcohol. It is
      almost impossible to get a lethal dose of THC from smoking marihuana
      Tolerance and Physical Dependence
      Tolerance does occur if cannabis is administered regularly over a
      long interval. While mild withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability,
      restlessness and insomnia) occasionally develop in those who have
      regularly taken a high dose of THC, there is not a typical abstinence
      syndrome and there are no withdrawal effects from the usual low-dose,
      'recreational' use of the drug.
      At the present time, it would not seem that infrequent
      'recreational' use of cannabis produces any severe direct consequences
      to health. As already mentioned, there is impairment of driving
      ability. Higher doses and frequent chronic use may constitute a
      significant degree of risk to the user, but further research on this is
      Later, in Book C, Page C215, the following is stated on cannabis and health.
      Limitations on Scientific Investigation
      Mr A. W. Parsons, Director of the Cannabis Research Foundation,
      presented evidence to the effect that cannabis had been the subject of
      considerable scientific probing. He stated:
      Dr Lorna Cartwright, senior tutor in Pharmacy, University of
      Sydney, stated in her address to the 1977 Cannabis Conference
      that marihuana is one of the most thoroughly investigated drugs
      in the history of scientific research. Eighty-four years of
      scientific study has been unable to find any adverse health
      effects of moderate cannabis use which impel a particular
      legislative policy. This is not to say that more research is
      not needed. 1t is always possible that certain harmful side
      effects may be discovered, but considering the medical
      information at hand and the social costs of the present laws,
      scientific clairvoyance has been used for too long by the anti-
      marihuana lobby to justify the present laws pertaining to
      cannabis use.
      The Commonwealth Department of Health report previously mentioned
      stated that although prolonged cannabis psychosis has been reported in
      Eastern literature as occurring under conditions of unusually heavy use,
      it is often difficult to isolate the causative role of marihuana from
      that of pre-existing psychopathology or other drug use. Three research
      studies of heavy chronic users conducted in Jamaica, G·reece and Costa
      Rica failed to detect evidence of cannabis psychosis. However the small
      numbers in each sample and the comparative rarity of this syndrome may
      mean that such a consequence was missed (Open exhibit 636).
      Professor R. T. Jones stated that persons with schizophrenia show a
      marked psychosis when using marihuana but that this psychosis disappears
      when marihuana use is discontinued (OT 18132--33).
      Mr A. W. Parsons, Director of the Cannabis Research Foundation,
      agreed that marihuana impairs the ability to drive, but stated that the
      size of the threat which cannabis poses to road safety is a matter of
      conjecture (OT 2453). Mr J. Billington,founder of the Cannabis Research
      Foundation, said in evidence that while inexperienced user/drivers may
      cause problems for themselves and the rest of the community, the
      problems are nowhere as great with experienced user/drivers (OT 10839).
      Professor R. T. Jones (OT 18140--41) and Dr G. B. Chesher (OT 10474)
      agreed that more experienced users drive with less impairment than
      persons unfamiliar with the combination of marihuana and motor vehicles.
      Witnesses indicated that other possible medical applications of
      cannabis are being examined. Researchers are investigating anti-tumor
      activity, anti-anxiety and hypnotic effects, and analgesic and anti-
      depressant effects. Some investigators have speculated that cannabis
      may be useful in treating alcohol dependence.
      Professor N. Blewett, Past President of the South Australian Council
      for Civil Liberties summarised this line of argument succinctly in a
      paper entitled 'Marihuana: The Most Victimless Crime of All?'. This
      paper, which was part of a submission by the Council to the South
      Australian Royal Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, later
      incorporated into the transcript of evidence of this Commission, said:
      The law is simply an ass if, in seeking to protect a person
      from his own actions, it imposes upon him far greater agreed
      harm than anything likely to result from the prohibited
      Medical Use
      Some witnesses argued that the existing laws had the effect of
      preventing the use of cannabis for legitimate scientific and medical
      purposes. On behalf of the Cannabis Research Foundation, Mr A. W.
      Parsons stated:
      We have had personal reports from patients who need cannabis,
      particularly those suffering from internal cancer, epileptics
      and patients suffering from glaucoma. We have had approaches
      from their doctors saying, 'We need cannabis because none of
      the other drugs work and this does. We are in a drought
      situation. The Health Department will not give us any, nor
      will the Drug Squad. What can you do for us?' This is
      ridiculous when they are handing out amphetamines and such
      things---it is ridiculous that we cannot get hold of cannabis
      for simple therapeutic use.
      (OT 2480)
      The potential medical application of cannabis has been discussed
      already in this chapter. It has also been noted that the law permits
      the use of cannabis for legitimate scientific research.
      After finding that cannabis is non-toxic, non-addictive, has no evidence of any harms WHATSOEVER, has medical value in a number of different diseases, the committee said that cannabis should be prohibited forever. As you can see, the science, logic, reasoning, and evidence is ignored, buried, shunned and attacked.
      Book C, page C269.
      An Analysis of Marijuana Policy National Research Council of the National Academy of Science. 1982
      At the same time, the effectiveness of the present federal policy of complete prohibition fails far short of its goal--preventing use. An estimated 55 million Americans have tried marijuana, federal enforcement of prohibition of use is virtually nonexistent, and 11 states have repealed criminal penalties for private possession of small amounts and for private use. It can no longer be argued that use would be much more widespread and the problematic effects greater today if the policy of complete prohibition did not exist; The existing evidence on policies of partial prohibition indicates that partial prohibition has been as effective in controlling consumption as complete prohibition and has entailed considerably smaller social, legal, and economic costs. On balance, therefore, we believe that a policy of partial prohibition is clearly preferable to a policy of complete prohibition of supply and use.
      Drug Enforcement Administration
      In The Matter Of
      Docket No. 86-22
      FRANCIS L. YOUNG, Administrative Law Judge
      DATED: SEPTEMBER 6, 1988
      CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDED DECISION Based upon the foregoing facts and reasoning, the administrative law judge concludes that the provisions of the Act permit and require the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. The Judge realizes that strong emotions are aroused on both sides of any discussion concerning the use of marijuana. Nonetheless it is essential for this Agency, and its Administrator, calmly and dispassionately to review the evidence of record, correctly apply the law, and act accordingly. Marijuana can be harmful. Marijuana is abused. But the same is true of dozens of drugs or substances which are listed in Schedule II so that they can be employed in treatment by physicians in proper cases, despite their abuse potential. Transferring marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II will not, of course, make it immediately available in pharmacies throughout the country for legitimate use in treatment. Other government authorities, Federal and State, will doubtless have to act before that might occur. But this Agency is not charged with responsibility, or given authority, over the myriad other regulatory decisions that may be required before marijuana can actually be legally available. This Agency is charged merely with determining the placement of marijuana pursuant to the provisions of the Act. Under our system of laws the responsibilities of other regulatory bodies are the concerns of those bodies, not of this Agency, There are those who, in all sincerity, argue that the transfer of marijuana to Schedule II will "send a signal" that marijuana is "OK" generally for recreational use. This argument is specious. It presents no valid reason for refraining from taking an action required by law in light of the evidence. If marijuana should be placed in Schedule II, in obedience to the law, then that is where marijuana should be placed, regardless of misinterpretation of the placement by some. The reasons for the placement can, and should, be clearly explained at the time the action is taken. The fear of sending such a signal cannot be permitted to override the legitimate need, amply demonstrated in this record, of countless suffers for the relief marijuana can provide when prescribed by a physician in a legitimate case. The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record. The administrative law judge recommends that the Administrator conclude that the marijuana plant considered as a whole has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, that there is no lack of accepted safety for use of it under medical supervision and that it may lawfully be transferred from Schedule I to Schedule II. The judge recommends that the Administrator transfer marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. Dated: SEP 6 1988 Francis L. Young Administrative Law Judge Legislative options for cannabis use in Australia
      Commonwealth of Australia 1994
      No best single option for cannabis legislation exists. What is most appropriate will depend upon what goals both policy makers and the community are seeking to achieve. Our review suggests that two of the five legislative options discussed above are inappropriate in contemporary Australian circumstances. They are the options which we have characterised as total prohibition and free availability. Australia experiences more harm, we conclude, from maintaining the cannabis prohibition policy than it experiences from the use of the drug. We also reject the legislative option of the free availability of cannabis. Our society is one that accepts that governments and others have both the right and the responsibility to intervene in diverse ways to protect people from harm and to advance the common good. It would be unreasonable, therefore, to argue that cannabis should be available in an uncontrolled manner.
      We conclude that cannabis law reform is required in this country. Many options for policy, legislation and implementation processes exist within the broad categories of prohibition with an administrative decision that it is inexpedient to prosecute people for minor cannabis offences, prohibition with civil penalties, partial prohibition and regulated availability. We believe, on the available evidence, that widely accepted social goals, well attuned to the needs of contemporary Australian society, will be attained through the adoption and implementation of policies which lie within these options.
    • By trix
      Washington and Colorado -- The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana have collectively raked in at least $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, according to the latest tax data -- and they're putting those dollars to good use.
      In Colorado, after about a year and a half of legal recreational marijuana sales, the state has collected more than $117 million in excise taxes from both the recreational and medical marijuana markets, according to the most recent data from the Colorado Department of Revenue.

    • By trix
      Washington, D.C. -- Even as support for ending marijuana prohibition is building around the country, Congress and the Obama administration remain far too timid about the need for change.
      Last year, residents in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia voted to join Colorado and Washington State in making recreational use of marijuana legal. Later this year, residents of Ohio are expected to vote on a ballot measure that would legalize it. Nevadans will vote on a legalization proposal next year. And Californians could vote on several similar measures next year.

    • By trix
      USA -- The war on drugs is over, and weed won. D.A.R.E., the organization designed to plant a deep-seated fear of drugs in the minds of every late-20th-century middle schooler, published an op-ed calling for marijuana legalization.
      Written by former deputy sheriff Carlis McDerment in response to a letter in the Columbus Dispatch, the op-ed explains that it's impossible for law enforcement to control the sale of marijuana to minors. "People like me, and other advocates of marijuana legalization, are not totally blind to the harms that drugs pose to children," McDerment writes. "We just happen to know that legalizing and regulating marijuana will actually make everyone safer."

    • By trix
      Washington, D.C. -- In its bid to fend off congressional interference with a pending marijuana decriminalization law, the District might have prompted President Obama to make an interesting declaration.
      The White House on Monday said it “strongly opposes” the amendment attached last month to the House spending bill that includes the D.C. budget. The amendment, offered by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), would bar the District government from spending any money on provisions that weaken its drug laws.

      The Harris Amendment, the Obama administration says, “undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule” — which, setting aside the fact that the District is not a state, explicitly suggests that the White House believes marijuana policy should be left to individual jurisdictions.
      The Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group, called that a “groundbreaking policy position” in a news release. “It is great to see the White House accepting that a majority of Americans want marijuana law reform and defending the right of D.C. and states to set their own marijuana policy,” said Bill Piper, the group’s director of national affairs. “The tide has clearly shifted against the failed war on drugs and it’s only a matter of time before federal law is changed.”
      The administration statement is not a total surprise: It is in keeping, for instance, with the Justice Department’s express hands-off policy toward local marijuana liberalization efforts across the country, and Obama has made comments tolerating the legalization laws in Colorado and Washington as “experiments.” But framing the debate as a matter of “states’ rights” could have an effect on the national debate over cannabis laws.
      What may be of greater interest on the local level is that the White House statement also appears to endorse concerns that the Harris Amendment may have inadvertently legalized marijuana, saying the budget rider “poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.”
      The D.C. decriminalization law is set to pass through a congressional review period and take effect later this week. Should the Harris Amendment subsequently become law, police could be barred from enforcing the new law, which makes small-time marijuana possession punishable by a $25 civil citation, without having a local criminal statute left to enforce. City lawyers were tasked with examining the possible effects of the amendment, officials said last month, but the results of any review have not been released.
      The White House statement on the spending bill, which is now on the House floor, also includes opposition to restriction on local funding for abortions, the ban on federal funding for needle exchange, and cuts to the District’s college tuition grant program.
      If the House passes the budget bill as expected, its inclusion in any spending law would be subject to negotiation with Democrats, and Obama’s opposition could be helpful in that process. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) called it “indispensable” in a Monday statement. But it is hardly a magic bullet: In a high-stakes 2011 budget negotiation, Obama famously traded away the District’s ability to spend locally raised tax funds on abortion in talks with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).
      Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
      Source: Washington Post (DC)

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