Learn how to draw dragons, fairies, manga and more WILLIAM S KROGER Attorney at Law, NORML Lifetime Legal Member, GrowStoreFinder.com Grow Shop Directory 1-15-2014
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Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding
The Official Report of the National Commission
Experimenters and intermittent users
Little or no psychological dependence.
Influence on behavior related largely to conditioning to drug use and its social value to the user.
No organ injury demonstrable.
Moderate psychological dependence increasing with duration of use.
Behavioral effects minimal in stable personalities, greater in those with emotional instabilities.
Probably little if any organ injury.
Duration of use increases probability of escalation of all effects including shift from moderate to heavy use.
American “pot head.”
Strong psychological dependence.
Detectable behavior changes.
Possible organ injury (chronic diminution of pulmonary function).
Effects more easily demonstrable with long-term use.
Very heavy users
Users in countries where the use of cannabis ahs been indigenous for centuries.
Very strong psychological dependence to point of compulsive drug seeking and use.
Clear-cut behavioral changes.
Greater incidence of associated organ injury.
Subjective Effects: “Perhaps the closest analogies are the experience of day dreaming or the moments just prior to falling asleep. The effect is not constant and a cyclical waxing and waning of the intensity of the intoxication occurs periodically.”
At low (social) doses, there may be “an increased sense of well-being; initial restlessness and hilarity followed by a dreamy, carefree state of relaxation; alteration of sensory perceptions including expansion of space and time; and” more vivid senses; hunger, “especially a craving for sweets”.
At higher (moderate) doses, those reactions are intensified, but the changes would still be “scarcely noticeable to an observer.” Rapidly changing emotions, changing sensory imagery, dulling of attention, more altered thought formation and expression such as fragmented thought, flight of ideas, impaired immediate memory, disturbed associations, altered sense of self-identity, and a “perceived feeling of enhanced insight.” [Woah, this movie is awesome. What’s it called?” “Reefer Madness.”]
At “very high” doses, distortions of body images, loss of personal identity, sensory and mental illusions, fantasies and hallucinations.
“Nearly all persons who continue to use marihuana describe these usual effects in largely pleasurable terms.”
“A large amount of research has been performed in man and animals regarding the immediate effect of marihuana on bodily processes. No conclusive evidence exists of any physical damage, disturbances of bodily processes or proven human fatalities attributable solely to even very high doses of marihuana. Recently, animal studies demonstrated a relatively large margin of safety between the psychoactive dose and the physical and behavioral toxic and lethal dose. Such studies seemed to indicate that safe human study could be undertaken over a wide dose range.”
Low to moderate doses: pulse rate increases, recumbent blood pressure increases slightly, upright blood pressure decreases; eyes redden, tear secretion is decreased, pupils become slightly smaller, fluid pressure within the eye lessens, “and one study reports that the eyeball rapidly oscillates (nystagmus).
“A minimal decrement in maximum muscle strength, the presence of a find hand tremor, and a decrease in hand and body steadiness have also been noted. Decreased sensitivity to pain and overestimation of elapsed time may occur.”
“These few consistently observed transient effects on bodily function seem to suggest that marihuana is a rather unexciting compound of negligible immediate toxicity at the doses usually consumed in this country.”
“Generally, the degree of impairment of cognitive and psychomotor performance is dose-related, with minimal effect at low doses…. Performance of simple or familiar tasks is at most minimally impaired, while poor performance is demonstrated on complex, unfamiliar tasks.”
“Effects on emotional reactions and on volition are…variable and are difficult to measure under laboratory conditions, but can be significant.”
Intoxication: “Generally, a temporary episodic impairment of short-term memory occurs. These memory voids may be filled with thoughts and perceptions extraneous to organized mental processes…. Past and future may become obscured as the individual focuses on filling the present momentary memory relapse. His sense of self-identity may beem altered if he cannot place himself in his usual time frame.”
“A heavy sluggish feeling, mentally and physically, is common in inexperienced marihuana smokers who overshoot the desired high or in persons who might orally ingest too large a dose. Dizziness, nausea, incoordination and palpitations often accompany the “too stoned” feeling.”
“Novice anxiety reactions” account for “a majority of unpleasant reactions to marihuana.”
Short term effects of “enormous” daily doses studied in rats and monkeys for three months: given up to about 100,000 times the “minimal behaviorally effective human dose. Severe generalized nervous system depression for the first few days, and this produced fatalities in some rats until tolerance developed. “Later, extreme hyperactivity developed.” “All rapidly returned to normal behavior after the development of tolerance to these effects.”
A 28-day study on monkeys given 1 to 10,000 times the minimal effective human dose produced similar findings. “These animal studies illustrated that the margin of safety between active dose and toxic dose was enormous.”
The 21-day Boston study, in which subjects were given free access, and frequency of use was from 1 to several times daily, “no harmful effects were observed on general body functions, motor functions, mental functions, personal or social behavior or work performance. Total sleep time and periods of sleep were increased. Weight gain was uniformly reported.
‘No evidence of physical dependence or signs of withdrawal were noted. In the heaviest smokers, moderate psychological dependence was suggested by an increased negative mood after cessation of smoking.
‘Tolerance appeared to develop to the immediate effects of the drug on general bodily functions (pulse rate) and psychomotor-cognitive performance (time estimation, short-term memory, and shooting-gallery skill) but not to the “high.” Marihuana intoxication did not significantly inhibit the ability of the subjects to improve with practice through time on these psychological-motor skills.”
From the Jamaican and Greek studies (still on-going at the time), “some tolerance does occur with prolonged heavy usage; large drug doses are necessary for the desired effects. Abrupt withdrawal does not lead to a specific or reproducible abstinance syndrome and physical dependence has not been demonstrated in man or in animals. The very heavy users studied did evidence strong psychological dependence, but were able to cease use for short periods of time. In these users, withdrawal does induce symptoms characteristic of pychological dependence. The anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and other non-specific symptoms of withdrawal are very similar in kind and intensity to those experienced by compulsive cigarette smokers.
‘Although the distress of withdrawal exerts a very strong psychogenic drive to continue use, fear of withdrawal is, in most cases, not adequate to inspire immediate criminal acts to obtain the drug.”
“In the Jamaican study, no significant physical or mental abnormalities could be attributed to marihuana use, according to an evaluation of medical history, complete physical examination, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, blood cell and chemistry tests, lung, liver or kidney function tests, selected hormone evaluation, brain waves, psychiatric evaluation and psychological testing. There was no evidence to indicate that the drug as commonly used was responsible for producing birth defects in offspring of users.”
“Heavy smoking, no matter if the substance was tobacco or ganja, was shown to contribute to pulmonary functions lower than those found among persons who smoked neither substance. All the ganja smokers studied also smoked tobacco. In Jamaica, ganja is always smoked in a mixture with tobacco; and many of the subjects were heavy cigarette smokers, as well.”
“In a study of Greek hashish-using population preliminary findings revealed poor dentition, enlarged livers and chronic bronchities. Further study is required to clarify the relationship of these to hashish use, alcohol or tobacco use, or general life style of this user population.”
“The Jamaican and Greek subjects did not evidence any deterioration of mental or social functioning… These individuals seem to have survived heavy long-term cannabis use without major physical or behavioral defects.”
“If heavy cannabis use produces a specific psychosis, it must be quite rare or else exceedingly difficult to distinguish from other acute or chronic psychoses.
‘Recent studies suggest that the occurrence of any form of psychosis in heavy cannabis users is no higher than in the general population….
‘These findings are somewhat surprising in view of the widespread belief that cannabis attracts the mentally unstable, vulnerable individual.” [Yeah. “Recent observations suggest that the moon is made of dirt. This is surprising in view of the widespread belief that it’s made of green cheese.”]
Even in early investigations of marihuana and crime, “if any relationship was indicated, it was not a positive and direct causal connection but an inverse or negative statistical correlation.
‘Rather than inducing violent or aggressive behavior…, marihuana was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user, interfering with muscular coordination, reducing psychomotor activities and generally producing states of drowsiness, lethargy, timidity, and passivity. [We make you drowsy, so you can rob a bank.]
In fact, when “marihuana-using offenders were compared with offenders who did not use marihuana, the former were gnerally found to have committed less aggressive behavior than the latter.”
There was a West Coast study of “disadvantaged minority-group youthful marihuana users…. marihuana was found to play a significant role in youth’s transition from a “rowdy” to a “cool” non-violent style.”
“No evidence exists that marihuana use will cause or lead to the commission of violent or aggressive behavior by the large majority of psychologically and socially mature individuals in the general population.”
For non-violent crime, “Recent data suggest that some of this confusion may be the result of a fairly widespread misconception about the addiction potential of marihuana. To the extent that persons believe marihuana users are physically dependent on the drug, they may assume that, like the heroin user, the marihuana user commits his offenses in order to support what is perceived as a drug habit;… There is no evidence that this is the case, even for those who use the drug heavily.”
Marihuana and driving: In simulator studies suggest that while marihuana can produce interference with motor/mental abilities which affect driving, “these effects were generally believed to be readily overcome by the exercise of extreme caution by the driver and a significant reduction in speed.”
‘The few driving simulator tests completed to date have generally revealed no significant correlations between marihuana use and driving disabilities.”
“Drug abuse is the use of psychoactive drugs in a way likely to induce mental dysfunction and disordered behavior.”
“The Commission believes that many of the perplexing issues relating to psychoactive drugs, including marihuana, can be clarified if drug abuse refers only to the impact of drug-induced behavior on society.”
Lethality: “Experiments with the drug in monkeys demonstrated that the dose required for overdose death was enormous and for all practical purposes unachievable by humans smoking marihuana.”
No genetic damage.
The Commission reviewed (for long-term, chronic effects of heavy use-up to 41 years), contemporary studies, and lower socioeconomic populations of Afghanistan, Greece, and Jamaica. “Minimal abnormalities in pulmonary function have been observed in some cases of heavy and very heavy smokers of potent marihuana preparations (ganja or hashish). However, one study concluded the cause was smoking in general, no matter what the substance. The other study could no express any conclusion because of the absence of a control population. Such decrements in normal pulmonary capacity may represent early warning signals in the development of chronic lung disease.”
No brain damage.
“No outstanding abnormalities in psychological tests, psychiatric interviews or coping patterns have been conclusively documented in studies of cannabis users in other countries of the world.”
Believes that ‘amotivational syndrome’ “merits further research and evaluation.” But it occurs only in “heavy, long-term users”.
“In a word, cannabis does not lead to physical dependence. No torturous withdrawal syndrome follows the sudden cessation of chronic, heavy use of marihuana…. the level of psychological dependence is no different from the syndrome of anxiety and restlessness seen when an American stops smoking tobacco cigarettes.”
The House Ways and Means Committee, on the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937:
Under the influence of this drug the will is destroyed and all power of directing and controlling thought is lost. Inhibitions are released. As a result of these effects, it appeared from testimony produced at the hearings that many violent crimes have been and are being committed by persons under the influence of this drug. Not only is marihuana used by the hardened criminals to steel them to commit violent crimes, but it is also being placed in the hands of high-school children in the form of marihuana cigarettes by unscrupulous peddlers. Cases were cited at the hearings of school children who have been driven to crime and insanity through the use of this drug. Its continued use results many times in impotency and insanity.
In 1956, adding to the penalties for marihuana use, Senator Price M. Daniel, Chairman of the Senate subcommittee considering the ‘56 Act, commented:
Marihuana is a drug which starts most addicts in the use of drugs. Marihuana, in itself a dangerous drug, can lead to some of the worst crimes committed by those who are addicted to the habit. Evidently, its use leads to the heroin habit and then to the final destruction of the persons addicted.
“Arrests, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences of imprisonment all increased at both the federal and state levels”, once college youth started using it. Marihuana arrests by Customs increased 362% from FY 1965 to 1970. . Arrests by the BNDD (which concerns itself primarily with sale), rose 80% from 1965 to 1968. State arrests rose 1,000% from 1965 to 1970.
“When the Supreme Court declared certain aspects of the [Marihuana] Tax Act [of 1937] unconstitutional in 1969, revision of the law became essential.”
“At the college level, the response is even more lenient. In many cases official neutrality or even protection against police intervention substitutes for the restraint common at the secondary level. Under formal or informal arranggements with local law enforcement officials, many schools bar on-campus arrests for marihuana use. Apparently they have concluded that enforcement of the marihuana laws causes more harm than does use of the drug. In some cases, college authorities have substituted their own policy for society’s official policy. The Commission learned at one of its hearings in Chicago, for example, that a major Midwestern university explicitly declared that students would be subject to university disciplinary action if they were found in possession of more than one week’s supply of marihuana.”
“Having previously rejected the approval policy (option number one), we now reject the eliminationist policy (option number two). This policy, if taken seriously, would require a great increase in manpower and resources in order to eliminate the use of a drug which simply does not warrant that kind of attention.”
The other choices (besides approval and elimination) are discouragement, or neutrality.
“FOR THESE REASONS, WE RECOMMEND TO THE PUBLIC AND ITS POLICY-MAKERS A SOCIAL CONTROL POLICY SEEKING TO DISCOURAGE MARIHUANA USE, WHILE CONCENTRATING PRIMARILY ON THE PREVENTION OF HEAVY AND VERY HEAVY USE.”
“On the basis of this evaluation we believe that the criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance.”
Early prohibitions of alcohol possession were declared unconstitutional, for example, the Supreme Court of Kentucky, 1915, Commonwealth v. Campbell:
It is not within the competency of government to invade the privacy of the citizen’s life and to regulate his conduct in matters in which he alone is concerned, or to prohibit him any liberty the exercise of which will not directly injure society. … The right to use liquor for one’s own comfort, if they use it without direct injury to the public, is one of the citizen’s natural and inalienable rights…. We hold that the police power–vague and wide and undefined as it is–has limits….
In 1890, in Ah Lin v. Territory, Judge Scott wrote:
I make no question but that the habit of smoking opium may be repulsive and degrading. That its effect would be to shatter the nerves and destroy the intellect; and that it may tend to the increase of the pauperism and crime. But there is a vast difference between the commission of a single act, and a confirmed habit. There is a distinction to be recognized between the use and abuse of any article or substance…. If this act must be held valid it is hard to conceive of any legislative action affecting the personal conduct, or privileges of the individual citizen, that must not be upheld…. the prohibited act cannot affect the public in any way except through the primary personal injury to the individual, if it occasions him any injury. It look like a new and extreme step under our government in the field of legislation, if it really was passed for any of the purposes upon which that character of legislation can be sustained, if at all.
“As a matter of constitutional history, a second tradition, the application of specific provisions in the Bill of Rights, has generally replaced the notion of “inherent” limitations. The ultimate effect is virtually the same, however. The Fourth Amendment’s proscription of “unreasonable searches and seizures” reflects a constitutional commitment to the value of individual privacy. The importance of the Fourth Amendment to the entire constitutional scheme was eloquently described by Justice Brandeis in 1928 in the case of Olmstead v. U.S.:”
The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfaction of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone–the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.
In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court (in 1965) held that Connecticut could not constitutionally prohibit the use of birth control devices by married persons.
Such a law cannot stand in light of the familiar principle, so often applied by this Court, that a “governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedom.”… Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.
March, 1971, President Nixon said to the National Conference on the Judiciary:
What can be done to break the logjam of justice today, to ensure the right to a speedy trial–and to enhance respect for law? We have to find ways to clear the courts of the endless stream of “victimless crimes” that get in the way of serious consideration of serious crimes. There are more important matters for highly skilled judges and prosecutors than minor traffic offenses, loitering and drunkenness.
They recommend a partial prohibition, which would (they feel) have the following effects:
* Symbolizing a continuing societal discouragement of use;
* Facilitating the deemphasis of marihuana essential to answering dispassionately so many of the unanswered questions;
* Permitting a simultaneous medical, educational, religious and parental efforts to concentrate on reducing irresponsible use and remedying its consequences;
* Removing the criminal stigma and the threat of incarceration from a widespread behavior (possession for personal use) which does not warrant such treatment;
* Relieving the law enforcement community of the responsibility for enforcing a law of questionable utility, and one which they cannot fully enforce, thereby allowing concentration on drug trafficking and crimes against persons and property;
* Relieving the judicial calendar of a large volume of marihuana possession cases which delay the processing of more serious cases; and
* Maximizing the flexibility of future public responses as new information comes to light.
“The major features of the recommended scheme are that: production and distribution of the drug would remain criminal activities as would possession with intent to distribute commercially; marihuana would be contraband subject to confiscation in public places; and criminal sanctions would be withdrawn from private use and possession incident to such use, but, at the state level, fines would be imposed for use in public.”
In other words, and quite loudly:
* POSSESSION OF MARIHUANA FOR PERSONAL USE WOULD NO LONGER BE AN OFFENSE, BUT MARIHUANA POSSESSED IN PUBLIC WOULD REMAIN CONTRABAND SUBJECT TO SUMMARY SEIZURE AND FORFEITURE.
* CASUAL DISTRIBUTION OF SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIHUANA FOR NO REMUNERATION, OR INSIGNIFICANT REMUNERATION NOT INVOLVING PROFIT WOULD NO LONGER BE AN OFFENSE.
For states, they recommended that
* POSSESSION IN PUBLIC OF ONE OUNCE OR UNDER OF MARIHUANA WOULD NOT BE AN OFFENSE, BUT THE MARIHUANA WOULD BE CONTRABAND SUBJECT TO SUMMARY SEIZURE AND FORFEITURE.
“The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug. To replace it, we have attempted to design a suitable social policy, which we believe is fair, cautious and attuned to the social realities of our time.”
[The social realities being, the public does not yet support at greater than 50% the legalization of marihuana.]