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Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - Table of Contents

The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Commissioned by President Richard M. Nixon, March, 1972

addendum

Other Recommendations

1. Reclassification of Cannabis

RECOMMENDATION: THE COMMISSION RECOGNIZES THAT SEVERAL STATE LEGISLATURES HAVE IMPROPERLY CLASSIFIED MARIHUANA AS A NARCOTIC, AND RECOMMENDS THAT THEY NOW REDEFINE MARIHUANA ACCORDING TO THE STANDARDS OF THE RECENTLY ADOPTED UNIFORM CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES LAW.

Scientific evidence has clearly demonstrated that marihuana is not a narcotic drug, and the law should properly reflect this fact. Congress so recognized in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, as did The Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in the Uniform Controlled Substances Law.

In those states where the Uniform Controlled Substances Law has not yet been adopted, twelve of which continue to classify marihuana as a "narcotic", the Commission recommends that the legislatures distinguish marihuana from the opiates and list it in a separate category. The consequence of inappropriate definition is that the public continues to associate marihuana with the narcotics, such as heroin. The confusion resulting from this improper classification helps to perpetuate prejudices and misinformation about marihuana.

II. Information

RECOMMENDATION: A SINGLE FEDERAL AGENCY SOURCE SHOULD DISSEMINATE INFORMATION AND MATERIALS RELATING TO MARIHUANA AND OTHER DRUGS. THE NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE FOR DRUG ABUSE INFORMATION SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH THIS RESPONSIBILITY.

A great proliferation of drug information materials has occurred in recent years. These, materials are currently distributed by a number of federal agencies. Some of these materials conflict with each other. The result is a confusion and uncertainty on the part of the, public about the accuracy of all these statements. The public should have one federal source from which to obtain drug information. The National Clearinghouse for Drug Abuse Information appears best suited to perform this task.

III. Education

RECOMMENDATION: THE SPECIAL ACTION OFFICE FOR DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION IN THE WHITE HOUSE SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COORDINATION, DEVELOPMENT AND CONTENT REVIEW OF ALL FEDERALLY-SUPPORTED DRUG EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS ANT) SHOULD ISSUE A REPORT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, EVALUATING EXISTING DRUG EDUCATION MATERIALS.

The Commission has studied many programs of drug education throughout the country. Some are irrelevant, others are poorly designed, still others are misleading, and a good many of them are, of questionable value. A few are excellent. The Federal Government must provide assistance to the states and school districts in this matter, and should provide the leadership in developing sample programs in cooperation with educational systems. An evaluation of existing programs by The Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention of the White House could be very helpful in improving the standards of drug education.

IV. Voluntary Sector Participation

RECOMMENDATION: THE COMMISSION NOTES THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE PLAYED BY THE VOLUNTARY SEC TOR OF THE AMERICAN COMMUNITY IN INFLUENCING THE SOCIAL, RELIGIOUS AND MORAL ATTITUDES OF OUR NATION'S CITIZENS AND RECOMMENDS THAT THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR BE ENCOURAGED TO TAKE AN ACTIVE ROLE IN SUPPORT OF OUR RECOMMENDED POLICY OF DISCOURAGING THE USE OF MARIHUANA.

Already very active in drug education and prevention activities, the social agencies, service clubs, church groups, and other non-governmental bodies have, been extremely helpful in attending to the difficult problems of drug abuse. The local and personal nature of such organizations gives them an advantage over state and federal governments in the development of attitudes by our citizens.

The policy which we here recommend, indeed any policy which might be recommended, will inevitably encounter widespread and earnest objections. The fullest efforts of all citizens of good will be required to attend to the, massive problem of drug abuse in a calm, just, responsible and effective manner. The help of the voluntary agencies in working toward this end is earnestly invited and urgently needed.

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