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Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - Table of Contents

National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Chapter III

Social Impact of marihuana use

The Adult Marihuana User

Despite the fact that substantial numbers of adults use marihuana, society does not appear to feel greatly threatened by this group, probably because included in the group are a considerable number of middle class individuals who are regularly employed and whose occupational and social status appear to be similar to those of peers and colleagues who do not use marihuana.

In the course of its fact-finding effort, the Commission has met with several groups of socially and economically "successful" marihuana users in the professions of law, medicine, banking, education and business. In most cases, these persons, in their external appearances, seemed to be mature and responsible adults whose social attitudes and behavior did not mark them as radical ideologues or essentially irresponsible individuals.

For the most part, use of marihuana by adults has been found to be more directly related to the facilitation of social interaction (much like the adult use of alcohol in social gatherings) than to any other factor. Although their marihuana smoking behavior is illegal, most adult users are not ordinarily considered by their peers to be criminal nor is their use generally likely to result in arrest.

Because the adult user generally maintains low visibility, is primarily a recreational user, is not usually involved in radical political activity and maintains a life style largely indistinguishable from his non-using neighbors, he is not ordinarily viewed as a threat to the dominant social order. In short, aside from his use of marihuana, the adult recreational user is not generally viewed as a significant social problem.


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