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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - Table of Contents

The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Chapter IV

social response to marihuana use

The Family

The most important institution for instilling social norms is the family. Parental attitudes generally parallel public opinion, and specific responses in our National Survey suggest an inclination among parents and non-parents to deal with youthful marihuana users through discussion and persuasion rather than harsh or punitive measures. When asked what action they would take upon discovering that one of their teenage children was smoking marihuana with friends, 47% of the adults responded that they would use persuasion and reason. Twenty-three percent favored a punitive approach. Interestingly, 9% of the latter group felt so strongly about the matter that they were willing to report their own child to the police. A considerable number, 35% indicated that they were uncertain about what to do, or failed to respond to this multiple response question.

The non-punitive trend was also apparent when the adults were asked what they would do if their teenage child was arrested for a marihuana offense. A substantial number (58%) indicated they would attempt to extricate their child from the situation, many not wishing their child to have a police record, while 34% expressed the sentiment that the child's arrest would help him learn a lesson.


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