The Marijuana Smokers
Chapter 11 - Marijuana and the Law
The Federal Marihuana Tax Act: 1937-1969
In 1937, the "Marihuana Tax Act" was passed by Congress
at the insistence of Harry Anslinger, then the Commissioner of
the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. There was little debate on the
measure, and the chief witness in support of the bill was Anslinger
himself. It was signed into law by President Roosevelt with little
public notice. While Howard Becker's "moral entrepreneur"
argument takes us a long way in explaining the passage of the
bill, it is really
only a partial explanation. As Becker tells us, moral crusades
are launched against every conceivable issue; often a seemingly
apathetic public will become outraged over an issue under
the fervent tutelage of a resourceful crusader. Sometimes, however,
statutes can even be passed without public support or knowledge.
In the case of the Marihuana Tax Act, most of the hysterical and
exaggerated antimarijuana articles seem to have appeared after
the federal law was passed, ostensibly to justify it. But
whether the act was passed for purely ideological reasons, or
as a calculated measure to expand the operations and budget of
the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, it
had been preceded by a marijuana statute in every state of the
union. In a sense, then, the federal law was redundant
and unnecessary, as all states had a law prohibiting marijuana,
and many of them were more rigorous than the federal law.
Moreover, the design of the federal act was peculiar. It did not
outlaw the possession of marijuana. Rather, it penalized the failure
to pay the prohibitive excise tax of $100 per ounce on the transfer
of marijuana. However, if anyone attempted to comply with the
law and filed the necessary form with the Internal Revenue Service
declaring his intention to purchase a quantity of the drug along
with the details of where, when, from whom, and how much, he would
automatically have incriminated himself under the state law. Actually,
the federal law was designed as a prohibitive measure. It was
presumed that nobody would ever comply, file the forms, and pay
the tax. No illicit user of marijuana could ever acquire the necessary
license, even if he were willing to pay the tax. Because of the
double jeopardy feature of the act, the Supreme Court, in Leary
vs. United States, nullified it. It was impossible to comply
with the law without facing sanction from the state laws because
federal officials passed on the intention-to-purchase information
to state officials.
The law was not struck down because the Supreme Court justices
thought that marijuana should be legalized. Indeed, it is entirely
possible (and even probable) that the Marihuana Tax Act will be
replaced by another federal statute outlawing the use, possession,
and sale of marijuana which is not marred by the self-incrimination
feature. It is only because there are effective state laws that
the federal statute was nullified, and the state laws will likely
remain in force for some time to come.
The State Laws
It is, of course, impossible to detail the provisions of each
state law within the space of a few pages. Occasionally crossing
the state line can make a dramatic difference. Until 1969, South
Dakota imposed a ninety-day sentence for marijuana possession,
while North Dakota had a ninety-nine-year penalty. However, South
Dakota stiffened its penalty, bringing it in line with that of
the other, more punitive states. Many
of the states have adopted the model Uniform Narcotic Drug Act,
and thus, there is now a large degree of uniformity of state marijuana
Not only is California the most populous state in the union, it
is also a trend-setting state: much of what is fashionable in
California later spreads to other states. There is no question
about the state's dominance in marijuana use. In terms
of the sheer numbers, as well as percentage, California has more
marijuana users by far than does any other state. (In addition,
the most reliable arrest statistics come from California's
Bureau of Criminal Statistics.)
We will now examine California's laws pertaining to marijuana.
Section 11530 of the Health and Safety Code prohibits the possession
of marijuana, which is defined as a narcotic. A recent District
Court decision limited the amount possessed to a useable amount.
What amount is "useable" is not clear: it varies from
one narcotic drug to the next, but a 1966 decision held that fifty
milligrams of marijuana was not a useable amount. Judges usually
dismiss possession cases based on a single "roach."
A first violation of Section 11530 calls for a one-to-ten-year
prison sentence; a second-time offender will be punished by a
two-to-ten-year sentence, and any subsequent violation calls for
a five-year to life penalty.
Section 11530.5 of the Health and Safety Code penalizes the possessor
of marijuana for the purpose of selling it. No fixed amount is
stipulated that defines the amount necessary to constitute a violation,
although if the marijuana is packaged, presumably the intention
to sell is evident. A two-to-ten-year first offense sentence is
imposed, while there is a five-to-fifteen-year sentence (with
a three-year minimum) for the second offense. The third and subsequent
offenses are punished by ten-years-to-life imprisonment with a
six-year minimum. Section 11531 of the California Code covers
selling (and giving away) marijuana. The first offense provides
for a five-years-to-life penalty; the offender is ineligible for
parole before three years. A second offense calls for a minimum
penalty of five years, and a third-time offender must serve at
least ten years before being considered for parole. Section 11532
stipulates that if an adult "hires, employs, or uses a minor
in unlawfully transporting, carrying, selling, giving away, preparing
for sale... any marijuana or who unlawfully sells, furnishes,
administers, gives, or offers to sell, furnish, administer, or
give any marijuana to a minor, or who induces a minor to use marijuana"
is subject to ten years to life imprisonment.
The above offenses are felonies. The California statutes also
provide for a variety of less serious misdemeanor penalties, for
less serious offenses. For instance, marijuana use in California,
or being under the influence of marijuana, is penalized by a ninety-day-to-one-year
sanction (Section 11721). Another section (11556) rules it illegal
to visit or be in a room or any place wherein marijuana is being
used "with knowledge that such activity is occurring."
The harshness of these penalties is mitigated by the fact that
Section l202b of the California Penal Code grants discretion to
the judge if the felon is under the age of twenty-three. Thus,
many mandatory minimum sentences may be reduced to six months.
In 1962, Rhode Island stiffened its marijuana penalties. Possession
of marijuana calls for a three-to-fifteen-year penalty; possession
with the intent to sell, a ten-to-thirty-year penalty; the gift
or sale of marijuana, a twenty-to-forty-year sentence; and the
sale to anyone under twenty-one, a thirty-year-to-life penalty.
Only first degree murder and treason carry such harsh penalties.
Second degree murder, armed robbery, and rape are considered less
serious under Rhode Island law than the sale of marijuana. Section
220.05 of the New York State Narcotics Laws holds the possession
of any amount of marijuana to be a misdemeanor: a one-year penalty
in prison. Section 220.15 rules that the possession of twenty-five
or more marijuana cigarettes, or one ounce or more, is a felony:
a four-year jail term. This section is comparable to California's
Section 11530.5, possession with the intent to sell, and presumes
that anyone with the stipulated quantities intends to sell. Actual
sale is a seven-year penalty in New York, and sale to a minor,
under twenty-one-years old, is a twenty-five-year felony. Several
states (Georgia and Colorado) have the death penalty for selling
marijuana to a minor.
Strategies of Enforcement: Arrest
In view of the extraordinarily high incidence of marijuana use
and possession, these penalties might seem harsh, even barbaric.
Let us look to see whether the provisions contained in the laws
are carried out. If, as we pointed out earlier, one-fifth or one-quarter
of America's college students have tried marijuana and
if more will do so by the time they graduate, we are criminalizing
the activities of several million human beings. The prisons of
this country are insufficient to hold such immense numbers of
inmates. What, then, are the patterns of enforcement of the marijuana
It is a common belief in the marijuana subculture that the big-time,
high-volume, large-scale profit dealer is protected by the police,
largely because of pay-offs, and that the nondealing user and
the petty low-volume dealers are arrested and convicted in order
to give the police a respectable record. Rumors were rife after
the massive raid at Stony Brook in February 1968, involving 200
policemen ("Operation Stony Brook") and two or three
dozen college students, that the biggest dealers on the campus
were not arrested, while all of those arrested were users or petty
The user often feels that arrests are motivated by personal or
political reasons. A college student elaborates:
The police don't bust Mafia dealers. The cops are too busy playing
games with little people who just, like, go home and smoke a joint.
But I guess these people are a threat. They look pretty scary
in their long hair and nasty clothes and things like that (laughs).
And besides a cop can't understand, when you get some dumb copeven
some smart cop, they're still dumbbut they can't understand
how these longhaired faggot commie pinkos can, like, can even
get laid. What could a girl see in a cat that's so fucked
up? I think this has a lot to do with it. Because the drug movement
is so sexual. These people, they just can't understand how this
happens. And this really insults this cop. Seriously, 'cuz he's
probably having trouble getting it from his wife once a
week. And this whole thingjealousy, man, is an animal instinct.
It's all an extension, man, a sexual extension. The cops are a
strange phenomenon. They go after the people that look weird,
because they figure that probably, well, this is my guess, they
figure that these are the kids that are into the revolution, they're
obviously revolting in some way.
Many observers of the American drug scene disagree with this characterization
and maintain that, on the whole, the actual implementation of
the harsh penalties for marijuana possession are very rarely carried
out, especially for small quantities obviously intended for one's
own use. Former Commissioner Giordano has been quoted as saying
that the chance that an apprehended college student with a single
marijuana cigarette will actually be jailed "is absolutely
In fact, the police will often express disinterest in arresting
the marijuana dabbler, the once, twice or a dozen-time user. They
say that their real target is the supplier, the dealer, the narcotics
peddler who makes a profit on misery:
Our Bureau is not interested in arresting the young student user
especially those who become innocently involved. We are not interested
in giving these youngsters a prison record which will hamper them
throughout life, which will deny them, and society, professional
careers. We are interested in getting at the source, the supplier,
the pusher, the drugiteer, the rackiteer who is behind the distribution....
We are not interested in arresting students; we are interested
in preventing... drugs from invading our campuses and student
population; we are interested in apprehending the outside distributor
who is working making the drugs available to our students; we
are interested in protecting the bulk of the student population
from being exposed to... drugs and from being innocently arrested
or raided concerning violations or narcotics laws...
Doubtless most police officers do not take so tolerant and lenient
a stand on marijuana use. (In fact, Bellizzi himself also stated,
in the same paper just cited, "Every user is a potential
danger to the general public.") The level at which the clearest
distinction is made between the dealer (especially the
large-scale dealer) and the user is at the federal level; even
before the nullification of the "Marihuana Tax Act,"
most arrests at the federal level were for dealing, not for simple
possession. At the local level, however, the officer is
more likely to see a grave threat even in the occasional user,
and will arrest anyone whose use is detected on whom he can make
a reasonable case. However, as we will make clear shortly, a great
deal is determined by the strategies chosen for detection.
Marijuana Arrests, State of California, 1960-1968
| 1960 || 1961 || 1962 || 1963 || 1964 || 1965 || 1966 || 1967 || 1968 |
Source: State of California, Drug Arrests and Dispositions
in California, 1967 (Sacramento: Department of Justice, Bureau
of Criminal Statistics, 1968) pp. 4, 5, and 1968 Drug Arrests
in California, Advance Report, April 1969, pp. 4, 6.
In order to make the scope of the arrest picture clear, I present
a table from California's official Drug Arrests and Dispositions
in California, 1968 (the most recent year available). It is
the total number of arrests for the years 1960-1968 on marijuana
charges. We use California's data because they are the most reliable,
complete and detailed. (In fact, this chapter could not have been
written without this excellent set of yearly statistics.) We are
struck at once by the massive increases in the number of arrests
in the past few yearsincreases which, by all indications,
will continue for the foreseeable future. The increase from 1960
to 1968 was about eight times for the adults and more than eighteen
times for juveniles. The rise did not begin until 1964
or 1965, and in 1965-1966 and 1966-1967 the rises were enormous.
In fact, so recent is the expansion of marijuana arrests that
in a book published in 1965, Alfred R. Lindesmith whose data on
marijuana arrests ended in 1962, claimed that on the federal level,
"... the number of marihuana arrests has steadily declined
and by 1960 it was close to the vanishing point...." In
a table enumerating an admittedly incomplete count of marijuana
arrests, federal, state, and local, for 1954, a grand total of
3,918 in the United States was listed. In 1967, in the county
of Los Angeles alone, there were over four times as many marijuana
arrests. In December 1967, there were almost as many California
arrests on marijuana charges in one month as there were in the
entire country for any entire year prior to 1960.
By any criterion, the number of arrests is enormousexcept when
compared with the number of users who are not arrested. The official
who claims that marijuana use is generally tolerated and ignored
by law enforcement agents does not have the facts. The claim that
only dealers are arrested, too, is patently false. Included in
the arrests are users of every "size." With these massive
arrest figures, let us look at how users and sellers get arrested
and what happens to their cases in court. Keep in mind that we
are using California's data because they are the only useable
ones available. We assume, however, that the California situation
pertains in some degree (and in general, to an explicit degree)
to what is valid in other states. California differs principally
in the size of arrest figures, and the close acquaintance
of its judges-with marijuana arrestees since they see so
many of them. But the way most users and sellers are arrested,
the trend of arrests, and their disposition, should not be
radically different from that of the other states.
Detection of marijuana violations is typically extremely
difficult. There is no victim and no complainant, so that systematic
surveillance techniques inherently involve a certain loss of civil
liberties. The success of any police venture is determined by
various situational features having to do with the kinds
of crimes that they are attempting to detect and prevent. For
instance, it is obvious that acts conducted by two consenting
adults who have a long-term relationship with one another,
and who have no incentive to punish or discredit one another,
conducted in privacy, are highly unlikely to be detected and sanctioned.
On the other hand, acts perpetrated on many people by one person,
previously unknown to them, in public, which they define as harmful,
are highly likely to be detected, and the perpetrator punished
for his act. Marijuana use, for instance, is clearly of the former
type. It is generally conducted among intimates or semi-intimates,
all of whom are compliant, in private; moreover, it rarely incurs
negative consequences, at least in the microcosm of the single
act of smoking during a single evening.
We would expect the ratio of undetected to detected acts relating
to marijuana violations to be extremely high. Among our 204 respondents,
we have a total of literally hundreds of thousands of instances
of use, several thousand cases of sale and purchase, and tens
of thousands of days of possession. That seven cases were brought
to the attention of the law enforcement authorities indicates
the low degree of access the police have to marijuana crimes.
If we compare marijuana infractions with a high-access and high-victimization
crime, such as murder, the contrast is dramatically clear. A tiny
fraction of marijuana crimes, probably less than one one-hundredth
of 1 percent, are detected with the violator arrested. With murder,
probably over go percent of all violators are arrested and brought
to trial. Even if
we compare marijuana with another crime without a victim, narcotics
possession and sale, the incidence of detection is extremely low.
The narcotics addict must purchase heroin several times a day,
in public. Even the heavy user of marijuana who does not sell
for a profit will make a purchase once a month or soone one-hundredth
as often as the junkieprobably from a close friend, in an
apartment, in a calm emotional atmosphere. He is, therefore, far
less likely to be detected, and far less likely to be arrested.
It is therefore apparent that the police face serious logistic
problems in apprehending the marijuana seller and user. To transcend
the limitations and restrictions surrounding them, special efforts
at detection must be made. Generally, the police have three methods
at their disposal: informants, undercover agents, and patrol.
The most common type of informant, in spite of frequent police
denials, is the "arrestee informant." They cooperate
with the police because they have themselves been arrested and
promised lenience if they supply the names of marijuana violators
known to them, usually their own dealers. The more names, and
the bigger the names given to the police, the more lenient the
police are. However, since most sellers known to the average marijuana
user are probably his friends, this procedure is likely to bring
conflicting pressures to bear on the suspect. It is not unknown
for the informant to select the names not on the basis of the
volume of sales, which is what the police are interested in, but
on the basis of his attitude toward the person he is about to
incriminate. The list of names often reaches down the distribution
ladder, rather than up.
The use of the undercover agent is designed to allow the police
to observe a criminal scene from inside. The agent poses as a
user, seller, artist, poet, or student, and takes part in marijuana
use and selling transactions himself. Often the agent will attempt
to purchase progressively larger amounts from progressively bigger
dealers to reach and eradicate the source, in which case, he will
often ignore the petty dealers.
Another procedure is simply to arrest anyone on whom incriminating
evidence has been gathered, as occurred with the Stony Brook arrests
of 1968 and 1969. The agent will frequently use the technique
of entrapmenti.e., request a purchase or sale himself, thus
"creating" the crime de novo, although it is
illegal. Often, instead of trying to make a case for selling,
an extremely difficult proposition involving solid evidence, the
agent will collect names on whom "probable cause" will
be exercisedthat is, their premises will be searched on the
presumption that a quantity of marijuana will be found.
Actually, although these two methods, the use of informants and
undercover agents, are dramatic and infamous in marijuana storytelling
lore, they result in a small minority of arrests. A 100-page monograph
published in the UCLA Law Review in 1968, based on 1966
data, attempted a complete exploration of marijuana arrests, carrying
the cases down to their complete post-arrest disposition.
I will rely heavily on this report, which
I will call the Los Angeles study, in the following exposition.
Much valuable information, not available anywhere else, is presented
in this document. For instance, the Los Angeles study revealed
that very few marijuana arrests are the result of preplanned strategy
on the part of the police. In the sample of arrestees in the study,
only 3 percent of the adult arrestees and 7 percent of the juveniles
were the work of undercover agents, while 23 percent and 15 percent
of the adult and juvenile arrests, respectively, resulted from
information supplied by an informant. Thus, in three-quarters
of the cases (74 percent of the adults and 79 percent of the juveniles)
neither an informant nor an undercover agent was used. The overwhelming
bulk of these cases, nearly all in fact, resulted from patrol
enforcement, in general, by far the most common source of marijuana
arrests. All indications point to the fact that the vast majority
of all marijuana arrests are not the result of a systematic search,
but accident. No arrest warrant was used in 92 percent of the
Los Angeles adult cases, and no search warrant in 97 percent of
the adult cases; in only four out of almost 200 juvenile cases
was either used.
Another indication of the accidental and unplanned character of
most marijuana arrests, in the Los Angeles study at least, is
the fact that more arrests were made in the arrestee's automobile
than anywhere else (45 percent for adults, and 36 percent
for juveniles). Nearly all of these arrests were, obviously, fortuitous.
A person is driving an automobile, and he goes through a red light.
The police give him a ticket, and they notice a marijuana cigarette
in an ash tray....
... in the routine case, what happens is an automobile is stopped
because the tail light is out, or something is wrong and there
is a traffic violation, and, as a result of the accident, a small
quantity of marijuana is discovered, and the people that are in
the car are then arrested....
Often the marijuana in the car is visible. Often it is not. Many
automobiles are stopped because the occupants look like candidates
for a marijuana arrest; if no marijuana is visible, the automobile
will be searched. The line between "probable cause"
for an automobile search, and no probable cause, and an illegal
search, is thin. The smell of marijuana smoke may constitute probable
cause. A hand motion may be interpreted by the patrolman as a
"furtive gesture," perhaps to throw a joint out of the
car window. Or shoulder-length hair on a teenaged boy may inform
the policeman that he is unconventional enough to smoke pot. Many
of the signs interpreted by the arresting officer as probable
cause will be rejected by the judge. Often automobile searches
will be an instrument in systematic harassment, rather than motivated
by the desire to make a case that will hold up in court. At any
rate, hundreds of such illegal automobile searches are made routinely
in New York's Greenwich Village and East Village. By the law
of chance, a sizable number inevitably turn up a quantity
of marijuana. Since the searches are done on those who are likely
to be marijuana smokers as well as the young and unconventional,
a legitimate protest against such harassment would be ineffective.
It does, after all, secure a great many arrests. The New York
police automatically search all parts of impounded and towed away,
illegally parked cars for drugs, any area of the car, in fact,
that they don't have to break into. This routinely gathers a large
number of arrests, but the American Civil Liberties Union claims
illegal search and seizure on all of these arrests and most are
actually dismissed because of their illegal character.
Another large proportion of the arrestees were apprehended in
a public place21 percent of the adults and 35 percent of the
juveniles. Public arrests are often the consequence of
"stop and frisk" procedures, the suspect supposedly
having given the arresting officer "probable cause"
to be searched. Obviously, much of the same police conduct occurs
with public arrests as those which take place in the automobile
of the suspect. The remaining third or so (35 percent for adults;
29 percent for juveniles) of the arrests took place in a private
place, most likely a house or apartment.
Most of the "systematic" arrests,
i.e., those which result from the work of an undercover agent
or an informer, take place in a private establishment. However,
probably most of these "private" arrests are also a
result of accident. A common sequence of events is as follows:
"... a person gets in bad company, or ends up at an address
where they (the police) have some information about a loud party,
and they go there and they smell marijuana smoke, and four or
five, six, perhaps seven, people are arrested and complaints are
issued and these people are charged with the crime of marijuana."
Obviously, the tactic used in law enforcement will influence the
kind of suspect arrested; a change in methods will result in the
capture of a different sort of person. Who gets arrested and who
doesn't when arrests take place by accident or patrol harassment?
It seems clear that because of their sheer numbers, these methods
are likely to result in the arrest of a great many mere users.
The frequent user-petty seller is vulnerable to arrest, simply
because he is around marijuana most of the time, and any random
moment he is approached by the police will find him possessing
incriminating evidence. The large-scale dealer who does not use
is highly unlikely to be arrested if random patrol methods are
employed if he disposes of his goods quickly. In fact, since nearly
all fairly regular marijuana smokers have a supply on hand
for their own use, the prevailing arrest tactics are most likely
to snare users; medium-to high-level dealers who have marijuana
on hand continuously are only slightly more likely to be arrested
than the regular userwho also has marijuana on hand most of
the time, although generally, a smaller amount.
The present enforcement methods, not being designed to arrest
the dealer, are unlikely to make a dent in the source of the drug
and will only result in feelings of injustice among users who
are arrested, since the seriousness of the crime bears a scant
relationship to detection and arrest. In fact, since the ratio
of undetected to detected crimes is so high with marijuana violations,
the relatively few (which is large in absolute numbers) who are
arrested will always ask, "Why me?" In California alone
in 1968 there were 50,000 arrests on marijuana charges. What proportion
of this figure could possibly have been large-scale dealers? How
many were dabblers, teenagers who had tried the drug a few times
and possessed a few joints for experimentation? (Over 16,000 of
these arrests were under 18 years of age.) More felons are arrested
on marijuana charges than for any other felony. At the same time,
a lower proportion of marijuana felonies and felons are detected
and arrested than possibly for any other felony. And probably
in no other crime is there so loose a relationship between seriousness
and likelihood of arrest. It is unlikely that the present tactics
will do anything about eradicating the marijuana traffic, but
at least by arresting so many users, the police will create an
illusion that an effective enforcement job is being done.
Arrestees, remember, do not represent all users. We do not have
a cross-section of users when we look at arrest statistics. There
are certainly systematic differences between them. It is no contradiction
to say that most arrests are accidental and, at the same time,
to say that arrestees do not form a random sample of all users.
To begin with, "accidental" is not the same thing as
"random." When an automobile is stopped for some trivial
reason, marijuana is stumbled upon, and the occupants are arrestedthis
is an accident. But it is not a random event. Over one-third of
all marijuana arrests took place in an automobile. What about
the users who never drive, or never drive when they are in possession
of marijuana? Obviously they will be underrepresented in arrest
figures. Or those that never, or almost never, carry marijuana
in publicthese users are also less likely to be arrested,
appearing only infrequently in the composition of arrestees.
Most state and local marijuana violation arrests are for simple
possession83 percent of the adults and 87 percent of the juveniles
in the Los Angeles study. Only g percent of all marijuana
arrests, both adult and juvenile, were for sale, regardless of
is partly a reflection of the unsystematic character of patrol
enforcement and partly a matter of a desire to make a case stick.
In order to make a case for selling, actual undercover work must
be done, which is rare. Often a known seller will be arrested
simply for possession because that is far easier to prove. Only
seven of my respondents were arrested on marijuana charges, so
that we do not have a complete picture of how arrests are made
and cases disposed of. However, we can examine their experiences
as a reflection of general law enforcement processes. In addition
to the seven who were formally arrested, one was apprehended,
but not arrested, possibly because of the illegal nature of the
apprehension. One individual (arrested twice) involved in smuggling
was not arrested in the United States. One of the arrestees was
judged at his trial not to be in technical possession of the marijuana
(one roach!), and the charges were dismissed.
Of the five remaining cases, one was arrested
twice. None of the five was incarcerated for his crime; four received
suspended sentences, and one was still awaiting trial at the time
of the interview.
With all of our cases, the detection of the crime was fortuitous;
in no case did an undercover agent seek out use and selling. We
cite three typical examples of the police accidentally stumbling
upon marijuana crimes:
A friend of mine whom I turned on felt guilty and told his father
about it. His father told the police, and the police followed
him to my house. At four a.m., the police rang my doorbell, and,
when I answered, beat me up, and then called my parents. I was
adjudged a youthful offender, and placed on probation for 14 months.
twenty-year-old college student
I was playing pool with another guy, and two cops walked in, took
us outside, and searched us, me and my friend, and then they searched
our car. One joint was in the car. We were searched illegally;
we were handcuffed before they even found anything. The charge
is going to be dropped because I'm getting a recommendation from
a youth counselor.
twenty-one-year-old clerk in a gift shop
I was sent one joint from Mexico through the mail. The customs
officials delivered the letter to my apartment in personthey
had a search warrantand said that they were going to search
my apartment. But I went and got my supply, and gave it to them.
They said that they were going to arrest me, but they were willing
to cooperate if I did. I supplied them with a name of a dealerknowing
that he was leaving for Canada that day. I wasn't arrested.
nineteen-year-old female clerk in a bookstore
Arrest is only the first step in a long legal process. The questions
involved in the post-arrest disposition are often extremely complex
and technical. The policeman, who operates on the basis of simple
guilt or innocence, is frustrated and angered to see one of his
cases dismissed on a minor technicality, feeling that the lawyers
and judges are trying to abort law and order. However, these formalities
were designed to protect the possibly innocent suspect, and they
usually err on the side of being overly generous in letting many
probably guilty suspects go free, rather than making the mistake
of jailing a few possibly innocent suspects. That this happens
to such a degree with marijuana charges points to the fact that
many judges, district attorneys, and lawyers have lost faith in
the justice of the marijuana statutes. A certain degree of leeway
is allowed the public officials after arrest; where many decisions
are resolved in favor of the suspect, we are forced to accept
the conclusion that the prosecuting officials do not support the
laws as they stand.
By making the arrest, the policeman is registering his presumption
as to the guilt of the arrested party. Actually, in the overwhelming
majority of the cases, he will be correct. The suspects he arrests
are almost certainly guilty of some marijuana-related crime, if
not at that instance, then probably at some other time. Anyone
around a quantity of marijuana, who associates with marijuana
smokers, who is arrested along with others who use, possess, and
sell the stuff, is highly likely to have used, possessed, and
sold at some time or another. The innocent suspect in the typical
marijuana arrest is extremely rare; the suspect who, by some outlandish
accident, happens to find himself, at the time of the arrest,
for the first time in his life, among users, and is suddenly arrested,
is almost nonexistent. Each arrest has a history of use behind
it. Each arrest has built into it a past of marijuana crimes which
carry with them heavy penalties. The arresting officer is dead
right in his assumptions, and is consistent in his actions. The
technicalities of court law obstruct his design. If guilt is certain,
why not prosecute? If the law is on the books, why not back it
up? If they are not firmly supported by the actors involved in
the post-arrest procedures, then why have them in the books?
Post-arrest disposition consists of procedural steps leading from
the arrest of the marijuana pusher or user to his imprisonment.
At any one of these stages, the arrestee may be freed from having
to proceed to the next step. The attorney may refuse to file a
complaint against him; the judge at the preliminary hearing may
refuse to "hold the defendant to answer" a complaint
that has been filed; the trial judge (or jury) may find the defendant
innocent; and finally, the defendant may be released on probation.
There are two types of factors which influence the district attorney
and the judge in deciding whether to release the arrestee at any
of the above stages. The first type of factors are those which
the law requires the trier of fact to consider in determining
guilt.... In marijuana offenses these include the legality of
a search, sufficiency of the evidence, and knowledge on the part
of the arrestee that he possessed marijuana....
[The] other factors which either the judge or district attorney
may consider in making his decision to release... include the
defendant's age his attitude, his previous contact with the law,
his family situation, and what the judge or district attorney
believes to be his moral culpability.
Great discretion, then, is permitted judges in marijuana cases.
Some who believe that marijuana use and sale are antisocial acts
rarely initiate dismissal procedures; others are known for being
lenient. Generally, small-town judges will dismiss less often
than those in urban centers. There is probably a positive relationship
between the frequency of marijuana cases brought before a judge
and the likelihood of dismissal. In the Los Angeles study, 12
percent of the cases brought before the district attorney for
filing were rejected, and the arrestee freed; in addition, 14
percent were rejected at the preliminary hearings.
Half of the cases wherein the judge dismissed
the disposition before him and refused to hold the defendant to
answer the complaint were because the police searched the defendant's
person or apartment on no "probable cause," i.e.,
the search was random and unprovoked; the defendant was doing
nothing which could have aroused the arresting officer's suspicion,
and the search was illegal. About one-third of the dismissals
were for insufficient evidence, a handful were dismissed on the
basis of entrapment, and a few were dismissed because the amount
possessed was insufficient (a few seeds, traces, or a roach).
(Judges usually have an informal "one joint" rule on
the sufficiency of the amount; a roach is technically useable,
but few urban judges prosecute on that amount.)
Very few cases go before a jury; over 95 percent of the adult
Los Angeles cases were tried before a judge. Defendants rightly
feel that a judge who sees marijuana cases daily takes the seriousness
of the offense more lightly than do members of a jury, who are
far more likely to be ignorant of the immensity and extent of
use today among the young. About two-thirds of the adult Los Angeles
cases which finally reached the trial stage were adjudged guilty.
This represents slightly under one-third of all arrests.
Of all the California adult marijuana dispositions registered
in the official state statisticsin other words all of the dispositions
which took place in the entire state of Californiahandled in
1967 (some of which were arrested that year, and some earlier),
slightly over half, 56 percent, were released, dismissed, or acquitted,
and one third (35 percent) were convicted.
Marijuana arrestees received much more lenient
treatment at the hands of California judges than heroin suspects,
40 percent of whom had their cases dropped while 44 percent were
Of the adult convictees, 59 percent of those who were arrested
on possession charges were "convicted as charged," while
41 percent were convicted on a lesser drug charge. For those charged
with sale, 48 percent were convicted as charged, and 52 percent
were convicted on a lesser charge. (Sale is more difficult to
prove.) Of these almost 4,ooo possession convictions, 44 percent
received "straight probation," and 34 percent received
a combination of probation and a minor jail sentence. Those convicted
of marijuana sale were not quite so fortunate; 23 percent received
probation, and 46 percent got probation and jail. Only 10 percent
of the possession convictees received a straight jail or prison
sentence; and 20 percent of the sale convictees got the same.
Looking at the yearly trend, we see clearly that probation is
becoming increasingly common. In 1961, under 50 percent of the
adult convictees got either straight probation or a combination
of probation and a light jail sentence; in 1967, the figure was
almost 80 percent. It
seems apparent that judges are gradually losing faith in jail
sentences in rehabilitating marijuana users; they are increasingly
thinking of marijuana infractions, particularly simple possession
and use, as trivial offenses not worthy of a prison sentence.
Of the variables which most strongly influence the granting of
probation, probably the convictee's prior arrest record influences
judges the most. Of all the adults convicted for marijuana possession,
with no prior sentences, 65 percent received straight probation,
with no jail sentence; for those with a record as a minor, 49
percent got only probation; for those with an adult record, only
25 percent received probation; and for those who actually had
a prior prison record, 16 percent got probation.
The percentage getting a prison or jail sentence
was 2 percent, 6 percent, 17 percent, and 41 percent for each
of these categories, respectively.
Even a consideration of the incarceration sentences reveals more
leniency than would be assumed from the length of sentences that
are called for in the law books. Well over a third (39 percent)
of the adult marijuana possession convictees who received a jail
sentence served less than three months. (Most of these
received these light sentences in conjunction with probation.)
Only 13 percent received jail sentences lasting more than nine
months. However those convicted on sale charges received
sentences comparable to heroin possession sentences; about one-quarter
of both got the less than three-month sentences, and about the
same amount received sentences of more than nine months.
Many judges take an arrestee's attitude of remorse seriously,
even though users are likely to adopt a cynical and mocking attitude
toward their own rehabilitation, which they consider a cruel joke.
Since very few users think of marijuana use as a problem, they
may adopt a pose of penitence for utilitarian purposes. During
the months after the 1968 raid on the Stony Brook campus, which
netted two dozen student users, a program was set up which resembled
Synanon, and was designed to rehabilitate and "redeem"
the marijuana user. The program was viewed by users and nonusers
alike as a pathetic farce, but the arrestees participated in it
because they believed that their presiding judge would be merciful
as a result. It is this kind of thinking that led one lawyer-observer
of the pot scene to write:
It is important for the defendant to have a cooperative attitude
with the probation officer.... Stable employment, conforming dress
and sincere remorse for having broken the law, combined with a
positive plan for future rehabilitation must be presented....
One who stands convicted of a crime cannot expect lenient treatment
if he goes before those who are about to sentence him with the
attitude that his actions are acceptable and the law is wrong.
Such an expression would probably encourage any judge, otherwise
disposed to grant probation, to allow the offender to spend a
substantial amount of time in jail to think about, and possibly
modify, his attitude. It is better to play it cool.
Arrest as a Status Transformation
Legal agencies have the power to define legal reality. They can,
of course, create laws and criminals de novo. But in a
narrower sense, the legal process is successful to the extent
that it either (1) compels the individual to accept society's
version of himself as in fact criminal, i.e., criminal
in more than a technical sense, a person deserving of society's
scorn and punishment, or (2) discredits the individual in important
areas of his life, impugning his trustworthiness, moral rectitude,
and integrity for many members of society. An arrest is able to
do at least the latter. There are, of course, those for whom an
arrest is a mark of honor, or at least has no moral significance.
But public exposure is often unavoidable in an arrest. Consequently,
one's private life is subject to public scrutiny. Surveillance
involves encroachments of privacy. Policemen
rarely make the fine distinctions between uncovering necessary
evidence and a wholesale invasion of privacy.
Being suspected of committing a crime, being under surveillance,
having one's dwelling and/ or person searched, being arrested,
booked, brought to trial, and (if it comes to that) convicted,
not to mention the nature of one's experiences in a penitentiary,
all serve as public degradation ceremonies.
The legal apparatus has immense power to determine the nature
of a felon's public and private presentation. Although
this is a variable and not a constant, in all likelihood he sees
himself as a man who has done something which is technically against
the law, but which in no way qualifies him for a criminal status,
for "true" criminality. He may not see himself as being
"a criminal." Nor does society, not knowing about
his crimes. Marijuana users often state that they "don't
think of marijuana use as a crime." But going through the
procedure of being arrested impresses in the mind of the offender
the view that one powerful segment of society (and perhaps, by
extension, society in general) has of his activity's legality.
In other words, the elaborate legal procedure, and its attendant
social implications, serve as a kind of dramaturgic rite de
passage, which serves to transform the transgressor publicly
into a criminal into "the kind of person who would do such
a thing." Although many going through the ritual will reject
the definition of them imposed by the process, it nonetheless
leaves its impress.
Formal Law, Substantive Law, and Law Enforcement
A common argument against marijuana use involves its legal status.
Aside from the debate concerning its dangers, or lack thereof,
to the human mind and body, the single irreducible fact regarding
marijuana which is universally agreed upon is that its use, possession,
and sale are illegal. The opponents of marijuana use this as an
effective weapon in their dialogue with the drug's advocates.
Regardless of one's point of view on marijuana, it is outlawed.
Everyone who uses it is a criminal, someone subject to the risk
of arrest and imprisonment who should expect to be punished.
Actually, this argument fails under close scrutiny. Many laws
perhaps most lawsare not enforced. Formal law, law as
it exists on the books, is very different from substantive law,
law as it is actually enforced. The breach of some laws engenders
widespread moral outrage, while the enforcement of other
laws incurs that same public wrath. "It's the law" can
never be an excuse for sanctioning an act, because "the law"
is a hodge-podge of archaic long-forgotten, and ignored statutes
that are never executed, along with those that are respected and
daily enforced. Masturbation is illegal in a number of states
(Pennsylvania, for instance), and in Indiana and Wyoming, it is
criminal to encourage a person to masturbate. In forty-five states,
adultery is illegal; Connecticut calls for five-year imprisonment
upon prosecution. Mere fornication is a crime in thirty-eight
states, and a breach of this law theoretically carries a fine
of $500 or two-years imprisonment, or both.
Many states dictate the manner in which one
may make love to one's spouse; cunnilingus and fellatio, for instance,
are against the law in many legal jurisdictions.
In view of the near-universality of masturbation
among men and the fact that a majority of all couples marrying
today engaged in premarital intercourse, the virtual absence of
any prosecution for these crimes is remarkable. Although sanctioning
all crimes without victims entails severe problems of logistical
detection, with adultery at least, divorce suits constitute a
fertile field. In New York state, where until recently adultery
was the only legitimate grounds for divorce, thousands of divorces
have been filed and granted in the past few years, yet almost
no one is ever prosecuted for this crime.
The enforcement of certain laws, therefore, cannot be taken for
granted. Enforcement is problematic. Thus, when a law is enforced,
it is necessary to ask why. What is it that differentiates those
laws that are enforced and those that are not enforced? The argument
that a man should refrain from performing certain kinds of sexual
acts with his wife, because "it's the law," is never
invoked. Yet this same argument holds up in marijuana debates.
Surely, it is not the formal status of the marijuana laws that
dictates their enforcement, but attitudes toward its use prevailing
among the public, law enforcement officers, and agents which make
leniency improbable. Rather than a matter of formal laws, marijuana
enforcement is a matter of morality.
The marijuana laws are an example of the many "crimes without
victims," an effort to legislate morality. There is no victim,
no complainant. The use of marijuana harms no one except the user.
(And there is question whether the user is harmed.) The marijuana
laws represent an example of the criminalization of deviance.
The legal machinery creates, by fiat, a class of criminals. If
a law is annulled, criminals magically become law-abiders. Prior
to 1961, homosexual acts were a crime in Illinois; after that,
they were legal. It is the law that creates the crime.
Yet, someone who violates a law is not necessarily a criminal,
at least, he is not viewed so by society. He must violate a law
which is more than formally illegal. Public attitudes toward the
law must be supportive, and toward its violators, condemnatory.
Arrest reinforces society's negative attitudes toward illegalized
behavior, and arrest is facilitated, and made more likely,
if society condemns, as well as illegalizes, the behavior in
Every society is in varying degrees made up of disparate subcultures
with competing versions of reality; the larger and more complex
the society, the greater the corresponding diversity of subcultures
in that society. Yet power is never distributed in any society
randomly; members of some subcultures will always have more than
members of others. And, although power over someone is by definition
linear and hierarchical, subcultures are mosaic and incommensurable.
Given the diversity of subcultures, some sort of effort has to
be made in effectively neutralizing power challenges from members
of another group not in power, or legitimating the validity of
one special definition of reality. Differential power and its
exercise represents attempts at moral hegemony, rather than simply
protection and extension of economic interests. Society is rent
by large groups of individuals who simply see right and wrong
in radically different ways. And many individuals have a powerful
emotional investment in the dominance of one particular subcultural
point of view. These are the moral entrepreneurs, the cultural
imperialists who wish to extend their way of life to all members
of society, regardless of the validity of that way of life for
the individual or group in question.
Although laws exist merely as a potentiality for sanctioning,
the mere fact that a norm, regardless of whether it has any general
community support, has been formally crystallized into law, makes
a great deal of difference as to whether any given individual
will be penalized for an activity condemned by the dominant culture.
Since each subculture has differential access to the formal agencies
of social control, a norm can have lost legitimacy for a majority
of the citizenry, and yet there will be some individuals who continue
to regard the law as just and legitimate, who happen to be in
a position of determining and defining the legal process, and
are therefore able to sanction in the absence of general societal
licitness. Laws and formal agencies of social control may be thought
of as a resource in the hands of one subculture to enforce their
beliefs on other, dissident subcultures. So powerfully is this
the case that members of a group may be punished, ostensibly for
an act which is in fact illegal, but in reality for another act
which is not formally illegal, but which the wielders of social
control find repugnant. Known political radicals are often arrested
for marijuana possession by evangelistic law enforcement officers,
frustrated because most forms of politically radical activity
are not formally illegal.
Clearly, however, most of the laws that are enforced have a high
degree of moral legitimacy. But legitimacy is a matter of degree;
the more widespread and deeply held a given norm is, the greater
the likelihood that its transgression will be effectively sanctioned.
The moral legitimacy of a given norm can be looked at as another
resource in the hands of moral entrepreneurs to punish dissident
It is, of course, highly relevant who accepts the norm.
The ability to translate infractions into sanctions is differentially
distributed throughout the social structure. Among some subgroups
in a given society there will be a closer correspondence between
their own norms and the law. Norms apply more heavily to subgroup
and subculture members, but laws generally apply to all. It is
likely that those groups which exhibit the greatest identity between
norms (their own) and the laws are specifically those groups that
have the greatest power to effect sanctions.
Moral entrepreneurs, of course, think of their work as protective
in nature. They see their task as protecting society from the
damaging effects of the criminal behavior, and the individual
committing the criminal acts from damaging himself. There is the
attempt, then, to extend beyond a simple prohibition of an act
because it is "immoral," within the confines of a specific
moral code; there is the further assertion that the act causes
objectively agreed-upon damage to the individual transgressor
himself, as well as to the society at large. Yet the very perception
of the act as immoral structures one's perceptions concerning
the actual occurrence of the "objectively agreed-upon"
The Law and the Question of Legalization
The question is often raised as to the justness of the marijuana
statutes, arrests, and sentences. A legal advisor to the Bureau
of Narcotics wrote, in a prepared speech before the National Student
Association: "With the exception of fringe elements in society,
represented by confessed users, few authorities take issue with
the present prohibitory scheme."
This charge was absurd in 1967; today it
is even more so. In fact, aside from employees of the Federal
Bureau of Narcotics, as well as other law enforcement agencies,
the present legal structure has the support of very few. Many
of the drug's toughest critics such as Donald B. Louria, advocate
a considerable reduction in penalties on use and possession ("so
that a minor crime is punished by a minor penalty"), an absolute
elimination of the penalties for being in a place where marijuana
is smoked, but a retention of the existing penalties for sale
and importation. (Louria
calls his suggestions "the middle road.") And in a recent
government publication, the appropriateness of the federal penalties
on marijuana and the basic antimarijuana arguments were seriously
called into question; this federal scrutiny of marijuana was made
specifically because "the law has come under attack on all
Huge segments of the American population feel that the legal ban
on marijuana use and possession should be lifted. There is not
a majority in any geographical locale, but this sentiment has
powerful support among many social segmentsthe young, for instance.
There are probably age categories where close to a majority support
some version of legalization. Certainly a referendum of college
students, if effected, would call for a considerable reduction
in the existing penalties; probably at least a sizable minority
of all college students in a national survey would endorse outright
legalization. However, a clear majority of college students support
legalization in some form or another in a great many schools,
especially those in or near urban centersUCLA,
California Institute of Technology
and Stony Brook, for instance. A recent referendum
at the last of these schools, showed the following degree of support
for various legalization alternatives: (see Table 11-2).
Support for Legalization at Stony Brook (percent)
"What changes in state and federal marijuana laws would you make?"
|Increase penalties for sale and possession ||7|
|No change ||14|
|Decrease only penalties for possession ||12|
|Abolish penalties for possession, and retain some penalty for sale ||9|
|Restricted legalization (state licensing of distributors, sale only to adults, etc.)||38|
|Complete unrestricted legalization ||21|
| ||N = 2,435|
It is necessary to consider some fundamental questions. What do
we want the laws to do? What is the purpose of the existing penalty
structure? What are we trying to achieve by punishing the use,
possession, and sale of marijuana? These questions are neither
rhetorical nor scornful. By asking them, I am calling for a sincere,
hard look at the laws and their basic underlying assumptions.
If we have been deluded about how they work, perhaps it is time
for a reassessment of their status.
As I see it, the laws against marijuana have at least the following
five functions (which bear with them correlative assumptions about
criteria of effectiveness): (1) deterrence, (2) rehabilitation,
(3) public safety, (4) vengeance, and (5) symbolic representation.
The first three of these functions are what might be called "instrumental"
goals, and the last two are "expressive." Deterrence,
public safety, and rehabilitation are goals whose attainment can,
within the very severe limitations of bias and differential
perceptionwhich influence everyone at all timesat least
ideally be determined. Of course, the public image of a
given reality may be wildly different from the image that a panel
of disinterested experts would have (were it possible to find
them). Who determines whether and to what extent goals have been
attained? Thus, the criteria for effectiveness, and the
determination of whether the goals have been reached, although
ideally perceptible, in practice become somewhat muddied. But
we should be able to see, in theory, at least, that the first
three of these goals are tangible. The last two are not tangible.
We can establish whether punishment rehabilitates the user, but
it is impossible to determine the effectiveness of the vengeance
or the symbolism criterion. It is not that the task would be too
imposing; it is that they are ends in themselves, given in the
nature of thingsfor some observersand they must be either
accepted or rejected outright. Their rightness or wrongness depends
entirely on intangibles, on emotion, sentiment, predisposition.
At first glance, a consideration of the first goal, deterrence,
might seem a vain issue, after even the most cursory glance at
the enormity of the arrest statistics. To the 50,000 California
marijuana arrests in 1968, we have those of every statenone
so great in number, singly, as California, but altogether at least
doubling and possibly tripling the figure for the whole country.
What of 1969 and 1970? Deterrence? Who, indeed, is being deterred?
But consider the question of whether the use of marijuana would
not actually be even higher were the drug legalized. The assumption
about use being stimulated by the thrill of breaking the lawthe
"forbidden fruit" hypothesishas no validity. Most
users are not attracted by the risk of incarceration, on the contrary,
most use marijuana in spite of the risks. Some psychiatrists feel
that lawbreakers feel guilty about imagined past transgressions
and seek a means to be punished. Such psychiatric judgments can
often be used as an instrument to attack any and all protests
of the existing legal structure. By giving scientific legitimation
to such psychiatric claims concerning deviants, a case is made
for slavish conformity to the law. Perhaps some psychiatrists'
patients fit this description, but as a general characterization
of marijuana users, it is clearly in error. Not only would the
number who try the drug once or a dozen times be much greater
were it legal and readily available, but regular (or "chronic")
use would claim far more participants as well.
Concerning our deterrence criterion, we are impelled to ask: Are
the laws "working"? The answer does not come easily;
how we answer it depends on our notion of what constitutes the
criteria of effectiveness. The marijuana laws probably work more
ineffectively than laws against any activity which is taken seriously
enough to draw a penalty regularly. That does not mean that some,
or many, potential users are not deterred. In a classic work written
over three-quarters of a century ago, The Division of Labor
in Society, Emile Durkheim wrote that society's enforcement
of the law has an effect on those who are punished less than on
those who are notthat is, those who might violate the law otherwise.
In a sense, those who go to jail are "sacrifices" in
order to serve the function of deterring their peers. And potential
marijuana users are deterred in massive numbers by the example
of arrests and punishment meted out to the less cautious. Exactly
how many are deterred, and how many the law fails to deter, is
impossible to determine. We can safely say, however, that the
deterrence function is breaking down yearly. I suspect that marijuana's
appeal is greater to the young than that of alcohol. Therefore,
I would say that were all restrictions removed, the under-twenty-five-years
of age range would use cannabis more than liquor today. Furthermore,
I would guess that a significant proportion would continue
to use it into their 30s and 40s. In other words, I think that
marijuana would eventually partly supplant liquor as an intoxicant,
were it legal and as available. Seen in this light, the laws have
a powerful deterrent impact.
Marijuana users, as we might expect, do not want to be rehabilitated.
This is not true of many lawbreakers who are caught. Narcotics
addicts are extremely ambivalent about their addiction; many have
a sincere desire to kick the habitalthough very few do. Not
so with marijuana smokers. They feel that they have no "habit"
to begin with. They will claim that they can give it up any time.
It is not a problem with most users. They will simply not see
the point of "rehabilitation." It would be like
suddenly defining sexual activity as a dependency, and attempting
to rehabilitate those who wish to indulge in sex; they would ask,
Arrestees are likely to be puzzled or angered by a marijuana sentence.
They are, to a considerable degree, isolated from the dominant
American ideology on pot and deeply involved in their own subculture's
conception of it as harmless and beneficial. Moreover, the relatively
few (but absolutely, many) users who are arrested gives them cause
for the accusation of distributive injustice. Rehabilitation is
predicated on the notion that the transgressor thinks of his transgression
as wrong. Users often give up use of the weed after arrest but
for practical reasons, not out of a desire to rid themselves of
a nasty habit. To demonstrate these assertions, a study of arrestees
would have to be made. In the absence of such a study, two users
who were arrested or who are serving prison sentences for violation
of the marijuana statutes voice reactions to their legal experiences:
It's rather discouraging to spend time in jail for the "crime"
of possessing a weed. I haven't hurt anybody, I haven't stolen
from anybody, I haven't raped anybody's daughter. Why am I in
jail? I don't feel like a criminal.
I committed a charitable act.... I agreed to turn this poor cat
onto some grass at his request. He promptly turned me in.
This silly grass law is only one small reflection of the mentality
that rules America and dictates what we can read, what we can
think and what position we must use when we make love.
My love to all the gentle people. Our day is coming.
Having been convicted of selling five dollars' worth of seeds
and stems to an informer, I am currently serving a twenty-to-thirty
... my bail was set at $4s,oooan impossible sum for me to
raise. So I sat in jail for four months before being tried. There
were twenty-five other marijuana arrests in [the]... County
in the past two years, but I am the only one who has been sent
to the penitentiary. Why this special treatment for me?
Law enforcement officers, however, often feel rehabilitation to
be a worthy goal. Often a judge's sentence will hinge on his feeling
that a jail sentence actually serves a rehabilitation function.
We are reminded of Lindesmith's description of one such case:
... an occasional judge, ignorant of the nature of marihuana,
sends a marihuana user to prison to cure him of his nonexistent
addiction. The writer was once in court when a middle-aged Negro
defendant appeared before the judge charged with having used and
had in his possession one marihuana cigarette during the noon
hour at the place where he had worked for a number of years. This
man had no previous record and this fact was stated before the
court. Nevertheless, a two-year sentence was imposed to "dry
up his habit."
What, in fact, are the effects of arrests, convictions, and jail
sentences on users? Are they as likely to use again as they would
if they were never arrested? This is, obviously, impossible to
answer. Nor can we compare their later arrest figures with the
arrest figures of a comparable group which was not arrested when
they were. (We don't know the base figurei.e., the total number
of users we are making the comparison with.) Since a small percentage
of marijuana arrests were arrested beforetwo-thirds of the
1967 California arrestees had no prior arrest record and a fifth
had a "minor" recordwe are not struck at once by
any evidence of obvious recidivism. Over a third of the heroin
arrestees in California and almost two-thirds of the "narcotic
addict or user" arrests had either a major record or a prison
sentence in his past. We know then that an immense percentage
of heroin users are not "rehabilitated." We cannot draw
such an obvious inference with marijuana users, since recidivistic
arrests are so much lower for them.
In the absence of proper data, some guessing here may be justified.
I would suspect that they use marijuana less after their arrest
than they would have had they not been arrested. How much less?
Two-thirds? Half? Enough to make it worthwhile? If rehabilitation
is an absolute goal, then any degree of reduction is a positive
gain. Viewed in this light, the laws are effective, merely because
they bring about some degree of reduction in use. In this
special sense, the judges may be right.
Some penologists are of the opinion that incarceration may have
a subtle criminogenic effect. By being sent to prison along
with professional criminals, drug addicts, and the violent,
a lawbreaker with little or no commitment to crime as a "way
of life" will absorb many attitudes, practices, and skills
which will contribute to their post-release criminality. In a
sense, prisons train people to become criminals. There is no doubt
that this process occurs with juvenile delinquents. I suspect
that marijuana users are well-insulated and sufficiently emotionally
involved in their own subculture, which basically frowns on professional
and violent forms of criminality, to be to some degree immune
from such influences. Perhaps, however, this applies only to the
middle-class, college-educated marijuana smoker who finds himself
in prison. Blumer, in a study of marijuana in the ghetto, claims
that a prison term is decisive in turning an ordinary pothead
to a life of "hustling" criminality.
The player is to be seen... as an enterprising member of the
adolescent drug world, alive to opportunities to get money by
small-time dealing in drugs, ready to engage in a variety of other
illicit sources of monetary profit, and strongly attracted toward
moving into a full time job of hustling by associating with hustlers
and learning of their hustling practices. It should be noted here
that the most effective way of getting such practical work knowledge
is through prison experience. If he is incarcerated he is likely
to be thrown into contact with older and more experienced hustlers
who, if they identify him as safe and acceptable, are almost certain
to pass on accounts of their experience.
We suspect that prison incarceration is more decisive than any
other happening in riveting the player in the direction of a hustling
However, whether this process occurs at all, and it is certain
to do so in some degree, it occurs with breakers of all laws,
not only those concerned with marijuana.
Consideration of the public-safety issue is even more complex
and unanswerable than the deterrence effect of the laws. Suppose
marijuana were legalized: would society experience more damage
than it does now? As stated in earlier chapters, this depends
entirely on one's notions of what constitutes "damage."
There are effects that some members of society would consider
favorable which others would consider society's downfall. We need
not go into this argument here. But what about those effects which
all or nearly all members of society would consider damaging?
Certain effects are nonpolitical; for instance, death, insanity,
automobile accidents, lung cancer, violence, and brain and tissue
damage. Are we contributing to public safety by outlawing pot?
To begin with, the addition of another intoxicant to liquor would
not be additive. (See Louria's argument on this.)
The evidence suggests that, although the
user is more likely to drink liquor than the nonuser, he cuts
down on consumption of liquor after his use of marijuana. Schoenfeld
writes: "The incoherent vomit-covered drunk was a common
sight in college infirmaries a few years ago. He is now rarely
seen on campuses where students have switched to marijuana."
Seymour Halleck, another physician, comes
up with the same answer:
Perhaps the one major effect of the drug is to cut down on the
use of alcohol. In the last few years it is rare for our student
infirmary to encounter a student who has become aggressive, disoriented,
or physically ill because of excessive use of alcohol. Alcoholism
has almost ceased to become a problem on our campuses.
Tod Mikuriya, a physician, has recommended (not supplied) marijuana
to his alcoholic patients, and claims improvement for them when
the substitution is made. And Blum's data suggest that regular
marijuana smokers have decreased their alcohol consumption markedly,
and the more they smoke, the more they cut down on liquor.
It would, therefore, be improper to add the damaging effects that
(we know) result from alcohol to those which (we suppose) will
result from pot. Were marijuana legal, a great percentage of liquor
drinkers, possibly some alcoholics, would desert their liquid
intoxicant for the burning weed. In one sense, though, the result
would be additive: we would have a greater total number than presently
who become intoxicated. That is, the number who become high on
marijuana (whether once, twice, occasionally, or regularly) plus
the number who become drunk, would be greater than the two figures
now. There are certainly many who would like to get high from
time to time who do not now because of the laws, but who do not
like to drink. Thus, the figure who use some intoxicant would
increase were pot legalized, but it would be far lower than the
additive effect of all those who now use liquor added to all those
who might use pot.
If we want to consider the effect of the marijuana laws on public
safety, we are therefore faced with the prospect of comparing
the relative merits of alcohol and marijuana. As stated
earlier, marijuana users cite the comparison as a powerful
argument in the drug's favor, while physicians dismiss the argument.
Where does that leave us?
In terms of tissue damage, the evidence is clear; no sane observer
of the American drug use scene would claim for marijuana the ravaging
effect that alcohol has. Daily moderately heavy usage of American
or Mexican cannabis, say, six joints a day, produces no known
bodily harm. (But we must remember that we have no valid studies
of potsmokers which span any length of time.) Daily moderately
heavy use of alcoholthe quantity comparable to the amount of
marijuana which would intoxicate the user for an equal length
of time, i.e., the whole day, would be about half a quart a daywill
destroy, threaten or damage most of the body's vital organs over
a long period of time. In terms of auto accidents, the evidence
we have suggests a gain. The drunk driver behind the wheel is
far more of a threat and a danger than the high pothead. Empirical
tests show that alcohol discoordinates the driver far more than
marijuanaif it occurs with marijuana at all.
Decrease in aggression, violence, and crime,
too, would be only a positive gain. Alcohol moreover is often
directly linked with the commission of crime; far from inciting
crime, marijuana, contrastingly, possibly inhibits it. Our speculations
on insanity would have to be even less firmly grounded in known
fact than those for tissue damage, automobile accidents, and violence,
but marijuana would have to strive to catch up with alcohol's
record; one of four admissions to a mental hospital is an alcoholic.
Here, too, I think, the use of pot would be a clear gain.
The members of the antipot contingent who claim that alcohol is
preferable to marijuana, and that legalization would be nothing
but a disaster for this or any nation, do have a single telling
point, as I see it. This is that marijuana is always used
to become intoxicated, or high, and alcohol is often, indeed,
perhaps most of the time, used for nonintoxicatory purposes. Alcoholic
substances are frequently consumed on many occasions where the
drinker does not become drunk or intoxicated. For instance, at
many sporting eventsfootball and baseball gamesseveral bottles
of beer may be drunk by a spectator without effect. The same may
be said for wine at a meal, cocktails (sometimes) at a party,
or sherry as a nightcap. Of course, many marijuana smokers do
drink liquor, beer, and wine, on those very occasions in which
the drinker also drinks them; drinking alcohol and smoking pot
are not disjunctive and mutually exclusive activities. The very
people who use one often use the other as well on those occasions
when it may seem more appropriate. In fact, marijuana smokers
are more likely to drink alcoholic beverages than nonsmokers are.*
It is entirely possible that the legalization
and widespread availability of marijuana will not necessarily
result in a greater number of total events in which people wish
to become intoxicated simply because users will continue to use
pot selectively as they presently do. They become high when they
feel that the occasion calls for it and use the same (potentially
intoxicating) substances that the rest of society does, in moderation,
when they feel that the occasion calls for that as well. However,
it is an empirical question which can not be answered beforehand
as to whether those specific occasions where alcohol is
now consumed without intoxication will eventually call for marijuana
use. I suspect that potsmokers will continue to follow the same
sorts of patterns in liquor consumption that their nonsmoking
peers do, drinking their beer, wine, and sherry as a pleasant
companion to other pleasant activities. The appropriateness of
one's agent of choice is defined by the social group that uses
it, and many occasions do not call for getting high.
But what of the other side? What social costs do we have to consider
when examining the damages the present policy is causing? To begin
with an issue most Americans assume that they are hard-headed
and pragmatic aboutmoney and resourceswe would have to admit
that the present policies are extremely costly. The deployment
of huge numbers of law enforcement officers in the effort to stop
pot use and sales necessarily takes resources away from heroin
and amphetamine traffic. In this sense, the present laws encourage
the use of truly dangerous drugs. And the court costs of processing
a single marijuana case can be, and often are, staggering, and
the number of cases handled every year in this country are beginning
to run over l00,000. How many millions of dollars do we feel is
worth spending? In addition, the laws contribute to a great deal
of resentment on both sides. The police realize that they are
enforcing a law without ideological support from large segments
of the public. The murderer never questions the right of
the police to arrest him; the marijuana user questions the legitimacy
of the law, and thus, the police and the entire legal process.
By multiplying the areas in which the police are expected to enforce
the law, a variety of paranoia develops among the policein
Jerome Skolnick's terms, they
begin to see "symbolic assailants" in the populace.
In the sense that they would be able to concentrate on truly dangerous
crimes, as well as crimes on which there is public support for
their prohibition, the police would score a clear gain were marijuana
use to be relegalized.
The damages to an individual traceable to the effects of marijuana
are minimal when compared with the damages he sustains at the
hands of the legal system. Marijuana
use and possession probably representsnext to numerous sex
crimes without victims, such as cunnilingusthe clearest case
where the penalty is incommensurate with the seriousness of the
crime. In most cases, the user suffers no damage whatsoever from
the use of this weed. In the typical case, it is a harmless activity.
Arguments will often be made, particularly by the police, that,
of course, in the typical case, marijuana use is relatively innocuous,
but that is only because of the relative innocuousness of currently
available marijuana. If the user were to get his hands
on really potent cannabisNorth African hashish, for instancesome
serious damage would manifest itself.
Thus, what is being done is to punish someone
for something which is essentially harmless because if he weren't
punished, he might do something which is harmful. (Even assuming
that there are such great differences in harm to users due to
the varying potency different of cannabis preparations.) To my
knowledge, this principle is not applied to any other area of
Moreover, no solid case has been made for the prohibition. In
1937, not a scrap of evidence existed for justifying the passage
of the federal law. Today, over a generation later, the fairest
statement that could be made is that adequate systematic evidence
definitively testing the relative harm of this drug has simply
not been gathered. And if a deprivation of liberties is to be
imposed, a conclusive case has to be made, as Justice Goldberg
declared in Griswold v. Connecticut The burden of proof
is clearly on he who would deprive liberties, not he who would
It should be realized that although these "empirical"
issues of public safety, rehabilitation, and deterrence are useful
for rhetorical purposes, they are not the most powerful
motives underlying the administration of the laws. The emotional
and "expressive" goals of symbolism and vengeance are
far more important, in my opinion. To someone who feels that marijuana
use is evil, the laws are just no matter what their practical
result. They are an expression of a moral stance, and are beyond
criticism on that level. The question of "evil" is intrinsically
unanswerable. Merely because crime is widespread is no indication
that the laws attempting to prevent it (and failing, in a sense,
to do so) are invalid and ought to be abolished. Over 10,000 murders
occur in the United States every year; should laws against murder
be nullified? There are about a half-million auto thefts yearly
in this country, and over a million burglaries. Should laws outlawing
these activities be done away with? The fact that the laws are
relatively ineffective in deterring an activity is no argument
for their abolition. If we feel the activity to be damaging to
societyeveryone has his own personal definition of what constitutes
damagewe resent efforts to evaluate the law in terms of "effectiveness."
I feel that, essentially, pot is a bogus issue. The present hostility
in some quarters toward its use and its users cannot be accounted
for by a consideration of the pros and cons of its effects. The
degree of emotion generated by the marijuana issue, on both sides,
leads an observer to conclude that marijuana must be a symbol
for other issues and problems. Psychoanalysts will often venture
the opinion that marijuana use represents a symbolic rebellion
against authority. But, curiously, the irrational motivation of
their parents have never been entertained seriously by psychiatrists
who devise such theories about the youngpossibly because the
psychiatrists who devise such theories are largely themselves
parents with adolescent children. Is the present ferment of the
young an attempt to kill the father? It might more plausibly be
argued that the reactions of the adult generation to the activities
of the young is an attempt to kill their sons. Marijuana merely
serves to crystallize a number of other issues, none of which
bear any relation to empirical and rational issues connected with
public safety. A rejection of the young for being young, for being
different from the older generation, for having long hair, for
being radical, for being uninterested in a plastic civilization,
for being too sexually permissive, essentially, for having a different
style of life, for drifting beyond parental control, for having
different tastes and valuesthese issues, rather than the concrete
issues of public safety, generate the conflict.
The United States is a cosigner of the 1961 Single Convention
on Narcotic Drugs, which constrains its signees, among other things,
to prevent the "abuse" of cannabis. The antimarijuana
lobby is firm in emphasizing the obligation of the United States
to respect this international treaty, perhaps one of the few cases
on record where political conservatives urge compliance to an
international law in preference to the hypothetical federal and
state legalization which the liberal pro-pot forces urge. The
argument is that when the American government became a partner
to the SCND, it became legally impossible to change the federal
or state laws to make marijuana possession legal. Harry Anslinger
writes: "... the United States became a party to the 1961
Single Convention on the control of narcotic drugs which obligates
the signatories to prevent the misuse of marihuana. Accordingly,
it will be utterly impossible for the proponents to legalize marihuana
to do so."
Actually, the Single Convention is so worded that it would actually
be possible to remove the legal sanctions against cannabis without
violating the conditions of the treaty. Article 36 of the Convention
states that the signing nations shall devise sanctions for the
possession and sale of cannabis "subject to its constitutional
limitations," and that "the offense to which it refers
shall be defined, prosecuted, and punished in conformity with
the domestic law of a Party." In other words, a signing nation
may decide, after signing, that the stipulations of the treaty
violate its internal laws, and may nullify those portions which
do so. Certain states of India, for instance, have retained the
legalization of many cannabis products, deeming a prohibition
in violation of local custom and law. In addition, the Single
Convention only refers to the pressed resin preparations of the
cannabis plantthat is, hashishand not the leaf substances.
The substance customarily used in the United States is not covered
by the restriction. Thus, in most cases, the Single Convention
would simply be irrelevant.
* It is no contradiction to say that marijuana users are more
likely to drink, or to have drunk alcohol, than nonusers are,
and drinkers typically cut down on their alcohol consumption when
they begin to smoke marijuana regularly, in fact, both statements
are true empirically. (back)
N O T E S
1. Howard S. Becker, Outsiders (New York: Free Press, 1963),
pp. 135-146. (back)
2. Donald T. Dickson, "Bureaucracy and Morality: An Organizational
Perspective on a Moral Crusade," Social Problems 16
(Fall 1968): 143-156. (back)
3. Ibid., pp. 151-156. (back)
4. For the lament of one user, snared after the change in the
marijuana law in South Dakota, see the letter to the editor, "Marijuana
Law," in the July 1969 issue of Playboy. (back)
5. Roswell D. Johnson, "Medico-Social Aspects of Marijuana,"
The Rhode Island Medical Journal 51 (March 1968): 175.
6. American Institute of Public Opinion (Gallup Poll), Special
Report on the Attitudes of College Students, no. 48 (Princeton,
N.J.: AIPO, June 1969), p. 30. (back)
7. John J. Bellizzi, "Stonybrook Could Have Been Avoided"
(Albany: International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association,
1968), pp. 2, 7. (back)
8. Alfred R. Lindesmith, "The Marihuana ProblemMyth or
Reality?" in The Addict and the Law (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1965), p. 237. (back)
9. J. Edgar Hoover, Crime in the United States (Boston:
Beacon Press, 1965), p. 21. Murder is more likely to take place
among intimates than among strangers. Where there is a complainant
or an obvious victima body, in this caseenforcement is facilitated;
where there is no complainant, it is rendered more difficult,
because the police have far less access.
10. Allan Morton, Joel Ohlgren, John Mueller, Roger W. Pearson,
and Sheldon Weisel, "Marijuana Laws: An Empirical Study of
Enforcement and Administration in Los Angeles County," UCLA
Law Review 15 (September 1968): 1499-1585.
It should be kept in mind that the data on which the Los Angeles
study are based are state and local arrests. Federal arrests
include a much higher proportion of dealers while state and local
arrests are mainly of users and petty sellers. Federal law enforcement
officers utilize different techniquesundercover agents principallywhile
state and local arrests are primarily the product of accidental
patrol procedures. (back)
11. Joe Reichmann, Testimony, in Hearings on Marijuana Laws
Before the California Public Health and Safety Committee (Los
Angeles, October 18, 1967, morning session), transcript, p. 6.
12. Luke McKissick, Testimony, in ibid., p. 62.
13. Howard Smith, "Scenes," The Village Voice, August
1, 1969, p. 20. (back)
14. Morton et al., op. cit., pp. 1533-1539, 1579, 1584.
15. McKissick, op. cit., p. 63. (back)
16. Morton et al., op. cit., pp. 1579, 1581.
17. Erich Goode, ed., Marijuana (New York: Atherton Press,
1969), p. 97. (back)
18. Morton et al., op. cit., p. 1543.
19. Ibid. (back)
20. State of California, Department of Justice, Bureau of Criminal
Statistics, Drug Arrests and Dispositions in California: 1967
(Sacramento: State of California, 1968), p.76.
21. Ibid., p. 82. (back)
22. Ibid., p. 85. (back)
23. Ibid., p. 87. (back)
24. Ibid., p. 89. (back)
25. Marvin Cahn, "The User and the Law," in J. L. Simmons,
ed., Marijuana: Myths and Realities (North Hollywood, Calif.:
Brandon House, 1967), pp. 56 57. (back)
26. In "On Being Busted at Fifty," Leslie Fiedler describes
electronic surveillance devices being used to detect the possession
of hashish during the ceremony of his Passover Seder. See The
New York Review, July 13, 1967, p. 13.
27. Harold Garfinkle, "Conditions of Successful Degradation
Ceremonies," The American Journal of Sociology 61
(March 1956): 420-424. (back)
28. Samuel G. Kling, Sexual Behavior and the Law (New York:
Bernard Geis and Random House, 1965). (back)
29. In partial contradiction to the general point concerning differential
enforcement, Playboy magazine prints large numbers of letters
from men in prison who were convicted for these crimes; our surprise
at their legal status is surpassed only by our discovery that
anyone is ever sanctioned for them. (back)
30. Even the occasional exception illustrates the point. A case
in a rural area of Vermont involving alleged adultery between
a married black man and a divorced white woman demonstrates the
need of a community to punish an activity which is legal (interracial
intercourse) in the guise of an illegal activity (adultery). For
a description of the events, see Life, April 4, 1969, pp.
31. The "yippie" ideologue, Jerry Rubin, recently arrested
on a marijuana possession charge by officers who emphatically
acknowledged their solely political concern in the arrest, reconstructs
questions directed at him by the policemen: "Why do you hate
America?" "Why did you go to Cuba when your government
told you not to?" "Hey don't you have any patriotic
magazines, any American magazines?" In concluding his article,
Rubin writes, "My case will show cops whether or not it is
easy to get away with political persecution disguised as drug
busts," Cf. Jerry Rubin, "The Yippies Are Going to Chicago,"
The Realist, no. 82 (September 1968): pp. 1, 21-23. See
also Don McNeill, "LBJ's Narco Plan: Lining Up the Big Guns:
Crackdown on the Way?" Village Voice, March 14, 1968,
pp. 1lff., and Irving Shushnick, "Never Trust a Man with
a Beard," The East Village Other, January 12-19, 1968,
p. 4. All of these journals favor legalizing marijuana.
32. Gene R. Haslip, "Current Issues in the Prevention and
Control of Marihuana Abuse" (Paper presented to the First
National Conference on Student Drug Involvement sponsored by the
United States National Student Association at the University of
Maryland, August 19, 1967), pp. 1l-12.
The Bureau of Narcotics seems curiously cut off from communication
with other government agencies. In addition to Haslip's chargeso
wildly different from the view presented by the President's Commission
survey of the literatureanother Bureau lawyer, Donald Miller,
in an article published in the fall of 1968, argued that the Marihuana
Tax Act does not constitute se}f-incrimination, and that
its operation was "critically different" from the gambling
and firearms statutes, recently ruled upon by the Supreme Court;
a few months later the Court, in an unanimous decision,
ruled precisely that the Marihuana Tax Act constituted
self-incrimination, as it had in the gambling and firearms statutes.
See Miller, "Marihuana: The Law and Its Enforcement,"
Suffolk University Law Review 3 (Fall 1968): 80-100.
33. Louria, op. cit., p. 120. (back)
34. The President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration
of Justice "Marihuana," in Task Force Report: Narcotics
and Drug Abuse (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office,
1967), pp. 12-14. (back)
35. "Referendum," Student Legislative Council, November
29 and 30, 1967 (unpublished), p. 1.
36. Kenneth Eells, A Survey of Student Practices and Attitudes
with Respect to Marijuana and LSD (Pasadena, Calif.: California
Institute of Technology, 1967). (back)
37. "Election Results," Statesman, State University
of New York, Stony Brook (October 1968). The Ns for "other"
responses and "abstain" were eliminated from the computation.
There is, of course, the methodological problem that students
who are interested enough to respond to the survey are those who
most favor legalization. That does not vitiate the notion that
prolegalization is a common sentiment on college campuses however.
38. Trod Runyon "Marijuana Blues," Letter to the Editor,
Playboy, April 1968. Partly as a result of this letter's
publication in Playboy, its author was freed after a liberalization
of Alaska's marijuana laws. See Runyon's letter in the September
1968 issue of Playboy. (back)
39. Larry L. Belcher, "Marijuana Martyr," Letter to
the Editor, Playboy, June 1968. (back)
40. Lindesmith, op. cit., p. 239.
41. Herbert Blumer et al., The World of Youthful Drug Use (Berkeley:
University of California, School of Criminology, January 1967),
p. 71. (back)
42. Louria, op. cit., pp. 115-116.
43. Eugene Schoenfeld, "Hip-pocrates," The East Village
Other, August 9,1968, p. 6. (back)
44. Seymour L. Halleck, "Marijuana and LSD on the Campus"
(Madison: Health Services, University of Wisconsin, 1968).
45. Alfred Crancer, Jr., et al., "Comparison of the Effects
of Marihuana and Alcohol on Simulated Driving Performance,"
Science 164 (May 16, 1969): 851-854.
46. Jerome H. Skolnick, Justice without Trial (New York:
John Wiley, 1966), pp. 4548, 105-109, 217-218.
47. See the letter to the Editor of Playboy, published
in the March 1970 issue, written by a former police officer, Richard
R. Bergess, who retired from the San Francisco police force after
twelve years, in part as a result of his feeling that the marijuana
laws were unjust and unenforceable. Bergess writes: "..
. police efforts to enforce these laws only increases the disrespect
and hatred of large numbers of young people. This loss of public
respect is no small problem: It concretely hampers police efficiency
in dealing with real crimes against people. The true crisis
in law enforcement today is police alienation from the public
they are sworn to serve" (Bergess' emphasis).
48. Even some critics of marijuana use admit this. See Stanley
F. Yolles, "Pot is Painted Too Black," The Washington
Post, Sunday, September 21, 1969, p. C4. Yolles states: "I
know of no clearer instance in which the punishment for an infraction
of the law is more harmful than the crime." At the same time,
Yolles feels that the legal restrictions against use and possession
of marijuana should not be removed. (back)
49. See Miller, op. cit., and Malachi L. Harney, "Discussion
on Marihuana: Moderator's Remarks," International Narcotic
Enforcement Officers Association, Eighth Annual Conference
Report (Louisville, Ky., October 22-26, 1967), pp. 50-51.
50. These points, and others as well, are brilliantly and passionately
argued by J. W. Spellman, in "Marijuana and the Laws: A Brief
Submitted to the Committee of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use
of DrugsGovernment of Canada" (Buffalo: LEMAR, 69).
51. From a letter, dated August 21, 1967, cited in Goode, op.
cit., p. 137. (back)
52. Michael R. Aldrich, "United Nations Single Convention
Can't Stop Legalized Marijuana," The Marijuana Review
1, no. 2 (January-March 1969): 1l. For the full record of
the SCND, see United Nations Conference for the Adoption of a
Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Official Records, vols. 1
& 2 (E/Conf. 34/24 and E. Conf. 34/24/ Add 1). These volumes
were published by the United Nations in 1964. (back)