The Marijuana Smokers
Chapter 4 - The Smoker's View of Marijuana
Marijuana's supporters are almost as varied in their advocacy
of its beneficial qualities as are its opponents in their allegation
of its dangers. We will encounter expressions ranging from the
simple and vague, "Pot's groovy," to complex, subtle,
and abstruse philosophical systems requiring volumes far weightier
than this to characterize. Yet, throughout the broad spectrum
of opinions for the drug, some more or less consistent ideological
threads may be detected. To begin with, users and supporters are
generally eager to neutralize arguments asserting the drug's harm;
there is an almost complete uniformity on the promarijuana side
in regard to the absence of damaging effects of cannabis. Users
who feel that the drug is harmful almost invariably discontinue
its use. Now, we might expect this to be true by definition: he
who uses something is not likely to assert that it is dangerous.
Not necessarily so, however. It is possible for a weighing process
to have taken place, for the user to say that it is somewhat dangerous,
but on the whole it's not all bad. Or we might encounter someone
who recognizes the compulsive aspects of an activity and who wishes
he could stop, but feels that he cannot, for instance, the alcoholic.
The chronic amphetamine user will readily grant the harmfulness
of his drug, admitting, wistfully, that his body is slowly being
destroyed. This does not deter him from using the drug; he is
still rhapsodic in praising it.
It is significant, therefore, that the marijuana supporter invariably
denies that the drug has any significant dangers associated
with its use. He further asserts that were he to discover
some hidden danger associated with the use of pot, he would stop
Both sides of the dispute claim to be positivistic in their stance.
Each believes that facts will vindicate its position. With regard
to marijuana, the American Medical Association writes: "An
informed citizenry... is the most effective deterrent of all,"
and the New York State Narcotics Addiction
Control Commission designed as a drug prevention organization,
in its official publication, asks: "Will Facts Put Lid on
Pot at Ithaca?" The
procannabis side, too, assumes that an impartial, unbiased survey
on marijuana use will inevitably uphold its claims. The two purposes
of LEMAR stated in its constitution were "to disseminate
information about marijuana and the anti-marijuana laws"
and to promote "the re-legalization of marijuana use, possession
and sale in the United States" and are held to be causally
related; if more people knew about the true nature of pot, the
laws outlawing it would be abolished. The only reason that Congress
and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics were able to push the 1937
statute through was public ignorance about the harmlessness of
the drug; LEMAR hopes to correct that ignorance. In any case,
the bedrock of the promarijuana position is that the drug is essentially
harmless. Thus, marijuana propaganda will nearly always include
a point-for-point refutation of the antimarijuana demonology.
Generally, the issue is whether or not marijuana may properly
be labeled a "dangerous drug." Not all cannabis advocates
will agree on this question, but the range of opinion will be
relatively narrow, at least as compared with the other side. The
radical position is that the drug is completely innocuous,
harmless in every conceivable way: "... marijuana...
is in all respects socially useful, and absolutely nonaddictive.
We defy anyone to produce a shred of evidence that marijuana.
.. produces at any time any adverse, depressive, or toxic
"completely innocuous" position is not to be taken absolutely
literally, since an "overdose" of water may prove
to be fatal; what is meant is that cannabis presents no dangers
beyond such commonly accepted substances as coffee, tea aspirin,
wine, and food.) The most conservative pro-pot position is that
the drug may, given an unfavorable setting or taken by an unstable
personality, precipitate a temporary state which could, by some
definition, conceivably be labeled as something potentially dangerous.
In general, users do not take the propagandized "dangers"
of the drug seriously, since they have spent hundreds and thousands
of hours high, and have seen dozens of others high, with little
or no ill effect.
There is more-or-less complete agreement on the relative harm
of the drug: that marijuana is, for instance, far less dangerous
than liquor. Another
comparison often made is that marijuana is less (or no more) dangerous
than driving an automobile. Both of these arguments are open to
empirical test and could, conceivably, be supported or refuted
The alcohol-marijuana comparison carries a great deal of weight
among potheads. They feel that they have a solid case for the
irrationality of the marijuana prohibition if liquor is, in fact,
more dangerous than their own choice of drug. They contend that
drinking carries with it very real dangers (although a high proportion
of marijuana smokers also drink, very few do so heavily), whereas
marijuana is, at worst, no more dangerous, and at best, completely
innocuous. "... alcohol is frequently productive of a hangover,
cirrhosis of the liver, violence, Dylan Thomas scenes, and the
creeping quivers..." declaims The Marijuana Newsletter,
a one-time organ of LEMAR, in a vigorous effort to urge defiance
of the marijuana statutes.
A marijuana user, in fact, feels a sense of superiority to the
liquor drinker, a feeling that can be labeled moral, ideological
and cultural snobbery. There is the faint hint of religious zeal
in claiming a convert, of winning proselyte from "lush."
The fact that so many young Americans once involved with alcohol
are becoming "heads" is confirmation to the potsmoker
that his intoxicating agent is spiritually preferable. The marijuana
user will refer to the liquor drinker in condescending terms as
lacking in style, sophistication, imagination, polish, subtlety,
and taste. He is gross, obnoxious, boisterous, boring, fatuous,
inane, and often violent. A twenty-two-year-old college graduate,
a "dealer," explains: "I go out in the drinking
world, sorta.... A lotta my friends in school aren't hip to drugs,
and they don't think I am. It's really strange. When I'm stoned,
I find it real hard, 'cuz, I don't know, their ways, you know,
the jokes and slapping around and loud tones, really gets to you
after a while. But when I'm straight I can sorta take it. But
not high." It might be hypothesized that this sense of superiority
grows out of real or imagined criticism for partaking in a condemned
activity. Regardless of the origin of the feeling, it is genuine,
and it forms an element in the marijuana subculture.
One of the more damaging antimarijuana arguments that users wish
to demolish revolves around the notion of the drug being capable
of producing psychological dependency. This item in the opposition's
propaganda baggage is emphatically rejected; users assert it simply
does not happen. "I can take it or leave it," is an
almost universal response. Heroin addicts contrast sharply: they
often can pinpoint the exact day they realized they were hooked,
and, at the more extended stages of use at least, almost never
deny their dependency, except insofar as it may be tactically
advantageous. Anyone who asserts that marijuana is as dependency-producing
as heroin ("At this point the [marijuana] user is just as
'hooked' as are the persons we used to call addicts") must
explain the vast difference between the claims of the two groups;
true or false, we assume that they tap some kind of underlying
The following affidavit submitted by a former user in defense
of a friend who was arrested for marijuana possession illustrates
the claim to the complete lack of power of dependency in the chemical
agent, cannabis; tobacco, the argument runs, in contrast, has
Marijuana is not harmful to my knowledge, because I have been
using it since 1949, almost daily, with only beneficial results.
It has a relaxing effect when tenseness is present. My depth of
perceptions has been increased; this carries over into times when
I am not under the influence of marijuana. Teaching children is
my profession. I have been a teacher for thirty years and at present
am the teacher-principal of a public school. During school I never
feel the need of using cannabis sativa, however, each recess is
eagerly awaited for smoking cigarettes. I do not consider marijuana
a habit-forming drug, but to me nicotine is.
After the furor which followed this public testament (given to
a judge), its author wrote: "... my house is 'clean.' I
have had no marijuana in the house [since then], nor have I smoked
it. This way I am able to prove that marijuana is not addictive
or habit-forming, any more than brushing one's teeth or listening
to music is addictive."
In an unpublished study of 131 marijuana smokers (24 percent were
daily smokers and 6 percent smoked marijuana less than weekly)
two law school students, Lloyd Haines and Warren Green asked the
users' subjective views on the dangers of several commonly used
drugs. Ratings of one (least harmful) to five (most harmful) were
given to each substance. About 80 percent rated marijuana one,
or least harmful, in terms of physical damage; none rated marijuana
four or five. On the other hand, a majority rated the other drugs
very harmful, physically. Two-thirds rated cigarettes (63 percent)
and stimulants (68 percent) four or five on the physical damage
scale, and over half rated alcohol (55 percent) and LSD (56 percent)
either four or five. In terms of psychological harm, only two
respondents rated marijuana either four or five, and about go
percent rated it one or two. Cigarettes were not seen as a particularly
great psychological threat; only 24 percent considered it four
or five in this category of harm. However, stimulants (amphetamines),
LSD and, to some extent, alcohol, were seen as capable of harming
the individual psychologically. Two-thirds for the stimulants
and LSD (66 percent for both) and not quite half for alcohol (46
percent) were rated in the two most harmful categories.
These data point to two clear facts: marijuana users vigorously
deny that the drug is harmful in any significant degree, and smokers
are capable of making clear-cut distinctions among various drugs
as to danger. Overall, amphetamines (speed) of all the drugs on
the Haines and Green list were seen as the most dangerous, with
alcohol and LSD contending for second place.
Often explanations for a somewhat puzzling activity are unduly
complex; subterranean and insidious interpretations are presented
where the participant explains it more simply: "I like it."
It seems that we find it necessary to search deeper when we cannot
identify with the reason supplied. If it does not seem conceivable
that anyone would actually "like it," whatever the activity
or substance, then a more plausible theory, often invoking a pathology,
must be summoned from the deep. To the critically inclined, "I
like it" is insufficient, merely a rationalization.
Yet marijuana's severest critic must recognize the fact that users
overwhelmingly describe the effects of the drug in positive terms.
(See the chapter on "Effects.") The fact that the high
is thought of as largely favorable cannot be ignored in understanding
the justification that smokers use. "It's fun" and "I
like it" are organic fixtures of the rhetoric for marijuana
use. Yet, so elastic is the real world that this very trait, often
cited by users themselves, is actually wielded by the cannabis
critics to condemn the drug. Donald Louria, in summing up his
critique of the question of legalization, writes: "The arguments
for legalization of marijuana are based on pure hedonismthe
proponents want the legal right to use the drug because
it gives them pleasure." Another
physician-educator, typifying the marijuana smoker's psychological
characteristics, writes: "The marijuana user... is..
. actively concerned with experiencing the sensuous and hedonistic
components of drug-induced euphoria."
Translated, these statements merely mean
that pot is fun to smoke; its users like it because it is fun.
It is a telling comment on the nature of a civilization that funeven
"pure" hedonismis taken as a criticism. Indeed, most
potheads would say, it is precisely hedonism that the drug resurrects
in a work-oriented Puritan society. Pot ideologues would assert
that a whiff of pure hedonism would be a refreshing tonic to "up
Thus, one of the key weapons in the armory of the marijuana worldview
is that pot is fun and pleasurable to smokethat sheer hedonism
is part of the cannabis scene. Marijuana is seen as one of the
primal joyous activities of man, like making love, dancing and
eatingall of which often accompany a pot high. Whoever tries
to understand the drug, its users and their mentality, has to
contend with their assertion that marijuana smoking is fun. It
is used as an adjunct and stimulus to the gratification of the
senses. He who takes a dim view of the gratification of the senses
will certainly be a critic of the drug. The fact that cannabis
is densely woven into sensual and gratifying activities and is,
moreover, seen as being, in and of itself, sensual and gratifying,
is perhaps its most essential and powerful appeal.
Marijuana's ideologues attribute to the drug a favorable impact
on their aesthetic impulse. The most commonly voiced such effect
is, of course, on the quality of perceived sounds: marijuana,
it is claimed, has the power to make music sound better. In a
study conducted by the New York Medical College, 85 percent of
all marijuana users in the survey agreed with this contention.
Among my own interviewees, nine-tenths of
those who had listened to music high preferred it to listening
"straight." Further, there were specific qualities attributed
to the music while high that made the experience unique and exciting.
One of these qualities is the ability to concentrate selectively
on a single sound or instrument, to hear that one in bold relief,
while the rest of the music behind it seemed flat.
Another music-enhancing power attributed to the drug is associated
with its synesthesia characteristics.
Of all of the descriptions of this phenomenon
I encountered, perhaps nine out of ten involved music.
Sounds under the influence of pot, it is often said, are more
than sounds; music is more than simply music. Somehow a multiplicity
of the senses seemed to be stimulated by music. Each sound reverberates
to the other senses and is translated into seeing or feeling.
An exquisite example of this phenomenon may be found in a short
story by a contemporary hip writer, Terry Southern. A listener,
high on hashish, describes the effect on him of jazz being played
by a musician, who is also high:
... every note and nuance came straight to him... as though
he were wearing earphones wired to the piano. He heard subtleties
he had missed before, intricate structures of sound, each supporting
the next, first from one side, then from another, and all being
skillfully laced together with a dreamlike fabric of comment and
insinuation; the runs did not sound either vertical or horizontal,
but circular ascensions, darting arabesques and figurines; and
it was clear... that the player was constructing something
there on the stand... something splendid and grandiose...
. It seemed, in the beginning, that what was being erected before
him was a castle, a marvelous castle of sound... but then,
with one dramatic minorjust as the master builder might at
last reveal the nature of his edifice in adding a single stone[he]
saw it was not a castle being built, but a cathedral.... A cathedraland,
at the same time, around it the builder was weaving a strange
and beautiful tapestry, covering the entire structure. At first
the image was too bizarre, but then... he saw that the tapestry
was, of course, woven inside the cathedral, over its interior
surface, only it was so rich and strong that it sometimes seemed
to come right through the walls. And then [he] suddenly realized
... that the fantastic tapestry was being woven, quite deliberately,
face against the wall.
Often the notes of the music will themselves become transformed
into physical objects; one of our interviewees saw the notes played
by an organ playfully bouncing off his ceiling while listening,
high, to rock music. Or, often while listening to records, the
musicians will be envisionedmetamorphosed into their subjective
musical equivalentplaying the music. A college student describes
a common experience with the drug:
Very often I can place myself inside a concert hall when I'm listening
to records. I can see the performance taking place in front of
me. This happened the first time I got high. I saw the band, and
they were dancing, and the drummer's feet, and all the performer's
heads, came to a sharp point, because the music was very shrill,
and the notes were sharp and pointed. And during the solo, I remember
the drummer got up and danced around his drums while he was playing
themon his points, the points of his toes.
Although laboratory tests have underplayed the role of marijuana
in stimulating musical "ability,"
certainly the increase in subjective appreciation
of music is difficult to deny. It is part of the appeal of the
drug, is a fixture of the ideology and mythology of the user,
and is one important scoring point for the pot proselytizer. Users
all the time and everywhere cite marijuana's impact on listening
enjoyment as a positive attribute of the drug, and any critic
of the drug's effect must wrestle with this trait in attempting
to understand its fascinations.
In dispute are marijuana's reputed effects on the visual sense.
While clinicians busy themselves recording the drug's hallucinogenic
temperament, its power to distort reality, the users themselves
utilize this to attract potential converts. About one-tenth of
our respondents reported that colors were brighter and more vivid
under the drug's influence; in a laboratory study, subjects reported
that, under the influence of THC, they perceived keener visual
and auditory impulses, indicating to researchers (along with other
effects) that the drug is psychotomimetic in nature.
But far beyond the simple claim that colors seem more vivid is
the impression that one's aesthetic sense is heightened, that
art works are understood better; the fine points once lurking
only in the artist's mind become wondrously evident to the high
viewer. Allen Ginsberg describes this enhancement effect on his
own understanding of a number of paintings:
I first discovered how to see Klee's Magic Squares as the painter
intended them (as optically three-dimensional space structures)
while high on marijuana. I perceived ("dug") for the
first time Cezanne's "petit sensation" of space achieved
on a two-dimensional canvas (by means of advancing & receding
colors, organization of triangles, cubes, etc., as the painter
describes in his letters) while looking at The Bathers high
on marijuana. And I saw anew many of nature's panoramas &
landscapes that I'd stared at blindly without even noticing before;
thru the use of marijuana, awe and detail were made conscious.
These perceptions are permanentany deep aesthetic experience
leaves a trace, and an idea of what to look for can be checked
back later. I developed a taste for Crivelli's symmetry; and I
saw Rembrandt's Polish Rider as a sublime Youth on a Deathly
horse for the first timesaw myself in the rider's face, one
might saywhile walking around the Frick Museum high on pot.
Many of our interviewees who were practicing artists agreed that
marijuana had a decided impact on the execution of their works.
A successful commercial artist told me:
My color sense is more vital and more flexible. I see and use
colors I don't normally. This isn't a fantastic increase in enlightment,
but a slightly greater sensitivity to color and form. Marijuana
makes me think more about the work, rather than just plunge right
in, without thinking. It heightens my conceptual powers. I am
able to trespass on a greater variety of media. I think of structures
and concepts I might not think about normally. But the results
are somewhat experimental. I'm usually satisfied with the experiment,
although not always satisfied with the actual physical painting.
This processthe heightening of the aesthetic sensibilityis
said to occur not only with music and the plastic arts, but with
all of the art forms. It occurs not merely because of a physiological
change in one or another specific sense, but is said to receive
its principal thrust from a change in thinking process, an impact
on the mind, on one's mentality, one's outlook on the world.
Leslie Fiedler said at the 1969 "New
Worlds" drug conference at Buffalo, "The end of both
drugs and the arts is exaltation and ecstasy." Psychedelicists
assert that marijuana, as the mildest of the psychedelics, allows
the individual to transcend his background limitations, free himself
from the encrustation of lies in his past and unhook himself from
a socialization of ignorance and error. Pot allows the individual
to communicate with his primal being, blocked so long by a repressive
civilization. Reality, high, may be viewed "as it really
is," without the aid of artificial props and distorting social
lenses. In fact, the very meaning of being high is said to
be encapsuled in the term "ecstasy," from the Greek,
meaning to get out of a fixed, inert state, and to become one
with the shimmering, pulsating cosmos.
... we know much more than we think we know, and grass is one
way of tapping that rich field of knowledge, insight and revelation.
Each of us has stored up in the mind and in the body a mine of
awareness.... But by adulthood our pattern of thinking, of bringing
out these thoughts, have become pretty rigid. Old patterns of
thought are repeated, and the same conclusions are reached. But
the unconscious has other answers locked away; marijuana may be
seen as a key to that attic. It breaks down this pattern by forming
new associations between previously unrelated material... perhaps
grass, by temporarily altering the chemistry of the brain, stimulates
new connections, linking up memories and information in unusual
ways. By this synthesis, fresh concepts are formed.... Whereas
my thinking is normally structured along traditional lines of
linear thought, reasoning, building from particulars to generalities,
and vice versa, and drawing associations, corollaries, various
conclusions based on other ideas, when I think behind grass, I
frequently think in flashes of insight, which may be related to
what had previously just passed through my mind, or which may
not necessarily be related to anything that went through my mind
as much as 30 seconds before that. So thought is not so architectural
and not so "linear," but more "mosaic." The
pot smoker sometimes makes conceptual leaps that are difficult
for others to follow.
In the McLuhan age, the important aspect of art is the experience
of the audience. The depth of the art is contingent on the number
of responsive chords struck in each individual; this indicates
a kind of art that is nonspecific and suggestive, rather than
explicit and denotative. The images produced by marijuana and
the other mind-expanding drugs lend themselves to this form of
art. When I'm stoned, my mind leaves the linear plane and moves
into new dimensions. Montage and synthesis are the media of perception
and expression. The images are symbolic and mosaic, rather than
logical and linear. The new art requires participation. You have
to get into it for it to work fully. Pot puts the artist in touch
with his unconscious, permitting him to explore truths about himself
which his ego has kept hidden. Even the audience is expanding
its conscious by becoming more involved in the art. Marijuana
is an important catalyst in this evolutionary change.
Many of the drug's critics, particularly the psychiatrically oriented,
discount its "mind expanding" qualities and its favorable
impact on the artistic imagination.
... marihuana... allegedly augments creativity, but there
are no valid data in support of this contention. On a substantial
number of occasions creative people have deliberately been given
marihuana and asked to carry out and interpret their artistic
activity under the drug's influence. In the majority of cases,
during the actual period of marihuana intoxication they felt that
their creative activities were enhanced. However, almost uniformly,
when the effects of the marihuana had dissipated and they again
viewed their creative activities, they found that in actuality
they had done very badly, a judgment substantiated by impartial
observers.... for most people there is no true increase in aesthetic
sensitivity under the influence of the drug and that in general
such effects, if valid, would be limited to those who would ordinarily
score high on tests designed to measure aesthetic appreciation.
Most artist-users view this assertion as being overly literal-minded;
few would expect any artist, in a laboratory situation, high on
the drug, to produce a work of art of high quality. Aside from
being misleading because it is artificial and mechanical, the
experimental situation cited above is deficient in that it does
not account for working while high as being one of number of possible
methods. Few artists actually do all of their work under the influence
of the drug. Many, however, use it as an adjunct to their work.
Some, for instance, use the high experience as a resource for
insight and imagination drawn upon at a later time. One of our
respondents, a twenty-year-old painter, said: "I can't paint
when I'm hightoo many things are happening in my head; I can't
make a brush stroke because I can't make a decision." Yet,
at the same time, he felt that having been exposed to the thought
processes associated with the drug experience had enriched his
Another style is to do some work while high, refine and revise
when "normal." The argument goes, one is able to take
advantage of the greater flow of ideas in the intoxicated state,
and to correct any incoherence, irrelevancies, inconsistencies,
momentary stylistic lapses and errors in judgment while straight.
It is not that the high mentality is simply superior, its defenders
would assertbut it is undeniably different. The high and the
straight mentalities "somewhere have their field of application
and adaptation," to use William James' phrase. Why not incorporate
the best of both worlds, each whenever it is appropriate? Our
anonymous informant, cited earlier, tells us:
When I write I generally turn on, do a first draft, and then re-write
when I'm straight. I find that my style is fresher and more original
than it was before. As an amateur playwright, I've found that
what I write high is freer and more honest. It is occasionally
somewhat incoherent, but I can correct that when I'm straight.
The point is that, freed from conventional processes, the mind
can produce more vivid, more original images and thoughts.
Whatever the process, marijuana and contemporary art are inextricably
linked. Few knowledgeable observers of today's artists and art
forms would deny that the overwhelming majority has smoked marijuana
at least once, and possibly close to a majority do so regularly.
Allen Ginsberg tells us:
... most of the major (best and most famous, too) poets, painters,
musicians, cineasts, sculptors, actors, singers and publishers
in America and England have been smoking marijuana for years and
years. I have gotten high with the majority of the dozens of contributors
of the Don Allen Anthology of New American Poetry 1945-1960;
and in years subsequent to its publication have sat down to
coffee and a marijuana cigarette with not a few of the more academic
poets of the rival Hall-Pack-Simpson anthology. No art opening
in Paris, London, New York, or Wichita at which one may not sniff
the incense fumes of marijuana issuing from the ladies' room.
Obviously marijuana's reputed ability to release man's creative
impulses need not be restricted to the aesthetic realm. The effects
of the drug, supposedly, are liberating and freedom-inspiring.
New associations pop into the head's mind. The arbitrary "mind-forged
manacles" are shattered. Conventional linkages enforced and
reinforced from birth appear as only one among a vast series of
equally viable alternatives. The marijuana user questions the
ultimate rightness and wrongness of society's mores. His world,
it is said, expands. He is suddenly in awe of the multiplicity
of new possibilities. He emerges from a tunnel into a teeming
jungle dense with potential. Blinders are removed. He finds himself
doing and feeling what he had once rejected, and scorning what
he had never even questioned before. His mind is overwhelmed by
demons, strumpets, and wizards previously altogether excluded
from his workaday world. His ability to take on new roles, consider
fresh alternatives, and carry out novel ideas, seems inexplicably
expanded. Or so the claim goes.
Is this a consequence of the drug? Or the subculture of marijuana
smokers? Is it something that occurs because its participants
think that it occurs? Does it occur at all? Is it, like
many other beliefs about marijuana, pure myth? Myth or not, it
is believed; it is part of the smoker's folklore.
There is, moreover, an ancient lineage; one of the most engaging
statements of marijuana's powers comes not from a contemporary
figure, but from the American poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, whose
wholesome non-head life spanned almost the entire last century.
In a poem, "The Haschish," Whittier dramatized the capacity
of cannabis to alloweven forceman to step out of the habitual
into the novel:
The Mollah and the Christian dog,
What was suggested a hundred years ago is today a dominant theme.
Change places in mad metempsychosis;
The Muezzin climbs the synagogue;
The Rabbi shakes his beard at
The robber offers alms, the saint
Drinks Tokay and blasphemes
The preacher eats, and straight appears
His Bible in a new translation.
Yet we must underscore the ideological nature of this claim. If,
indeed, such a process occurs at all, our reading of it is totally
determined by our present political position. To a conservative,
any agent which causes its users to question the foundations of
society as it is presently constituted is pernicious, undesirable,
and should be banned. To the critically minded radical who wishes
to reform society, such an agent is for the good. It is impossible
to settle the dispute rationally, since the values on which it
is based are totally within the zone of the nonrational. Since
most marijuana smokers are either politically liberal or radical,
they naturally would see this property of the drug as being wholly
desirable. And since most of marijuana's staunchest opponents
could be labeled politically conservative, their opposition to
this is predictable.
The smokers themselves look at this effect in more positive terms.
Although no mention was made of using marijuana because it had
the effect of releasing one's inhibitions, it was nonetheless
seen as a beneficial result of smoking the weed. One of our interviewees
describe this aspect of the marijuana high:
I'm more honest, open, more willing to let go, and admit to others
my feelings that they might interpret negatively. Time, the phenomenon,
the feeling of time passing, of growing old, disappears, and I
feel less depressed. Worrying about time and me getting older,
disappears. Time becomes more relative; I'm not as worried about
time. I feel as if I control my universe. I feel as if every beautiful
thing I want is right here in my room, and I don't have to go
outside to get it. I see beauty in myself, how sensitive I am.
I can become a fantastic creature, like a fairy. I can see into
truths and look for and find the answer to them. Marijuana takes
away fear and shyness. You can say what you think and not worry
about how the other person will respond. I can see causes of my
problems and can decide how to change things. There's nothing
to fear. This is what you learn on pot.
Twenty-eight-year-old songwriter, female
What can we make of the claim that marijuana releases inhibitions?
In part, it depends on our image of man. If it is basically demono-Freudian,
we will fear the uninhibited man, for we will see the superego
protecting man and society from man's savage, destructive, animalistic
inner being. This model, as we saw, guided so many marijuana horror
stories from the 1930s. "An eighteen-year-old boy, from a
respected family in a Midwestern city, smoked two reefers and
an hour later choked his sweetheart to death because she refused
his shocking, lustful advances born in a marijuana-crazed brain."
Needless to say, although this floridly paranoid
version of the effect of marijuana is not taken as seriously as
it was in the 1930s, some residue of fear as to the outcome of
releasing man's inhibitions remains. If we look upon society's
restraining institutions as necessary, beneficial, and for the
commonweal, then any agent which weakens man's grasp on them is
suspect. If, on the other hand, we see civilization as repressive
of man's true instinctshealthy, robust, vital, thick with wholesome
sweat and whoops of unrestrained desirewe can only applaud
an agent that is reputed to liberate man from his social bonds.
My position fits neither of these assumptions. Civilization cannot
be equated with repressionor protection. Man is civilization,
his inner being included. One layer stripped off reveals only
other layers, onion-like, into infinity. No one layer is any more
basic or genuine than any other. If man really wishes to sleep
with his motheror his sisterit is something that he has
learned. If, under the influence of marijuana, his sense of sexual
urgency is unbearably importunate, we must point out that sexual
desire, too, is a learned response.
Our feeling about the "possibility increase"
effect of cannabis is that what man may do when under the influence
of this drug will be neither outstandingly destructive nor noble.
It will be much like what he does normally. Their essential character
may change somewhatmore whimsical, less practical, perhaps
more sensuous, but not a world apart. If man will be somewhat
more likely to do what he wants to dowhatever that may meanwe
need have no fear that he is going to destroy civilization. At
least, not any more so than normally; man may very well do that
without the aid of drugs.
In contemporary existentialist terms, "bad faith" is
the illusion that the possibilities presented to the individual
by society are necessities. It is falling dupe to the lie
that the restrictions placed upon each person are real, legitimate,
and binding. By accepting a role which involves only one degree
of freedom, man denies the full circle of 360 degrees that is
available to him. Most men become "one-dimensional"
men, thinking that they cannot possibly act out all of the other
dimensions that represent their full human potential. They accept
the "fictitious necessity" of restricted possibilities.
In a sense, they become alienated from the multiplicity of selves
that they might become; they deny the possibility of the many
human forms which are actually available to them. They cut themselves
off from themselvesthe selves they might be, if they were to
reject society's restrictions. As Peter Berger once said, sociology
studies not only what is, but also what might be. The existentialist
philosophers and sociologists, then, wish to explore the limits
of human freedom, what man might be.
One such fictitious necessity is the ban on drug use. Society
presents a single dimension: no use of recreational drugs. The
existentialists would say that this is an unnecessary and artificial
restriction; man may become a fuller, richer, and multidimensional
being by exploring the drug phenomenon. By trying drugs, man probes
a fuller set of human possibilities. Taking drugs becomes a philosophical
choice, and might be seen as growing out of the same earth as
avant-garde art forms, radical politics, unconventional sex, and
uncompromising antimilitarism; in each case, a more complex alternative
is substituted for the relatively simplistic one that society
Another positive quality attributed to the drug by many of its
users and supporters is the claim that marijuana has an effect
on human empathy. The drug supposedly acts as a kind of catalyst
in generating emotional identification with others. This is said
to occur both on the microcosmic levelwith those whom one is
smoking withas well as on a more panhuman level. It is easier
to see how this process might occur within the context of a small,
intimate gathering of smokers. The physical act of passing a joint
around from one person to another (in contrast, say, to each individual
drinking his own glass of liquor), sharing in an activity and
a substance that all agree is beneficial, will probably create
bonds of identity and affection, even if the drug itself had no
This rapport assumes numerous guises. One form is the assumption
that it is possible, under the influence of marijuana, to both
identify with and to understand one's alter better. Communication
is facilitated. One of our respondents, twenty-eight-year-old
female songwriter and ex-schoolteacher, described it: "You
can get into the other person's head, identify with his position.
You learn to see the other side. Your mental vision becomes super-visionextrasensory.
You pick up 'waves' from the other person."
Other users will ascribe to the drug a simple positive role in
gregariousness. A recent study of seventy-four New York users
concerned with the described effect of marijuana, showed that
a high proportion (two-thirds) claimed that marijuana "helps
a person feel more sociable at a party."
Still others will maintain that not only
are the barriers to socializing removed, but that "it also
suddenly became much more fun." The magic spark of
the joy of human companionship seemed spontaneously ignited. Through
an inexplicable chemical, psychological or social process, or
perhaps as a result of social definitions of this process, marijuana
somehow touches off a kind of rapport in individuals that may
have been absent before the high. Truman Capote, the novelist,
puts it: "Pot makes the most stupid sound amusingthat's
the best thing about it. They never turn mean, they laugh at everything,
and they turn charming even if they are dull."
This principle sometimes takes on international overtones:
The American hemp connoisseur can travel to the mountains of Mexico,
the deserts of Egypt, and the bush country of Australia. There
he can sit down with the natives, and by sharing the pot experience,
can establish warm and human communications with them. Certainly
anything which so enables human beings to overcome differences
... and communicate as fellow members of the human race cannot
be without positive moral value.
On several weekends during the summer of 1967, several "smokeins"
took place at Tompkins Square Park in New York's East Village,
where marijuana smoking took place in public on a large scale
in front of the police. (There were no arrests at these times.)
I was present at two of the smoke-ins, interviewing several of
the participants, one of whom described his reactions to the events.
There was, like, a kind of community that developed between everybody
there who was smoking, an identity among everybody. I was just
standing there, digging the scene, and a cat laid a joint on me.
I took a drag and gave it to a PR [Puerto Rican] next to me. He
says, "Solid," takes it and hands me a bottle of beer.
I mean, you don't gel: that kind of scene without pot, man; it
pulls us together.
The events generated several eulogies in the underground press,
and some optimistic predictions of an expanded and widespread
public violation of the laws, along with a tolerance by the agencies
of formal control, such as the police, who made no arrests. ("By
next year will the Good Humor man be selling potsickles?")
A fantastic extrapolation of this attribution of empathy by
the drug's proponents is the claim that it has a kind of pacific
effect on users. (Evidence is sometimes presented that marijuana
was an ingredient of the Indian peace pipe, which turns out
to be historically erroneous.) Since it enhances emotive communication
with one's fellow man, the reasoning goes, it must therefore decrease
his aggressive tendencies and increase the inhibitions against
harming others. The war in Vietnam is said to corroborate this
The real beauty of pot, as every head knows, is that it turns
hostility into friendship, and hate into love, not only between
individuals, but even between nations.
I have seen it with my own eyes at Rest and Recreation centers
where both the NLF and the Americans send their boys.... [We]
inadvertently ran into our [Viet-Cong] counterparts one evening
... and as both parties were stoned, some curious and warm friendships
were formed.... While this melange shared a couple of joints,
the Americans were instructed in some of the fine points of Viet-Cong
pot use, and in return, the Vietnamese were told about American
innovations.... Conversation was warm, the war was not discussed
and the friends left each other in an atmosphere of good fellowship.
When the two sides sit down at the conference table... let's
be sure the top brass is serving marijuana tea.
Whether it actually occurs or not, whether a result of the
marijuana itself, or social definitions of the drug, peace and
love form essential components of the mythology of marijuana users
and their supporters, and are often used to support the argument
that the drug is not only harmless, but actually is of benefit
Some userscertainly a minority, albeit a highly vocal one
claim that marijuana has a contrary revolution-inspiring role.
The powerful socializing influence of parents and early peers
is said to weaken, and many of the rights and wrongs of childhood
are questioned. American politics suddenly sounds sour
and badly out of tune. Pot supposedly puts one's mind into
a broader ideological arena and, somehow, engenders sympathy
for the mistreated, the downtrodden, the suffering, and those
contemptuous of the oppressors:
The right-wing connects psychedelic drugs and radical politics:
they know where it's at. When the government outlaws dope, it's
like the government outlawing fun. Especially in a country where
the biggest barrier to building a revolutionary movement is supermarkets.
Drugs are an inspiration to creativity, and creativity is revolutionary
in a plastic, commercial society. Drugs free you from the prison
of your mind. Drugs break down conceptual and linear molds, and
break down past conditioning. When past conditioning breaks down,
personal liberation becomes possible, and the process of personal
liberation is the basis of a political revolutionary movement.
Smoking pot is a political act, and every smoker is an outlaw.
The drug culture is a revolutionary threat to plastiewasp9-5america.
Pot is central to the Revolution. It weakens social conditioning
and helps create a whole new state of mind. The slogans of the
Revolution are going to be: "POT, FREEDOM, LICENCE."
The Bolsheviks of the Revolution will be long-haired pot smokers.
All of these activities and perspectives that marijuana supposedly
enhances may be summed up, paradoxically, by one of the antipot
arguments which seems to score more points than any of the other
weapons in the arsenal: smoking marijuana is an escape from reality.
By refuting this argument, potsmokers feel that they have not
only neutralized a damaging contention, but have even scored a
few points in the drug's favor. Far from seeing the use of marijuana
as an escape from reality, the apologists in fact look upon it
as one possible means of embracing reality, even more dramatically
and soulfully than is possible normally. Art, sex, fun, freedom,
human companionshipall form slices of life, and the point is,
to make them even larger and more emotionally involving. The argument
is that marijuana drives the user into life more intensely, magnifying
the emotional significance and enjoyment of the best things that
life has to offer. "Pot," says Allen Ginsberg, "is
a reality kick."
It is only a specific kind of reality the antipots accept:
marijuana offers an escape from the mechanical, sterile, senseless
striving of a nine-to-five world, basically antilife in its steely
thrust. Marijuana thankfully, helps to obliterate that version
of reality. Potsmokers see this attribute entirely in the
drug's favor. In their basically romantic revolt, the ideologists
of the marijuana movement wish to glorify one particular
mode of living, discrediting another. The fact that the success-oriented,
materialistic, middle-class, over-forty generation has labeled
its special way of life the total compass of "reality"
is of no concern to the members of the drug movement. Their version
of reality is very different, a world populated with denizens
of a divergent phylum. If The Green Berets is reality,
does that make the Yellow Submarine any less real?
The civil libertarian position on freedom parallels the pot-smoking
prolegalization faction's. If,
indeed, the argument runs, the medical profession knows relatively
little about the effects of marijuana,
then what is really being said is that there
is no case for the drug's dangers. A case has to be made for the
deprivation of liberties. It
is impermissible to incarcerate anyone before there is definitive
evidence concerning the dangers of a drug. The federal and state
statutes were passed long before anything was known about the
effects of the drug. From a civil libertarian point of view, a
solid case has to be make before an activity is illegalized. And
no irrefutable causal connection has been established between
the ingestion of marijuana and potential or actual danger to oneself
or others, and until that connection has been established, the
marijuana statutes are unconstitutional and in violation of essential
rights and liberties. The cry that more research is needed before
its hazards are known is a transparent admission of the deprivation
of fundamental human rights.
The marijuana user is subject to society's definition of marijuana
(since it is illegal, he may be arrested for possessing and using
it), but society can safely ignore his definition of the drug.
For the user, the law, and society's evaluation of the drug, lack
legitimacy. That is, he feels that the law is wrong; he feels
that what he is doing is right, and in no way immoral or rightfully
subject to control and penalty. Users generally support legalization
of marijuana use; 95 percent of my informants supported some form
of legalization, and 80 percent wanted to see legalization without
any restriction. This lack of legitimacy for the law among its
broachers does not, of course, demonstrate that the law is wrong,
but when a society's legal apparatus meets widespread opposition,
then the basis of the law ought to be re-examined if that society
claims to be a just and rational one. It is possible, in fact,
that much of what the older generation sees as "lack
of respect" for the law among the young and dissident stems
from this feeling of outrage that such a harmless (in their eyes)
activity should be made criminal. It is an irrefutable fact that
among huge segments of the young, the pot laws simply do not make
sense. Now, that attitude may be argued, the dangers of pot may
be argued, the necessity for the laws may be argued, but the fact
that many feel this way cannot be argued.
In the Oakland study by Blumer and others, this attitude was taken
into account at the outset; exhortation against drug use was seen
as silly by the user. The original aim of the project was to act
as a brake on drug use of the young adults they encountered; this
goal was abandoned because of their informants' attitude toward
their efforts. They saw them as absurd.
... we found rather early that we were not having any success
in developing a form of collective abstinence. It became clear
that the youths were well anchored in their drug use and well
fortified in their beliefs against all the "dangers"
of drug use. From their own experiences and observations they
could refute the declaration that the use of harmful drugs usually
led to personal or health deterioration; they viewed with contempt
the use of opiates and rejected with evidence the claim that the
use of harmful drugs led naturally to opiate use. They pointed
out that the break-up of home life, with which many of them were
very familiar, was due to other factors than the use of drugs;
they were able to show that the limitation of their career opportunities
came from other conditions than the use of drugs, as such. They
met the fear of arrest by developing greater skill and precautions
against detection in the use of drugs. Added to these stances
was a set of collective beliefs that justified their use of drugs,
so that such use resulted in harmless pleasure, increased conviviality,
did not lead to violence, could be regulated, did not lead to
addiction, and was much less harmful than the use of alcohol,
which is socially and openly sanctioned in our society. Parenthetically,
we would invite any group of educators, scientists, welfare workers
or police officials to try to meet effectively the well-buttressed
arguments, based on personal experience and observation that our
youthful drug users present in frank, open, and uncowed discussion.
In sum, we learned that youthful drug users are just not interested
in abstaining from drug use.
This findingand I encountered it in my own surveyhas not
only practical but theoretical interest. Some deviants differ
from each other as much as they differ from conventional society.
It must be remembered that deviance and deviant are nonevaluative
terms from our point of view. Society condemns the deviant, but
we are only taking note of society's condemnation, not approving
of itnor disapproving of it. (We may also, as a person,
humanist, civil libertarian, conservative, or anything else,
approve or disapprove; but for the moment, we are merely observing.
Unless we know what is happening, we are not in a position to
condemn or praise.) However, many participants in deviant and
criminal acts disapprove of what they do. A child molester, for
instance, agrees with society's judgment of his act as depraved
and immoralso much that he denies having committed the act
for which he was sentenced while condemning other child molesters
as depraved and immoral. Thus,
an extremely important distinction among various kinds of deviance
and crime has to do with the attitudes of the authors of the prohibited
activity toward its moral rectitude. Marijuana smokers do not
look upon themselves as deviants. Most realize that society at
large sees their acts in negative terms. But they do not feel
that what they are doing is wrong. They do not agree with society's
Many deviant activities generate a mythology that reflects society's
condemnationthe fall from grace motif. As Goffman points
out, we find it among inmates of mental institutions.
Prostitutes explain to the customer how she
became corrupted, and took to "the life." I did some
interviewing on the Bowery and the same stereotyped themes emerged.
Homosexuals who are uneasy about their status will sometimes relate
their version of the fall from grace. The essential elements include
a normal, or even idyllic, past, an accidental occurrence which,
linked with the deviant's fatal flaw, produced the downfall, along
with some superficial genuflections at warning the population
at large not to tread the same path. There is a need to construct
rationales for their failure to live up to society's expectations.
These tales are streamlined and simplified; the dissonant elements
of the deviant's actual past are eliminated. In fact, the story
need not even be true in any respect; what is important about
them is that they respond to an expectation by society or the
deviant, or both, that there be some sort of rationally understood
explanation for the downfall. No one would actually choose to
live the life of a moral outcast; myths must be put forth to fill
that void of puzzlement. The fabrication need not even be conscious;
it is not simply a lie. It is a myth, a folk tale which helps
members of a society to adhere to a specific version of the moral
universe. It may, in fact, be believed by all participants. These
myths are interesting because of the social forces that brought
During the 1930S, myths about marijuana use abounded. They detailed
the downfall of innocent, unsuspecting youths, and their subsequent
life of debauchery, a consequence of curiosity about the evil
weed. They are propagated even today. However, what is interesting
about themand this marks the crucial difference between marijuana
smokers and the deviants just mentionedis that present users,
unlike prostitutes, or winos, never find the need to construct
and disseminate the fall from grace. It is attributed to them
by antimarijuana crusaders. Since marijuana users do not regard
their life as evil, nor the activity as an expression or instrument
of their corruption, they do not accept the mythology; its absence
reveals the lack of self-condemnation among users. Their view
is that either smoking marijuana is a trivial and irrelevant leisure
activity, to be enjoyed much like watching the movies, or it is
part of a larger, richer, more complex and exciting universe of
activities which, thankfully, they were privileged to be initiated
into. Very few smokers look upon use of the drug as corruption,
a downfall, or a fall from grace.
Heresy, as we know, is worse than merely sinning. The sinner who
is repentant may be forgiven; he who persists in proclaiming that
what he has done is not a sinindeed, who puts forth the claim
that it is virtuousmust be consigned to the flames of eternal
damnation. If the public and the moral entrepreneurs perceive
that a group does not accept the evil of its way, then a corollary
or compensatory explanation must be put forth. As Richard Blum,
a social psychologist studying drug use, has put it:
For... legislators, responsibility for self-indulgence in drugs
must be punished. Others... sometimes speak of the abominable
degradation of the addict who, paradoxically a victim of his habit,
resists all efforts to correct him. These people deserve, so the
lobbyists say, the harshest penalties. The drug "addict".
.. in their view has succumbed to temptation has embraced the
evil power in drugs, and refuses correction.... The only recourse
is further punishment for his wickedness, his demon and himself
now being one. Death itself is not ruled out as too high a price
for scourging demonsand death is the penalty for drug sales
under some statutes. On the other hand, the repentant junkie or
acid head is the most welcome of guests.
This lack of repentance, however, is far more common among potheads
than among junkiesand the repentant junkie far more common
than the repentant pothead. Part of society's wrath (and outright
puzzlement) stems from the lack of willingness on the part of
the marijuana subculture to see the other side, from their lack
of shame and even their feeling of superiority to the rest of
N O T E S
1. AMA, Council on Mental Health, "Marihuana and Society,"
The Journal of the American Medical Association 204, No.
13 (Tune 24, 1968): 1182. (back)
2. The title of an article published in The Attack, July
1968, p. 13.(back)
3. This term was invented by Joel Fort to describe the irrational
nature of the antipot propaganda. See, for instance, "A World
View of Marijuana: Has the World Gone to Pot?," Journal
of Psychedelic Drugs 2, No. 1 (Fall 1968): 5. Dr. Fort also
writes of the marijuana "mythogenesis." (back)
4. Editors of the Marijuana Newsletter 1, No. 2 (March
15, 1965): 9. (back)
5. Many of the drug's opponents agree, but rule that it is irrelevant:
Donald B. Louria, The Drug Scene (New York: McGraw-Hill,
1968), p. 115:
... marihuana's dangers... seem no greater than the documented
deleterious effects of alcohol. If the questions before us were
a national referendum to decide whether we would use... either
alcohol or marihuana, I might personally vote for marihuana
but that is not the question. The question is simply whether we
are to add to our alcohol burden another toxicant. (back)
6. Edward R. Bloomquist, "Marijuana: Social Benefit or Social
Detriment?" California Medicine 106 (May 1967): 352.
7. Garnet E. Brennan, "Marijuana Witchhunt," Evergreen
Review, June 1968, p. 55. (back)
8. Ibid., p. 56. (back)
9. Donald B. Louria, "Cool Talk About Hot Drugs," New
York Times Magazine, August 6, 1967, p. 51. In his book, The
Drug Scene, Louria makes the same point; cf. p. 112. (back)
10. David P. Ausubel, Drug Addiction (New York: Random
House, 1958), pp. 99-100. (back)
11. Richard Brotman and Frederic Suffet, "Marijuana Users'
Views of Marijuana Use" (Paper presented at the American
Psychopathological Association Annual Meeting, February 1969),
p. 13. (back)
12. Synesthesia is more common with the more potent psychedelics
(hallucinogens). For a technical discussion, see Heinrich Kluver,
Mescal and Mechanisms of Hallucination (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1966; originally published in 1928),
13. Terry Southern, "You're too Hip, Baby," included
in the collection of stories, Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other
Tastes (New York: Signet, 1968), pp. 76 77. (back)
14. The quote is taken from a transcript
of a taped interview of one of my respondents; this interview
was included as a selection in my reader, Marijuana (New
York: Atherton Press, 1969), pp. 52-55, in the chapter on the
"Physiological Effects of Marijuana." (back)
15. C. Knight Aldrich, "The Effects of a Synthetic Marihuana-like
Compound on Musical Talent as Measured by the Seashore Test,"
Public Health Reports 59 (March 31, 1944):431-433.(back)
16. Harris Isbell et al., "Effects of (-)A9 Trans-Tetrahydrocannibinol
in Man," Psychopharmacologia 1l (1967): 184-188. (back)
17. "The Great Marijuana Hoax: First Manifesto to End the
Bringdown," Atlantic Monthly, November 1966, pp. 106-112.
18. Ibid., pp. 109-110. The tie-in between aesthetic appreciation
and human empathy explored a few pages below is evident in the
claim that cannabis enables one to understand the artist's intentions.
19. A detailed exploration of the interpenetration of the psychedelic
drug thought processes and artistic creativity may be found in
Robert E. L. Masters and Jean Houston Psychedelic Art (New
York: Grove Press, 1968). Of special interest is the essay by
Stanley Krippner, "The Psychedelic Artist," pp. 164-182.
20. Timothy Leary has been one of the most prolific proponents
of this particular ideological stance. See his collection of essays,
The Politics of Ecstasy (New York: Putnam's Sons,
1968), and his "autobiography," High Priest (New
York: World, 1968). See also the book of essays edited by his
colleague, Ralph Metzner, The Ecstatic Adventure (New York:
Macmillan, 1968). (back)
21. Statement prepared by an actor, filmmaker, and writer, at
the request of the author. Published in Goode, op. cit., pp.
180-183. The writer of this statement wishes, of course, to remain
22. Donald B. Louria, The Drug Scene, pp. 112-113. (back)
23. Ginsberg, op. cit., p. 110. (back)
24. From the collection of poems Snowbound and Other Poems,
any edition. (back)
25. Elmer James Rollings, "MarijuanaThe Weed of Woe,"
leaflet (Wichita, Kans.: Defender Tract Club, n.d. [circa 1938]),
p. 5. See also Lionel Calhoun Moise, "Marijuana: Sex-crazing
Drug Menace," Physical Culture 77 (February 1937):
1819, 8789. (back)
26. To debate this pointan essential difference between sociologists
and Freudian psychologistswould require an entire volume-length
study. For an example of the sociological position on the origin
of sexual desire, see William Simon and John H. Gagnon, "Psychosexual
Development," Trans-action 6, No. 5 (March 1969):
g-17. Needless to say, this position is anathema to orthodox Freudian
27. Marx's work on alienation, particularly in the Economic
and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, provides the cornerstone
to this line of reasoning; nearly all of Sartre's writings are
also relevant to these concepts. For some more sociological discussions,
see Peter L. Berger, Invitation to Sociology (Garden City,
N. Y.: Doubleday, 1963), Berger and Luckmann, The Social Construction
of Reality (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1966); Berger,
The Sacred Canopy (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1967);
Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man (Boston: Beacon, 1964);
Ernest Becker, The Birth and Death of Meaning (New
York: Free Press, 1962). (back)
28. Brotman and Suffet, op. cit., p. 10. (back)
29. C. Robert Jennings, "Truman Capote Talks, Talks, Talks,"
New York, May 13, p.68, p.55. (back)
30. Randolfe Wicker, "Odds and Ends," The Marijuana
Newsletter 1, No. 2 (March, 1965): 9. (back)
31. Howard Smith, "Scenes," The Village Voice, August
3, 1967. (back)
32. "Stephen Nemo," Letter to the editor, Avant-Garde
no. 2 (March 1968): pp. 9-10. Often the same individuals who
report the drug's pacifist-inducing properties will also relate,
with sadness, the fact that it does not always work. A recently
returned veteran of the Vietnam conflict, a confirmed pothead,
describes several "head" colleagues in his company's
tank crew: "These guys would start at one end of a village
and run over the roofs all the way down to the other end, and
crush every man, woman, child, chicken, cat, dog, everything.
Dead. Then they'd cross the street and go down over the roofs
on the other side.... And when everything stopped moving, they'd
take the machine gun.... These cats are, you know different....
These guys turn on, but they've got war in their hearts."
See Ken Weaver, "Viper Vision Vietnam" (an anonymous
interview), The East Village Other, November 1, 1968, p.
33. Jerry Rubin, "The Yippies Are Going to Chicago, The
Realist, September 1968, p. 22. (back)
34. Rubin, "An Emergency Letter to My Brothers and Sisters
in the Movement," The New York Review, February 13,
1969, p. 27. (back)
35. Jerry Rubin, quoted in Peter Schjeldahl, "Thoughts of
Chairman Jerry," Avant-Garde, No. 7 (March 1969):
p. 33. (back)
36. The following remarks are based on Prof. J. W. Spellman's
talk given at the "New Worlds" Drug Symposium at the
State University of New York at Buffalo, February 28, 1969; Spellman
is a Canadian professor of Asian Studies. (back)
37. See, for instance, Sylvan Fox, "Marijuana Still a Mystery
to Scientists," The New York Times, February 2, 1969,
pp. 1, 58, for an exploration of the extent of disagreement and
lack of knowledge among scientists concerning marijuana's effects,
both long-and short-term. (back)
38. Michael Town, a law student, has argued precisely along these
lines: the state must "show a compelling interest" in
the "infringement of the individual's rights" regarding
marijuana possession. The burden of proof as to the drug's dangers
rests with the state, and as yet no adequate defense of the deprivation
of liberties has been submitted. See Michael A. Town, "The
California Marijuana Possession Statute: An Infringement on the
Right of Privacy or Other Peripheral Constitutional Rights?"
The Hastings Law Journal 19, No. 3 (March 1968): 758-782.
See also, Joseph S. Oteri and Harvey A. Silverglate, "The
Pursuit of Pleasure: Constitutional Dimensions of the Marihuana
Problem," Suffolk University Law Review 3, No. 1 (Fall
1968): 55-80; John R. Phillips, "Free Exercise: Religion
Goes to Pot,' California Law Review 56, No. 1 (January
1968): 100-115. (back)
39. Herbert Blumer et al., The World of Youthful Drug Use (Berkeley:
University of California, School of Criminology, January 1967),
p. ii. (back)
40. Charles H. McCaghy, "Child Molesters: A Study of their
Careers as Deviants," in Marshall B. Clinard and Richard
Quinney, eds., Criminal Behavior Systems: A Typology (New
York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967), pp. 75-88. (back)
41. Erving Goffman, Asylums (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday,
1961), pp. 150-151. (back)
42. Richard Blum et al., Society and Drugs (San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass, 1969), p.328. (back)