This Week in History 3/19/04

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March 22, 1972: The Nixon-appointed, 13-member National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, chaired by retired Republican governor of Pennsylvania Raymond P. Shafer, recommended the decriminalization of marijuana, and concluded, "Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it. This judgment is based on prevalent use patterns, on behavior exhibited by the vast majority of users and on our interpretations of existing medical and scientific data. This position also is consistent with the estimate by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable."

Regarding marijuana use and violent crime the Commission concluded, "Rather than inducing violent or aggressive behavior through its purported effects of lowering inhibitions, weakening impulse control and heightening aggressive tendencies, marihuana was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user, interfering with muscular coordination, reducing psychomotor activities and generally producing states of drowsiness lethargy, timidity and passivity."

Visit http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm for the full text of the Shafer Commission report.

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