FACT! - NOT DANGEROUS - Marijuana Is Not Dangerous

Any discussion of marijuana should begin with the fact that there have been numerous official reports and studies, every one of which has concluded that marijuana poses no great risk to society and should not be criminalized. These include:

  • the National Academy of Sciences Analysis of Marijuana Policy (1982);
  • the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (the Shafer Report) (1973);
  • the Canadian Government's Commission of Inquiry (Le Dain Report) (1970);
  • the British Advisory Committee on Drug Dependency (Wooton Report) (1968);
  • the La Guardia Report (1944);
  • the Panama Canal Zone Military Investigations (1916-29);
  • and Britain's monumental Indian Hemp Drugs Commission (1893-4).
It is sometimes claimed that there is ``new evidence'' showing marijuana is more harmful than was thought in the sixties. In fact, the most recent studies have tended to confirm marijuana's safety, refuting claims that it causes birth defects, brain damag e, reduced testosterone, or increased drug abuse problems.

The current consensus is well stated in the 20th annual report of the California Research Advisory Panel (1990), which recommended that personal use and cultivation of marijuana be legalized: "An objective consideration of marijuana shows that it is respo nsible for less damage to society and the individual than are alcohol and cigarettes."

    References: The National Academy of Sciences report, Marijuana and Health (National Academy Press, 1982), remains the most useful overview of the health effects of marijuana, its major conclusions remaining largely unaffected by the last 10 years of research. Lovinger and Jones, The Marihuana Question (Dod d, Mead & Co., NY 1985), is the most exhaustive and fair-handed summary of the evidence against marijuana. Good, positive perspectives may be found in Lester Grinspoon's Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine (Yale Press, 1993) and Marihuana Reconsidere d (Harvard U. Press 1971), which debunks many of the older anti-pot myths. See also Leo Hollister, Health Aspects of Cannabis, Pharmacological Reviews 38:1-20 (1986).