Legalize Marijuana


[Originally published in Synapse - The UCSF student newspaper, Jan. 19, 1968]

A message from the UCSF student body president:

Marijuana Statement

The controversy falls into two categories: 1) Is the present legal attitude towards users appropriate? 2) Should marijuana be legalized?

The facts have never supported and do not support the classification of marijuana as a narcotic agent any more than tobacco or alcohol are so classified.

There is therefore no justification for treating users of marijuana as felons. We conclude that this legal injustice should be reversed as soon as possible. The possible legalization if marijuana is a separate question which should be weighed with the following consideration in mind.

As a consequence of a restrictive Federal Marijuana Law coupled with prohibitive State laws, American science has been largely prevented from doing any research with the drug since 1940.

The data from earlier work and sporadic research in other countries has been mostly from acute studies rather than long term chronic studies.

Since it is a potential recreational drug, the usage of which, if legalized, may become as widespread as tobacco or alcohol, it is precisely the long term data which we would like to have.

Since 1940 we have realized that there is a health hazard from tobacco smoking and have also become aware that many drugs can cause chromosome damage, it is safe to say that any chemical is toxic in sufficient excess.

Since we now have the technology and bitter experience of what to look for, it seems desirable that we quantitate the level of excess and define the nature of the toxicity before we plunge into what could be an irreversible experiment on ourselves.

In the context of a mind drug, psychological and social scientific studies would also appear necessary to establish whether or not the drug will have a net predictable effect on our sociopolitical system, and whether such an effect would be desirable or undesirable.

If the legal structures on research were lifted, this date could be obtained in the space of a very few years. We would then be in a position to know what we are considering in this question of legalization of marijuana usage.

Our conclusion is that the resources of science should be brought to bear on marijuana as soon as possible, and without further hindrance so that we will have a real basis for making an intelligent decision as to its legalization.