In October 1970, the Academy identified itself with those who favored Separating marijuana from the group of drugs subject to stringent narcotic laws. It recommended that individuals who were found to be in possession of the drug for personal use, or were present where the drug was being used, should be charged with a misdemeanor rather than a felony.1 Subsequently, the Committee on Drugs in a statement on drug abuse legislation noted its concern with marijuana.2
This position is based on the fact that marijuana is clearly not a narcotic and does not appear to have a potential for physical dependence. It should not be construed, however, as favoring the legalization of marijuana. A decision in this regard must await the development of further research on the properties of the drug.
The potency of marijuana has not been standardized and may vary widely. Furthermore, anecdotal accounts exist of the adulteration of marijuana with other chemical agents to produce a more profound effect. It has therefore been difficult to determine with precision the effects of marijuana as it is commonly used. The limited research findings that are currently available would not appear to indicate any significant harmful physical effects from the smoking by humans of moderate amounts of plain marijuana.
The recent report from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare3 states that "although the state of intoxication is frequently vivid as described by the (marijuana) user, an observer may see little change from a normal state. Mild states of intoxication often go completely undetected. Physiological changes are notably minimal."
- Copyright © 1972 by the American Academy of Pediatrics