The Shafer Commision

March 22 marked the 38 year anniversary of  it’s release. Though President Nixon appointed the commision members he didn’t care for the report’s findings. It’s been said that it actually pissed him off.

The report is quite in-depth. The title was (is) ” Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding.”  The full report can be found out yonder on the web.

Below is the final comment from the report.

A Final Comment

In this Chapter, we have carefully considered the spectrum of social and legal policy alternatives. On the basis of our findings, discussed in previous Chapters, we have concluded that society should seek to discourage use, while concentrating its attention on the prevention and treatment of heavy and very heavy use. The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective. We have attempted to balance individual freedom on one hand and the obligation of the state to consider the wider social good on the other. We believe our recommended scheme will permit society to exercise its control and influence in ways most useful and efficient, meanwhile reserving to the individual American his sense of privacy, his sense of individuality, and, within the context of ail interacting and interdependent society, his options to select his own life style, values, goals and opportunities.

The Commission sincerely hopes that the tone of cautious restraint sounded in this Report will be perpetuated in the debate which will follow it. For those who feel we have not proceeded far enough, we are reminded of Thomas Jefferson’s advice to George Washington that “Delay is preferable to error.” For those who argue we have gone too far, we note Roscoe Pound’s statement, “The law must be stable, but it must not stand still.”

We have carefully analyzed the interrelationship between marihuana the drug, marihuana use as a behavior, and marihuana as a social problem. Recognizing the extensive degree of misinformation about marihuana as a drug, we have tried to demythologize it. Viewing the use of marihuana in its wider social context, we have tried to desymbolize it.

Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgment, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem.

The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug. To replace it, we have attempted to design a suitable social policy, which we believe is fair, cautious and attuned to the social realities of our time.



  1. Dean W said,

    April 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I bet government wonks hate it when the research doesn’t back their viewpoint.

  2. capndrift said,

    April 15, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I’ve written about the current research studies that are showing that cannabidiol is effective in shrinking certain cancer tumors.

    New info?

    The Medical College of Virginia did the same work back in 1974. It was done with a federal grant. Their work showed that lung, breast cancers and virus-induced leukemia were slowed with THC. The mice lives were prolonged as much as 36%.

    The Feds pulled their money and squashed the research.

    Those days are over.
    It would be helpful, though, if the Government would release any and all studies that they’ve previously done.

    Like the one that the U.S. National Toxicology Program did in the mid 90s (cancer research again). That one cost us two million dollars.

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