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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Erich Goode- The Marijuana Smokers (A)


The Marijuana Smokers
  Erich Goode
    foreword by Alfred R. Lindesmith
  Content
      Foreword by Alfred R. Lindesmith
      Acknowlegments
1.   Overview
2.   A Profile of the Marijuana Smoker
3.   Marijuana and the Politics of Reality
4.   The Smoker's View of Marijuana
5.   Physicians on Marijuana Use
6.   Turning On: Becoming a Marijuana User
7.   The Effects of Marijuana
8.   Multiple Drug Use Among Marijuana Smokers
9.   Marijuana, Crime, and Violence
10. Using, Selling, and Dealing Marijuana
11. Marijuana and the Law
12. Epilogue: Models of Marijuana Use
      Appendix — Research Experience
      Glossary
The Marijuana Smokers  ©1970 by Basic Books
appears in The Schaffer Library by permission of the Author. 

FOREWORD
ALFRED R. LINDESMITH
Professor of Sociology, Indiana University
    It seems clear today that our anti-marijuana laws must and will be changed. Indeed, something like two-thirds of the states have already either reduced penalties or have such reductions under consideration. A similar trend has appeared on the national scene. In the meantime the great debate on the subject, which is so skilfully dissected and probed by Professor Goode, rages on. On the one hand, the use of marijuana seems to be spreading in ever-widening circles, while, on the other, the debate itself seems to be intensifying and regressing to lower levels. What began some decades ago as a fairly dignified intellectual argument among relatively small numbers of scholars, scientists, and public officials has degenerated into something like a huge barroom brawl with nearly everyone getting into the act. The fact that changes in the laws now seem to be in the offing probably has less connection with the debate than with the fact that pot is now being smoked by so many sons and daughters and some adults of the affluent and influential classes that wield political power. 
    The use of drugs constitutes intrinsically a personal habit, which, if it leads to any harm, directly and primarily injures the user himself rather than others. According to the doctrine of criminal law, acts ought ordinarily to be defined as crimes only when they threaten or injure others. Since our marijuana and other drug laws provide severe punishment for the mere possessor of the drug, regardless of whether there is any harm to others or even to self, they are correctly designated as morality legislation. Professor Goode has thus provided us with a superb account and analysis of the dilemmas, contradictions, and problems generated by the attempt to legislate morality. 
    Perhaps a central dilemma of the anti-marijuana laws and of our drug laws in general is that the evil personal and social consequences of felony prosecutions are probably greater than are the effects of any drug, whether it be marijuana, heroin, or alcohol. Historical examples of the unhappy consequences that seem characteristically to follow from governmental attempts to suppress popular bad habits by exercising policy power are numerous. The current crisis with respect to heroin addiction in our biggest cities after a half century of severe repression is another example. 
    It is axiomatic in democratic societies that, to be effective and just, governing must be done with the consent of the governed. To be effectively enforced, laws must enlist popular support and be based on some reasonable societal consensus. Sheer majority rule is not the whole story either, for it entails the hazard of tyranny by the majority. On the majority principle alone the blacks in the United States would have no hope, since they could always be outvoted by the white majority. The drug problem, like that of race, involves fundamental principles that qualify and limit majority rule, such as those of minority rights, individual liberty, equality before the law, and the right of privacy. Official discussions of drug policy have in the past ordinarily ignored such matters and have, instead, focused almost exclusively on punishment, deterrence, and protection of society, with society so conceived as to exclude the user of illicit drugs. 
    To those who believe as I do that the present marijuana laws are unjust and divisive and that the pot debate is more dangerous to the society than pot itself, the current disposition on many questions to treat the whole subject as a joke suggests that basic change may be nearer than we think. As Goode effectively demonstrates, mere evidence, logical arguments, and the other standard devices that are used to persuade and produce consensus among reasonable men do not seem to work in this case---perhaps because the debate is not a real one but only an expression of underlying and unstated motivations, resentments, or political considerations. Perhaps the case for reform can best be made by jokes and laughter. 
    At any rate, it is evident that a great deal of public joking is being done and that the user of marijuana is not seriously regarded as a genuine criminal. Recent movies, for example, portray the use of pot as a gag, and at least one movie director has stated that real marijuana was smoked during the filming. Pot parties, involving the commission of what the statutes define as heinous crimes, have been presented on the television screen to entertain the viewing public. Various popular television programs regularly include pot jokes. In private conversations such jokes are even more common, and little or no stigma attaches in many circles to admitting in private that one has smoked or would like to smoke. Numerous stories float around about policemen, even narcotic agents, who smoke the weed or have at least tried it. The experiment with alcohol prohibition, it will be remembered, was also to some extent laughed out of court. 
    It, of course, is no laughing matter to be busted for a marijuana offense, as the police sometimes grimly remind us. Nevertheless, the statistical evidence demonstrates that criticism of the laws, widespread disregard and disrespect for the marijuana laws and their enforcers, and the sheer impossibility and absurdity of trying to lock up any appreciable proportion of the users, especially of middle- and upper-class users, has begun seriously to undermine enforcement morale. In agreement with a large proportion of the public, enforcement and court officials probably intuitively believe that it is harm to others, not to self, that makes crime and consequently find it impossible or difficult to think of a marijuana user as a real criminal. The idea that such persons should be incarcerated in already overcrowded penal institutions in order to protect society and to cure them of a personal habit which harms no one else, and possibly not even them, is probably hard for officials to grasp also. At any rate, there is an enormous gap between the law as written and the law as actually enforced, and this fact further discredits the system and the establishment. 
    Professor Goode does not spell out precisely what changes ought to be made or what our drug policy ought to be. He is primarily concerned with depicting the way of life and points of view of the marijuana smoker and with analyzing the arguments and perspectives of those who are in one way or another concerned with marijuana policy. Information of the kind he presents so perceptively, honestly, and fully should play a vital and indispensable role in the eventual formulation of a wiser policy than the present one. Perhaps the implication of his book might best be described as procedural rather than substantive: that before we legislate we should know what we are doing and try to understand both the people whom we legislate against and those whom we think we are protecting. It is probable, for example, that if the drug laws were framed so as to provide protection from dangers which the young, users and nonusers alike, themselves perceive as dangers, they would support such laws. At present the law poses a greater threat than the drugs themselves. What is implied by these suggestions is not necessarily that marijuana be legalized, whatever that means, but that we return to the principle of government with the consent of the governed.
    July 1970


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    Styles of research are as varied as the researchers who practice them. At one pole we have the massively collective enterprise, located in a well-endowed bureau of research, often undertaken by no one in particular and completed by a dozen hands whose involvement bears no relation to the interests or passions of their lives; not uncommonly, the project is conducted for the simple reason that some organization will derive, or thinks it will derive, some practical utility therefrom, and is willing to pay for it. At the other pole, we have the efforts of a lone scholar, be he amateur or professional who imbues every aspect of his work with the stamp of his idiosyncrasies and concerns; with him, the project is undertaken and the research completed not because it was financially supported, but because he was determined to find out what the answers were. 
    In spite of the fact that this book belongs to the latter of these two types, the debts I have incurred in the effort are manifold. First and foremost among them is the thanks that is due my 204 respondents. It is their book, really, their story, and I hope that I have been faithful to their will and impulse. Certainly this book would not exist without their cooperation and their willingness to risk exposure by talking to me. It is their wish, naturally, to receive my thanks anonymously. Second, the cost of many of the more tedious details of research were covered by the National Institute of Mental Health whose grant (MH-15659) enabled me to pay a part-time research assistant for one year, a job which Miss Judith Rutberg performed with especial efficiency and good cheer. In addition, a Faculty Research Fellowship from the Research Foundation of the State University of New York relieved me of the burden of having to earn a living during the two summers of 1968 and 1969 that it took to write this book. To both granting agencies I am profoundly grateful. The sponsorship of neither indicates any agreement with my conclusions; in fact, insofar as it is possible to detect an official view, that of both agencies would be unfavorable to my own. It is a sign of a healthy society that support may be found for views which vary from the official perspective. 
    The third debt I owe is to the colleagues and friends who offered useful comments, criticisms, suggestions, and pieces of information. Some of the most helpful of these I received from Jerry Mandel, Eliot Freidson, Andrew Weil, Richard Evans Schultes, John Gagnon, Harvey Farberman, Bill French, Stephen Berger, James Hudson, Stephen Cole, John O'Donnell, Gilbert Geis, Robert Bagnall, Josephine Lopez, Richard Bogg, and David and Nanci Orlow. I was privileged to make use of a manuscript of a forthcoming book by Professor John Kaplan on marijuana use which proved to be extremely useful. Generally, our conclusions separately corroborate one another, but some cross-fertilization did take place. In writing style, my editor, William Gum, has done an heroic job of keeping my untidy prose in reasonably readable form. And finally, my wife, Alice, who tolerated a partial neglect during my productive months, deserves at least one hosanna. 
    A few sections of this book have appeared in print previously. Chapter 3, "Marijuana and the Politics of Reality," is a slightly revised version of an article of the same name which was published in the June 1969 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Chapter 8, "Multiple Drug Use among Marijuana Smokers," is a revised and expanded version of a paper which first appeared in the Summer 1969 issue of Social Problems (published by The Society for the Study of Social Problems). Chapter 10, "Using, Selling, and Dealing Marijuana," appeared, in condensed form, in the Columbia Forum, Winter 1969 as "The Marijuana Market." The section in Chapter 7 on sexual behavior was published in the May 1969 issue of the Evergreen Review, as "Marijuana and Sex." I occasionally quote from my anthology, Marijuana, published by the Atherton Press, 1969. Permission to reprint these works is gratefully acknowledged.
    E.G.
 
  June 1970
 
  Strong's Neck, New York
==============
Chapter 1 — Overview

    Social change during the decade of the 1960s has been phenomenal, especially in several dramatic sectors of society. Broadly based movements today characterized the position of only a few scattered individuals in 1960. Many ideas and forms of behavior practiced by those at the margins of society have been absorbed into groups that represent, if not the mainstream, then at least the growing edge, of American social life. In the less than half a generation from 1960 to 1970, fundamental changes have taken place that will permanently alter the shape of history. The most important of these changes have been cultural, not technological. That man has walked the surface of the moon, as this century lumbers into its last quarter, tells us very little about the texture of a single man's life; on the other hand, the fact that huge segments of American society are irretrievably disenchanted with legitimate political channels tells us a great deal about the quality of life in this society at this particular point in time. 
    The increased use of illegal drugs is one of the most dramatic of social changes in this decade. The use of marijuana in colleges in 1960 was almost unknown; in 1970, it is commonplace. Any activity that swelled to the same degree would attract a great deal of attention, whether it be wearing short skirts or engaging in premarital intercourse The fact that marijuana use is subject to severe penalties makes it newsworthy indeed. That increasingly larger subcommunities cluster about it makes marijuana even better news. And because it powerfully ties in with dozens of other activities and institutions, study of its use has become vitally important. 
    Social change is the most troublesome and difficult of all areas of social life to analyze. The task of understanding a society at one point in time is formidable; to understand it in flux is overwhelming. Yet social scientists are expected to make predictions on demand. Like everyone else, they are often wrong. Fads and fashions wax and wane. Today's craze makes tomorrow's trash. Yet fluctuations are not Brownian bursts of random energy; some of what happens from year to year has a method and a design. The river that one steps into at one point in time is not wholly different at a later time. Many of the more trivial features of the social life of any society have no pattern; the core features of all societies make temporal sense. 
    One of the central theses of this book is that the immense increase in non-narcotic drug use in the past decade is an organic outgrowth of a newly evolving way of life whose precise features can now only be dimly perceived, even by its participants. Marijuana use today is not a fad, not a craze. It is not going to be wished away, and legal measures to eradicate it will be only partially successful. Whether we like it or not, potsmoking is here to stay. It might be wise to try to understand it. 
    Questions reveal biases. What we ask reflects what we think. The phenomenon of marijuana use is a bright, glittering jewel, each facet of which flashes a different color. Observers stand in one spot only, and see only one color. And each thinks he sees the whole. The questions of agents of social control are puzzled, anxious questions, revealing the incredulity that anyone would want to partake of such an activity. The question "Why?" indicates that the activity requires an explanation; "Why?" can often be transformed into, "Why would anyone want to do such a thing?" 
    Sociologists stand in a different spot, and therefore see a different reality. The "why" question takes many problematic questions for granted. Social scientists usually start with more basic questions: "What?" "How?" "Under what circumstances?" The "why" question assumes that many aspects of a phenomenon are already understood and, given these assumptions, those who ask it cannot conceive of the outcome which they observe. The sociologist urges us to take a first look at a poorly understood phenomenon—whether it be the family, the priesthood, or marijuana smoking. 
    His basic point of departure is the attempt to understand an activity, a belief, an institution, a way of life, in much the same manner as its participants. Each has its own peculiar, unique integrity and vibrancy, its own rules and logic. Each makes sense according to a set of principles often contradicted by, or irrelevant to, other activities, beliefs, institutions, or ways of life. To fully understand a social phenomenon, it is necessary to grasp it empathically, accepting it on its own terms and identifying emotionally with its central principles. Any social analysis missing this dimension is of limited value; as ethnography, it must be deemed worthless. 
    To understand is to condone, so the aphorism has it. In some sense or another, perhaps. But not to understand is to condemn without knowing why. As Peter Berger wrote, a spy ignorant of the enemy's strong points helps only the enemy. It is unfortunate that warfare analogies must be employed to illuminate the American drug scene, but we only reflect a scene where the battle lines have already been drawn. And whether we are propagandists for or against drugs, or whether we insist our stance is neutral (as all propagandists claim), we will be embroiled in controversy, and our statements will, inevitably, be used to defend or attack an argument. Whether we like it or not, we are participants in an ideological battle. 
    What does this do for our much vaunted objectivity? The mature sciences concern themselves not at all with their objectivity, never thinking of it as an issue; they know a fact when they see one. Social scientists are more defensive, almost self-righteous in their assertion of lack of bias. Like so many other issues, however, objectivity is a bugaboo. Of course, attempting an insider's view of a group or an activity is adopting a biased view. But so is adopting an outsider's view. In fact, there is no such thing as an "objective" view of reality. All views of reality are biased in one way or another. This does not mean that all are wrong, or even that all are right. It does mean that all rest on necessarily unprovable assumptions, all are underpinned by an ontology which transcends scientific technique. Scientific technique itself rests on faith. It demands that the real world be viewed in one manner, and that alternate versions of viewing the world be ignored. For certain purposes, this is very useful. For others, it is not. While the scientific version of reality offers the claim that it is the real world, as a sociologist, we must say that it is one particular version of the real world, true or false, according to certain assumptions. If we do not accept the rules of the game in the first place, then the whole scientific enterprise is meaningless. 
    Accepting cultural patterns as valid on their own level is a very useful bias for certain kinds of purposes. We do not, by doing so, attempt to prove, say, that the American government is riddled with Communists (if we are studying the John Birch Society), or that marijuana is harmless and beneficial (if we are studying potsmokers). We do not mean that they are "true" in the traditional scientific sense of the word. We mean that they are true in that they are woven into the viscera of the people we are studying, and that they are extremely meaningful to them. They are true in the emotional sense. They represent valid belief-alternatives, and they spring from powerful social and psychological needs. They are part of an ideological and cultural whole, a fabric that is relatively consistent, a system that is eloquent testimony to personal and social locations. We say that the biggest slice of the most essential reality of each man is the reality as seen through his eyes. No matter that two versions of what is right and what wrong will be almost totally contradictory. Both represent authentic modes of living, ideological positions that are, on the affective level, inviolable and irrefutable. If we do not accept this principle, what we are doing cannot be called social science. 
    One of the reasons why the attempt to understand a deviant or criminal activity from the first-person point of view is seen as biased is that in the past, the "institutional" or "correctional" viewpoint has been dominant, that is, the conception that the legal and moral transgressor has in some measure erred and must be dealt with by agents of correction. Official agencies of social control have in the past been successful in defining the climate of right and wrong; their view ( similar to and, supposedly, based on, the scientific point of view) was imperialistic in that they demanded the right to define right and wrong for all members of society. Any viewpoint which contravened their own was labeled biased. If deviance is viewed in correctional terms, we cannot but see the effort to understand the deviant from his own perspective as biased. But if we look at the agents of social control as one out of a multiplicity of definers of social reality, no more or less valid than any other, then the possibility is open for us to see the deviant through his own eyes. If, on the other hand, we adopt a condescending social worker point of view toward him, that is, the view that we must help him to adjust to society, we will be wholly incapable of understanding him. 
    We wish, therefore, to adopt a perspective which decentralizes sources of reality-definitions. We wish to throw open a dialogue with all participants in the activity that we are studying. No one definition of the situation will be allowed to impose itself on any and all participants. Each version of reality will glint a particle of the total (even though each version will almost invariably claim to tell the whole story). Each will be incomplete, although valid on its own level. 
    Another way of saying something similar is that we assume intentionality on the actor's part. Marijuana users are fully aware of what they are doing; they enter into the activity, from start to finish, with open eyes. They are not unwitting dupes, they have not been conned by a clever "slick," eager to make a profit from their naiveté. They have chosen to smoke marijuana. There is an active element in their choosing. They imagine themselves, prior to the act of becoming "turned on," actually smoking. They carry the actions through, in their minds, conceiving of what they would do "if." They have weighed alternatives. They have considered social costs. They operate on the basis of a value system; marijuana use is in part an outgrowth of that value system; using it is a realistic and a rational choice in that marijuana use will often be and obtain for them what they anticipate. The basic values may themselves be thought of as irrational by someone with a more positivistic and scientific-technological-economistic point of view, but this is largely a matter of definition. Let me illustrate: if I want to become high, smoking marijuana is a rational choice, but drinking a cup of coffee to attain that state is irrational. The value of becoming high might be viewed as irrational within the framework of certain values prevalent in America today, but many marijuana users question those very values. 
    This point of view holds that marijuana use grows out of many of the processes in society which we all take to be normal. It is convenient to label as pathological any phenomenon that we do not like. We attempt to legitimate our biases by claiming for an activity traits that we reject. Thus, marijuana use becomes a product of boredom—because boredom is a bad thing, and if marijuana use is produced by it, marijuana use must also be a bad thing. Or it is rebellion against the older generation or a result of a broken home or the wish to escape reality or to avoid meaningful attachments to other people. 
    My view is substantially different. It is quite conceivable that marijuana use grows out of these (socially defined) undesirable conditions, but we do not wish to force a premature closure. It could very well grow out of some characteristics which society holds are entirely desirable. By defining marijuana use as noxious, we are preordaining both cause and consequence. I feel that an important dimension is the definitions that users themselves bring to the drug and its use—and very often these definitions are wholly positive. The tack to take in attempting an understanding of marijuana use is not, they must be mistaken; why do they persist in being mistaken? But what slant on reality do these values have, and how can we attempt to understand them on their own terms? 
    In discussing with a psychiatrist some of the findings on sex—that two-thirds of the people interviewed said that they enjoyed sex more when high on marijuana—he remarked that it was obvious this was a wish-fantasy on their part. They needed something by which they could enjoy sex at all and therefore projected these qualities onto the drug. This psychiatrist discounted the users' self-expressed effects because of his preconceptions concerning the nature of and motives for marijuana use, as well as a theoretical tradition that makes such assumptions possible. 
    The sociologist, on the other hand, feels that he can uncover his respondent's actual feelings in a brief interview—that is, feelings on certain levels and about certain aspects of his life. The psychiatrist may feel that many months of deep psychoanalysis would begin to tap some unconscious feelings of which even the individual is not aware. Perhaps the two approaches should not be thought of as contradictory but merely different. The sociologist, at any rate, takes seriously the expressed meaning that an activity has for its actors. This does not necessarily mean that this is the only "true" approach, or even the approach that is "most true." But it is one layer of reality, and a layer very much worth knowing. 
    Another way of putting this is that we wish to examine the mythological level. This might appear to contradict our earlier principle. In fact, it is entirely consistent with it. We do not mean by "myth" that which is untrue. The question of truth and falsity is largely irrelevant—at least on the ethnographic level. That a rain dance does not really cause rain to fall is, in a sense, irrelevant. That is has a certain vibrancy in a tribal fabric is, on the other hand, of utmost relevancy. By treating a group or society's collective wisdom as tribal folklore is not to demean it; it is in fact an effort to elevate it to the status of the semi-sacred. Myth grows organically out of the visceral troubles of a people; any attempt to refute its validity is inevitably misplaced. The position of physicians or potsmokers, their elaborate descriptions of the effects of marijuana, its dangers or benefits, tells a great deal more about physicians and potsmokers than it does about marijuana. 
    An attorney declared to a California Senate committee that "marijuana is... less harmful than malted milk." A California lawman stated "That... marijuana is a harmful and destructive substance is not open to question or debate by reasonable individuals." The overwhelming fact concerning marijuana is that there is rabid debate about it, that disagreement concerning its essential reality is total, that opinions concerning what it is and what it does cover the entire spectrum from pernicious to wholly beneficial. The central problem about marijuana is not who uses it and why, or what does it do to the human body and mind, but how can such conflicting versions of its basic effects be maintained, and what sorts of arguments are invoked to justify its use or suppression? 
    My position is that myths are real—but not quite. Myths are one essential level of reality, one facet of the jewel, one layer of the elusive truths surrounding any phenomenon. Several competing myths may exist in the same society at the same time which are mutually exclusive. They cannot both be true in the traditional sense. The fact that marijuana is less harmful than malted milk and at the same time a harmful and destructive substance cannot, without quibbling, be both true. Yet they both tap an essential reality; they both answer certain kinds of sociocultural needs and correspond to certain values. ( In addition, one or the other could be true in the more limited scientific or pharmacological sense. ) 
    The most interesting thing about a drug to a sociologist is not what it does, but what it is thought to do. In fact, what it is thought to do often has a great impact on what it actually does. A sociology of drugs accepts as of only secondary importance a drug's strict pharmacological effects. In fact, the concept, the category "drug" is a social construct, not a pharmacological conception. This is the definition in the most popular pharmacology textbook, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics: "... a drug is broadly defined as any chemical agent which affects living protoplasm...." In an earlier edition the editors added, "Few substances would escape inclusion by this definition." Therefore, the roster of drugs elicited from a pharmacologist would look very different from one which a sociologist would make up. A corporation lawyer, too, would have his own conception of what a drug is—in fact, anything listed in a nation's pharmacopoeia. A criminal lawyer, on the other hand, might think of drugs in terms of illicitly used substances. Society's definition would include various dangers of different substances as part of the definition, even though, pharmacologically, some substances which are included might very well be far less dangerous than some which are excluded; something "negatively valued," above and beyond an objective assessment of the "actual" dangers, is implied in the definition. 
    The notion of "drugs" as a single and "natural" entity is totally misleading. Some categories of drugs may form a relatively uniform family with similar pharmacologic properties. However, socially, they may be in totally different worlds. The interconnections between them may exist in a laboratory, may be expressed by a rat's responses, but they may have no connection in the real world, as to how they are used and why, what sorts of effects are imputed to them, who uses them, and indeed, what they actually do to the human mind and body. 
    This is self-evident to most of us. Yet, if it really were to most observers of the drug scene, many pages and many hours of pseudo debate could be avoided. For instance, take the question of whether marijuana is a dangerous drug. It is inconceivable that this question can be answered outside of a social context, in a social vacuum. Dangerous under what set of circumstances? As used by whom? While doing what? In what dosage? Combined with what life style? Given what national and cultural traditions? Used in conjunction with what other drugs? Dangerous compared to what? And what do we mean by "dangerous"? The definition of dangerous is a social definition. There will be some effects that all will agree are dangerous. But many effects will be thought dangerous by some, harmless by others, and beneficial by still others. None of the basic questions that are asked about marijuana can be answered outside a social setting; it is the social context that determines what sort of answer we give, not the intrinsic properties of the drug itself. The drug is an element in the equation, but only one among several. 
    These are obvious statements, but it would be mistaken to believe that most observers would accept them. Even experts blunder into one fatuous debate after another. It is as if general principles have nothing to do with specific issues. 
    We are told Oriental studies show, by the crude measures applied, that cannabis may have some long-term toxic effects on the human body. Yet we find that the marijuana or hashish smoked is (1) often smoked with opium and other substances with whose dangers we are more well acquainted; (2) is smoked very often by unemployed men who smoke eight, ten, or fifteen hours a day and who, almost literally, do nothing but smoke hashish; (3) that immense quantities are smoked of often potent substances, even 100 times as much as a daily marijuana smoker in America would be able to consume; (4) and that the level of caloric intake and health conditions in the countries described—India, Egypt, and North Africa—among all the poor inhabitants would be sufficient to induce many of the effects described without needing to consider the role of marijuana. Yet how easily we transfer the "effects" of this drug, whether American marijuana or the more potent Middle Eastern hashish, from one cultural and economic setting to the other. It is doubtful that the comparison is relevant at all, since none of the basic conditions are remotely similar. 
    The promarijuana lobby tells us that marijuana is a gentle herb, nothing more than pressed flowers and leaves, a peaceful and love-inducing substance. Both sides assume that there is some sort of property lodged within the drug itself that dictates to its users how to act under its influence. But whether it does, in fact, have this pacific property or not depends wholly on who uses it. If it is used by a social group that thinks marijuana is a pacific weed, whose members, when initiating a neophyte, preach a gospel of peace and love, discourage violent displays, and weave this peace motif into the things they do when high, then we should not be surprised that marijuana turns out to have a peace-inducing property. Only the most naive believes that marijuana creates a peaceful way of life out of whole cloth and induces it in those who are not peaceful. Both motorcycle gangs and hippies are prone to use marijuana but with very different results. Obviously, there is more to the picture than the laboratory properties of the drug. 
    I will attempt in this volume an overall study of the sociology of marijuana use. I will explore the myths clinging to it, the attitudes of the contestants in the marijuana debate, the question of who uses it, under what circumstances, and with what consequences. To answer many of the questions concerning marijuana use, it is necessary at times to leave the sociological level and deal with related issues. For instance, when discussing the effects of marijuana, I will reject the radically sociologistic approach—that the effects of the drug are wholly a function of its social definitions—and attempt an exposition on the objective properties of the drug's pharmacology. In other words, I have adopted a multidimensional approach, my perspective often shifts from one level to another. At the same time we wish to understand the drug's nonsociological aspects more or less only insofar as they relate to, interpenetrate with, influence and are influenced by, the users' social life and the lives of those who interact with them. We court confusion with this kind of multifaceted perspective, but it is necessary if we are to understand the totality of marijuana's impact on the social life of any society.

Overview of Marijuana and Marijuana Use
    Incidences of events connected with cannabis use, whether true or phantasmagoric, survive historically because they are useful ideologically. The history of marijuana use is, in itself, a study in creative mythology. This is as true of the history of the Assassins as it is of the Indian peace pipe. The Assassins killed out of fanatical religious devotion—hashish or no hashish—and the American Indian did not become peaceful as a result of smoking marijuana in his pipe, a myth which the procannabis side propagates to demonstrate the weed's pacific properties; the Indian had no marijuana to put in his pipe. "The American Indians never used it in their peace pipes," writes Richard Evans Schultes, one of the world's experts on ethnobotany; the "American Indian... did not anywhere have Cannabis sativa at his disposal in pre-Colombian times," agrees Michael Harner, an anthropologist who studies the use of psychoactive substances among Indians. Were Malayan tribesmen who ran amok high on marijuana? Were Patrice Lumumba's followers under the influence of cannabis when they displayed "orgiastic frenzy and homicidal ferocity" in battle?[1] Was Victor Licata intoxicated by marijuana when, on October 17, 1933, in Tampa, Florida, he hacked his entire family (father, mother, and three brothers) to death with an axe?[2] Have India's holy men been inspired by the cannabis high? Answers to these questions depend more on what we think of marijuana than what actually happened historically. Recorded history is largely myth-making, an effort to align supposed events with our own ideology. 
    Marijuana has played a medicinal role in every area in which it was grown, including the United States where from colonial days until well into the twentieth century it was used to cure a variety of ills: acute depression, tetanus, gonorrhea, insomnia, malaria, insanity, stuttering, migraine headaches, flatulence, epilepsy, delirium tremens, asthma, cancer, and chronic itching—with understandably mixed results. Until 1937, when federal law outlawed its possession and sale, marijuana was a staple in many patent medicine catalogues.[3] Today, of course, very few physicians take marijuana's therapeutic role seriously; in fact, physicians usually define drug abuse as the use of a drug outside a medical context. That marijuana use is invariably abuse is deduced from the fact that marijuana has no legitimate medical treatment function whatsoever; any use, in the medical view, is by definition misuse or abuse. Although the therapeutic argument for marijuana will occasionally be invoked by users and pro-pot propagandists, in general, most do not take it any more seriously than the physicians do; they are content with the argument that the drug is simply harmless and does not cause or compound any medical problems. 
    The use of marijuana, or Indian hemp, for medical purposes considerably predates its use for psychoactive purposes. Its origins as a medicinal herb are, of course, lost in primal obscurity. Norman Taylor, a botanist, writes that mention of hemp may be found in a pharmacy manual from 2737 B.C., supposedly written by a Chinese emperor, Shen Nung.[4] This story found its way into a vast number of essays on marijuana,[5] mincluding my own.[6] Actually, the emperor turns out to be mythological; Shen is a component of Chinese folk religion, creator of agriculture, and one of the gods most widely worshipped in pre-Revolutionary China, with his own altar, hsiennung t'an.[7] The Treatise on Medicine attributed to Shen was "compiled by an early Han dynasty writer, whose sources go back only as far as the fourth century B.C." [8] Marijuana's recorded history, then, stretches back at the very least two and a half millennia; archaeological evidence of its cultivation and use may be placed something like five thousand years in the past. Its functions have been almost as diverse as the cultures which have employed it. It would be impossible to discuss its patterns of use in every country at all of its periods of history, even were such documentation available. This overview, then, will serve as a backdrop for our more detailed discussions of its use in contemporary America. 
    In the United States, the most common slang words for marijuana are pot, grass, tea, weed, and smoke, in decreasing order of frequency. The derivation of all of these terms is obvious, except for pot. One etymologist has claimed that the word pot comes from a South American drink which contained, among other things, marijuana seeds soaked in guava wine or brandy, known as potacion de guaya, or potaguaya.[9] Marijuana is very occasionally called "shit" in America, a term usually reserved for heroin. The obvious import of this designation should delight the psychoanalytically inclined. It ties in with toilet training—especially in view of its conjunction with pot (i.e., the children's pottie or chamber pot)—as well as filth, in view of the disorganized, casual and even squalid way of life of a few conspicuous marijuana users, and its symbolization as a rebellion against traditional mores and most users' middle-class upbringing, and an effort to shock conventional relatives, neighbors, former friends, and other authority-figure observers.[10] The term "reefer" is often used among urban blacks to mean the marijuana itself; reefer can occasionally mean a marijuana cigarette, although this term is used much less today than it was a generation ago. The cigarette butt is known as a "roach," supposedly because it looks something like a small cockroach. (Such derivations are always problematic, often more fantasy than fact.) Also, conjecturally, because of the Mexican song, "La Cucaracha," in which a cockroach couldn't walk until it had its marijuana.[11] 
    Today's terms will probably go out of style, as have countless other terms used a decade or a generation ago. The word "viper," for instance, for marijuana smoker, has been replaced by the broader term "head," meaning the user (more or less regularly) of any drug, usually non-narcotic. Viper is used by no one today. Common terms for marijuana up until the late 1950s and early 1960s were gage, boo, Mary Jane; although used somewhat humorously today, they are rather obsolescent as simple descriptive names. Terms used more than twenty years ago ( and less than that by older heads still using drugs), totally outdated, never used, and completely obsolete are mooters, mutah, mota, gates, greeters, griffo, griefo, giggle smoke, jive, mohasky, rope, mezz, goof-butts, Mary Warner, viper's weed, sweet Lucy, root and muggles. Many currently published glossaries will contain these terms, as if they were still used, or as if they might have a resurrection. An expert on criminal argot, for instance, claims: "... it is rare that a word can be labeled truly obsolete, for about the time that label is applied, it is almost certain to pop up in another area or among a different class of addicts; it has merely been kept alive in some obscure circles which have not been currently studied."[12] Although this process no doubt occurs, I think that it is safe to say that all of the above-mentioned terms are obsolete. Since no marijuana smokers to my knowledge know of these terms, it is highly unlikely that any of them will be revived. "Muggles" (the principal slang word for marijuana in Maurer and Vogel's classic book) would evoke uproarious laughter if a young user stumbled on it in a book today.[13] 
    Marijuana is a plant, Cannabis sativa. All marijuana plants are of one species, but there exists at least three varieties: Cannabis sativa indica, americana, and mexicana, whose names obviously denote the areas in which they characteristically grow. The Western Hemisphere varieties, however, are not indigenous; they were introduced by the coming of the European. In a reply to a request for information on this point, Richard Evans Schultes, director of Harvard's botanical museum, wrote: "... Cannabis ... is Asiatic in origin, and... it occurs in the New World only as an introduced species.... In the United States, it has spread from former hemp plantations and is now widely occurring as a spontaneous 'escape.' It apparently was brought to North America first by the Pilgrims.... and was grown for its fiber" (personal communication, July 8, 1969 ). 
    The marijuana plant today grows in the overwhelming majority of the countries of the world, including all those in the Western Hemisphere, Africa, the entire continent of Asia, Australia, and the Indonesian archipelago. A few scattered varieties may be found in Europe.[14] In spite of the botanical affinities between the various subspecies of Cannabis sativa, the psychoactive component of the plant is wildly variable from one plant to another. The strength of the drug in a given preparation may be determined by several factors:
    1) Gender of the plant. Female plants are much more richly endowed with the active ingredient of the drug. The male plant, taller, weedier and more fibrous—used in the last century and before for rope and cloth—contains some potency, but is considerably weaker than its mate.
 
  2) Time of harvesting. Marijuana harvested too soon (before the resin appears ) or too late ( after the male plant fertilizes the female ) will be considerably weaker and less active than plants harvested at the most favorable time ( sometime in September, varying, however, from one region to another ).
 
  3) Method of harvesting. If the male is removed at harvesting time and only the female is harvested and processed, the impact of the substance is greater than if the two are harvested together. Since this is difficult and tedious, however, it is very rarely done.
 
  4) Region in which the plant grows. Plants grown in hot, dry climates produce the strongest preparations. Temperate climates produce comparatively weak substances.
 
  5) Proportion of resin. Hashish contains nothing but pressed resin or "flowering tops," of the Cannabis plant, and is about five times as strong as a preparation which contains mostly leaves, the substance most commonly designated as "marijuana." The higher the leaf grows on the plant, the more resin it contains and the stronger it is.
    Some marijuana consumed in this country is grown here, usually on a small-scale basis and is reputed to be considerably weaker than imported varieties. The expert smoker will recognize at least a half-dozen or so varieties of marijuana, of which two, "Acapulco Gold," and "Panama Red," are especially potent. (Often any quality marijuana, "dynamite" grass in the jargon, will be labeled "Gold.") Hashish (hash in American slang, and charas in India and Pakistan) is imported into the United States from the Middle East (often Lebanon), North Africa (often Morocco), Afghanistan, and sometimes from the Indian subcontinent.
 
  Harvesting hashish is a more delicate and time-consuming operation than harvesting simple marijuana. It is done by one of a variety of methods. In earlier times, the pollen was scraped off the sweaty bodies of laborers who had run through a cannabis field for this very purpose. Later, leather aprons were employed. I have heard of three contemporary techniques. An ex-hashish smuggler who operated in North Africa about 1965 explained to me that the stalk of the plant, pointing downward, is grasped in one hand, while the other hand, which is gloved, thrusts the flowering tops into a receptacle, simultaneously shaking off the resin. Sometimes the resin is removed from the plant by covering its top with a fabric much like cheesecloth in which the resin is collected. The third method is described in a book about Egypt published in the 1930s. At the appropriate season:
    ... the plant is harvested by means of scythes or sickles to ground level and is gathered into bundles and transported to the farm buildings.... 
    The stalks are now laid out side by side on especially made drying grounds of hard clay, exposed to the sun.... After two or three days the exposed surfaces of the plant begin to dry off. It is then turned over to the other side and this process is repeated every twenty-four hours for the next ten or twelve days. The plant is now carefully placed on large linen sheets... and is thus carried to a special shed or room which... must be clean and have smooth walls and be capable of being hermetically closed. The floor must be smooth and hard to avoid the introduction of any foreign matter.... 
    The plants are stacked in a heap in the middle of the room and workmen... shut themselves in and proceed to give the first beating by means of sticks or flails... to remove the useless twigs which are thrown aside, and to beat out from the plant the first and best qualities of hashish. Throughout this operation a cloud of fine powder rises from the heap and settles on the surrounding floor and walls.[15] 
    Three sieves of varying degrees of fineness are now used. Little by little the heap of beaten debris is passed through the three sieves. The finest mesh is used for the extra quality.... The debris is now beaten again six or seven times, the sieving operation being carried out between each beating. Naturally, the quality of the powder deteriorates with each successive sieving.... The only real first class grades come from the first beating.... 
    The varying qualities of powder are classified and placed in bags ... to await further preparation prior to being sent off to their destination.[16]
    After collection, the resin is pressed into blocks, or cakes, ranging in color from a dull yellow to an almost-black deep chocolate-brown. In order to smoke hashish, small pieces of the hardened block will be flaked off, or sliced off with a sharp instrument, such as a razor blade, crumbled, and smoked. Hashish is much more often used in the Orient, especially the Middle East and North Africa, than substances containing leaves. Heavy hashish or charas users in the East would scorn such weak substances as are typically consumed by American smokers. 
    Smoking is by far the most popular method of consumption of marijuana in the United States and must account for well over 95 percent of the bulk consumed in this country. Ingesting the drug is still relatively rare and is practiced as a kind of treat, not as a regular routine. In the Orient, marijuana is brewed as tea and (also a practice in Jamaica) cooked or imbedded in food. In North Africa and in the Middle East, majoon,[17] a candy containing a product of the plant, is made. Such practices are becoming increasingly popular among marijuana habitués in the United States; an early cookbook listing cannabis as a recipe ingredient has been reissued,[18] and several new ones have appeared recently. One of the recent cookbooks using cannabis in the ingredients includes recipes for "High Tea," "Banana Bread," "Chili Pot," and "Boston Bean Pot,"[19] all common American dishes, with marijuana added. Another recipe book, on the other hand, has exotic Oriental dishes, such as "Bhang Sherbet," "Moroccan Majoon," "Black Sabbath Salve," and "Nebuchadnezzar's Dream."[20] 
    A major reason why mixing marijuana into food ingredients is rare in America is that an immense quantity is required for any effect; smoking is a far more efficient method for getting the drug into the blood stream. In addition, it takes a much longer period of time for the drug to take effect orally, often an hour and a half. It is, therefore, a clumsy and lengthy (and expensive) route of consumption. However, it is more reliable. A small number of individuals seem unable to become high, even after smoking joint after joint, evening after evening. Eating is a more directly physiological method, and if enough marijuana is ingested in cooked food, an eventual high is almost inevitable, even in those most staunchly resistant to marijuana's effects by means of smoking. In fact, sometimes this is precisely the problem with ingesting. Since the effects are slow in coming, it is impossible to gauge intake to the desired level of one's high. The experienced user can "self-titrate" his high by smoking a quantity of marijuana and then, shortly thereafter reach the level of intoxication he feels comfortable with. With eating, because of the time lag, this is impossible. A huge amount may be ingested with no immediate effect which, over the period of an hour or so, will produce unusual and extreme levels of intoxication. Because eating can take place within a few seconds while smoking takes many minutes cannabis, once ingested, cannot be retrieved. Thus, it is possible to become higher, for a longer period, by eating cannabis. 
    Contrary to a number of published accounts,[21] marijuana, unlike cocaine and heroin, seems almost never to be sniffed; at least I have never heard of it from a user and I have never seen it done. It is highly doubtful if this could achieve any effect at all. Since marijuana is water-insoluble, it is almost never injected. In addition, most users are "needle shy." 
    Although the cannabis plant grows naturally in most parts of the world, the bulk of the cannabis substances used illicitly in this country originates from relatively few countries. The specifically marijuana substances (i.e., those comprising mostly of the leaves of the plant) come largely from Mexico, possibly go percent, although the 1969 border blockade encouraged far more "home growing" of marijuana. When purchased in bulk, which is anything larger than a sixth of an ounce or so, the purchaser usually buys a mixture of leaves, twigs, stems, and seeds. When purchased in quantities of a kilogram, which is the standard packaging and shipping unit, the plants will have been chopped into fairly small pieces and pressed into bricks, or kilo blocks about five inches wide, eight inches long, and three inches high, which are then wrapped in rough paper. To smoke this, the user must strain the mixture through a medium or fine mesh tea strainer to remove the inert twigs, stems, and the seeds, which exude an unpleasant, oily smoke. (Often the seeds are saved for planting; we shall return to this topic when discussing the sale of marijuana.) The strained substance is then either smoked in joints or packed into a pipe. The joint is the most popular means of smoking Rolling one takes skill and only an expert can produce a thin, tightly packed, smooth product; more often, the joint is sloppy and untidy. An ordinary pipe cannot be used without special preparation, since strained marijuana, much finer than tobacco, will be drawn through the stem. Sometimes aluminum pricked with holes is pressed into the bowl and the marijuana placed on the foil. Or a "toke pipe" will be used; especially constructed for marijuana or hashish (nearly always smoked in a pipe), some have extremely small bowls, slightly larger than a hollowed-out pea. Another common method of smoking marijuana in a pipe is to put a tiny screen especially constructed for cannabis use over the bowl of an ordinary pipe and then place the marijuana on the screen. 
    In America, hashish is typically smoked in a pipe, toke pipe, or some form of Oriental water pipe, such as the hookah (Arabic) or narghtle (Turkish and Persian). Often a block of hashish will be broken into small bits and each piece will be placed onto the burning end of a tobacco cigarette; the fumes of the hashish will then be sucked through a straw or tube, such as the barrel of a dismembered ball-point pen. Often (especially in public) a small chunk of hashish will be placed inside the end of a partly hollowed out tobacco cigarette, and the paper twisted to keep it in place; it will then be smoked like a regular cigarette. Sometimes chunks of hashish will be sprinkled into cigarette paper, rolled into a marijuana joint, and then smoked just like a regular joint of marijuana. Occasionally, smokers will fabricate their own devices, such as a "flying saucer" or tin foil placed over a cup or small bowl. 
    In the past few years, far more hashish has been available to the American marijuana-smoking public than previously. (See Chapter 10 for more details.) In talking to users and dealers, my estimate is that, compared with the first few months of 1966, something like fifty to one hundred times the quantity of hashish had entered the country and was being smoked by the winter of 1970. (This might be partly attributable to the severe shortage—at least in New York—of Mexican marijuana available at the later period.)[22] Hashish is something like five times the strength of ordinary marijuana which usually means that less of the substance must be smoked to become high. One can get high with far less effort on hashish; it is impossible to become five times higher, even were it possible to calibrate the high with such accuracy. ( Most users-claim to become a good deal higher with hashish.) Some commentators fear that the introduction of more potent marijuana preparations, such as hashish, will produce use-patterns much like those of India and Egypt. This reasoning process assumes that if one element—the strength of the hashish—is present, then all the outcomes will be the same. But since all of the other preconditions are lacking, such an eventuality is highly improbable. 
    Another fear has been the introduction of the chemical which is probably the active principle in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol—actually a family of active and potent chemicals. Some observers feel that were this purified form of drug widely available, somewhat the same events as occurred with LSD would occur with cannabis.[23] Actually, a recently available substance called THC (the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol), is not THC at all, but a mixture with varying ingredients—sometimes LSD, methedrine, and/or a barbiturate. Real THC has been used on an extremely limited basis on the street—or so some users claim. It seems to be agreed that the effect it might produce would be akin in many respects to an LSD trip. Strangely, many of marijuana's critics justify the present penalty structure with the argument that were marijuana itself to become more available, users would inevitably migrate to THC. Why this should be so is never explained, however. Because of the overwhelmingly sociable form that marijuana use takes, and its recreational character, it seems unlikely that a drug which requires so much of the user's attention as LSD would be used as frequently as marijuana is at present, although experimentation is a distinct possibility, indeed, a likelihood, for many users. This is, in any case, a matter for a later discussion.

Observations on the Social Context of Marijuana Use
    Marijuana use is overwhelmingly a group activity; the drug, in other words, is highly "sociogenic"—or "cultogenic," as one commentator has labeled the psychedelic drugs.[24] Some deviant activities are conducted in relative isolation without group support. The heavy use of the barbiturates, tranquilizers, and the amphetamines by housewives does not form the basis for drug-related activities or groups; meperidine (Demerol) addiction among physicians does not lend itself to friendships, interaction, and sentiments on the basis of being addicted. There is no bond of identity, no preference for interaction with other physician-addicts, no increment of prestige as a result of sharing the characteristic of drug taking. There is no subculture of physician-addicts. (This obviously has nothing to do with the physiological impact of the drug itself, since many street addicts use morphine, and there is a street subculture. ) 
    What we mean when we say that marijuana, or LSD or heroin is sociogenic is that:
    1) It is characteristically participated in a group setting.
 
  2) The others with whom one smokes marijuana are usually intimates, intimates of intimates, or potential intimates, rather than strangers.
 
  3) One generally has long-term continuing social relations with the others.
 
  4) A certain degree of value-consensus will obtain within the group.
 
  5) A value-convergence will occur as a result of progressive group involvement.
 
  6) The activity maintains the circle's cohesion, reaffirms its social bonds by acting them out.
 
  7) Participants view the activity as a legitimate basis for identity— defining themselves, as well as others, partly on the basis of whether they have participated in the activity.
    We find that marijuana users form a kind of subcommunity. This does not mean that a powerful bond of identity holds all users together in a closely knit social group. But it does mean that users are more likely to identify and interact with other users than with someone who does not smoke marijuana. In a sense, they are part of a subculture. Crystallizing all of the possible meanings of this term the following three are probably the most important:
    1) Sociologically: the degree to which a given category of individuals form associations with one another, whether or not that category is a subcommunity; the degree of concentration of one's most intimate and frequently interacted-with friends and acquaintances within that social category
 
  2) Anthropologically and ethnographically: the degree to which members of a given social category share a distinct way of life, whose patterns of social life and basic social outlook set them off to some degree from members of other social categories
 
  3) Social psychologically: the degree to which identities revolve about the category; the degree to which both members and nonmembers define group membership as significant, binding, and strongly indicative of the "kind of person" who belongs to it.
    "Subculture-ness" must be seen as a continuum, not a dichotomy. Subcultures vary as to degree of institutionalization: the higher the "score" on one or all of these three dimensions, the more a given group may be called a subculture.
 
  Group processes operate at the inception of the individual's marijuana-using experience. The neophyte marijuana smoker, at first exposure to the drug, is subject to group definitions of the desirability of the experience, as well as the nature of its reality. Marijuana use, even at its inception, is simultaneously participation in a specific social group. This generalization holds equally strong for the continued use of marijuana. Marijuana is characteristically smoked in groups, not in isolation. In the sample, only 5 percent claimed to smoke at least half of the time alone, and about half—45 percent—said they never smoked alone. Marijuana cannot be understood outside the web of social relations in which it is implicated.
 
  Moreover, the nature of the group-character of marijuana use also significantly determines its impact. Marijuana is not merely smoked in groups, it is smoked in intimate groups. The others with whom one is smoking are overwhelmingly significant others. One rarely smokes with strangers, with individuals whom one does not care for, or is indifferent to, or whom one does not expect to like in the future. Even at large parties where marijuana is smoked, small cliques will form, oases of compatibles, wherein all share the same activity. Smoking marijuana is symbolic in ways that more accepted behavior is not; it resembles communal eating in civilizations for whom eating well is a rare or intermittent festivity. Brotherhood is an element in the marijuana ritual, as is the notion of sharing something treasured and esteemed. Emphasis is placed on passing a joint around to all present, completing a circle; this procedure is generally preferred to that of each participant lighting up his own joint and smoking it by himself, without any group continuity.[25] And, of course, the clandestine nature of the activity, illegal and underground, lends an air of excitement and collective intrigue to marijuana smoking that would be absent in a context of licitness, as with drinking.
 
  All of these factors make marijuana use a highly significant and emotionally charged activity to the participants. These factors, some ideological and some inherent in the nature of the act itself, conspire to link marijuana smoking to group influences and to make those who participate in it highly susceptible to the group's definition of reality—right and wrong, good and bad, true and false.
 
  The case is such that it is not too farfetched to view marijuana use in basically Durkheimian terms. That is, because of the cultural climate surrounding illicit drug use and the logistical problems involved (secrecy, the inability to be completely casual about use, the fact that the safest places to smoke are also the most intimate, etc. ) and the fact that it is participated with those for whom one has some degree of friendship and emotion, the activity has strong elements of a tribal ritual: it reaffirms membership in the subcommunity of users, it recreates symbol and substance of the group, and it relives for its participants significant meaning, belonging, loyalty. There is even a vigorous mythology connected with use: tribal lore, a protohistory, an epistemology, a kind of marijuana Weltanschauung.
 
  Marijuana is generally proffered with strong overtones of hospitality. When one person offers another a smoke of a marijuana cigarette, there is communication taking place between the two, as the person who offers consciously thinks of sharing and participating in a common activity. A kind of brotherhood is established in the act. Although most users are generally permissive about each individual acting out his own desires—"doing his own thing"—the refusal of a presented marijuana joint is felt as a rebuff, as is refusal of a gift in many societies. A refusal generally means some embarrassment, usually with both parties. It is not only the refusal of a gift, but the refusal of sharing a treasured activity, as well as possible condemnation of one's activities, which are part of one's life.
 
  Although it might be something of a problem to "psyche out" the pot-smoking propensities of a potential friend with whom one has, at present, only a superficial acquaintance, the seriousness of the issue is dissipated once this barrier is cleared. Marijuana is usually an issue of any seriousness to regular users only in relation to the nonusing world. Use itself is a form of recreation, an enjoyable activity of the first order. It is treated as a "fun thing." It is a recreation like watching a film, going to the beach, or eating in a fine restaurant. It is, both in and of itself, a complete recreational experience, as well as an adjunct and a catalyst to other recreational experiences. The recreational character of potsmoking is possibly its most outstanding feature.
 
  A typical intimate, informal (four to ten people) pot party will involve frequently and typically passing the joint from person to person and staring into space for long stretches of time, with nothing, apparently, actually going on. Often there is music and everyone will be intensely involved with the music, and seemingly not with one another. It will appear boring and vacuous to someone who is not high, especially since he has heard so much about wild, orgiastic pot parties and he expects something of that nature. It is not realized that the marijuana experience is, typically, thought of as itself a recreation—being high is thought of as fun, a state of pleasure. For one who is not high, and never has been, understanding its appeal, especially at such a party, would be like sitting in a concert hall and being deaf.
 
  The typical user smokes pot for reasons relating to having fun partaking in a form of recreation. The idea of being "hung up" on using marijuana is atypical. The most common level of use of more or less regular smokers is once or twice a week—mostly on weekends. A twenty-two-year-old law school student told me: "Pot is a form of entertainment for me—like going to the movies. I don't get any of that philosophical or mystical or religious stuff; it doesn't change my life. After six days of studying my balls off in law school, I plan on Saturday to blow my mind. But you're not leaving this world. For me, it's just fun, that's all."

N O T E S
    1. Robert E. L. Masters and Jean Houston, The Varieties of the Psychedelic Experience (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, l966),p. 37.(back) 
    2. A forthcoming book on marijuana by John Kaplan explores the Licata fable in some detail.(back) 
    3. See Joseph E. Mayer, The Herbalist (Hammond, Ind.: Indiana Botanic Gardens, 1934).(back) 
    4. Norman Taylor, Narcotics: Nature's Dangerous Gifts (New York: Delta, 1963), p. 12. This edition is a paperback version of the book published in 1949 as Flight from Reality.(back) 
    5. David W. Maurer and Victor H. Vogel, Narcotics and Narcotic Addiction, 3rd ed. (Springfield, III.: Charles C Thomas, 1967), p. 116; Donald B. Louria, The Drug Scene (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968), p. 113; Will Oursler, Marijuana: The Facts, the Truth (New York: Paul Eriksson, 1968), p. 70; Jerome Jaffe, "Cannabis (Marijuana)," in Louis S. Goodman and Alfred Gilman, eds., The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 3rd ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1965), p. 299; Joan S. Gimlin, Legalization of Marijuana," Editorial Research Reports 2 (August 9, 1967): 587.(back) 
    6. Erich Goode, "Introduction," Marijuana (New York: Atherton Press, 1969), pp.6, 12.(back) 
    7. C. K. Yang, Religion in Chinese Society (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1961), p. 13.(back) 
    8. Pierre Huard and Ming Wong, Chinese Medicine (New York: McGraw-Hill, 68)(back) 
    9. Maurer and Vogel, op. cit., pp. 333-334, 380. See also David Maurer, "Marijuana Addicts and Their Lingo," The American Mercury 63 (November 1946): 571-575.(back) 
    10. See Richard H. Blum et al., Utopiates (New York: Atherton Press, 1964), pp. 240-241; and Blum et al., Society and Drugs (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969), p. 337. It should be noted that Blum is not particularly Freudian in his analysis, although he does countenance somewhat these "shit" interpretations.(back) 
    11. An illustration of how reality is selectively perceived through our ideological biases is provided by at least one (mis-)interpretation of the "La Cucaracha" song. Robert Gaffney, U.S. Deputy Commissioner of Narcotics, is quoted by a New York Post reporter, in a series of articles on marijuana, as saying that the song makes the point that "marijuana has a decidedly adverse effect, even on the lowly cockroach. He can't get anywhere because he's smoking marijuana." See John Garabedian, "Marijuana: The Narcotics Cops," The New York Post, October 19, 1967.(back) 
    12. Maurer and Vogel, op. cit., p. 334.(back) 
    13. In fact, much of the content of this book is wholly out of date and even anachronistic today, at least for the marijuana scene. For instance, the authors claim that "a high proportion" of marijuana users "are devotees of various schools of swing music." Needless to say, users today would not even know what swing music is, let alone ever listen to it (it died out in the middle 19505, when the first edition of Maurer and Vogel's book appeared). Their preference is for "rock" music. See Maurer and Vogel, op. cit., p. 282.(back) 
    14. Gurbakhsh S. Chopra, "Man and Marijuana, "The International Journal of the Addictions 4 (June 1969): 219-233.(back) 
    15. Hemp workers, like all laborers who breathe fine dust, such as coal miners, are subject to various pulmonary diseases; see A. Barbero and R. Flores, "Dust Disease in Hemp Workers," Archives of Environmental Health 14 (April 1967): 529-532.(back) 
    16. Baron Harry d'Erlanger, "Hashish, or the Gift of Nature," in The Last Plague of Egypt (London: Lovat, Pickson and Thompson, 1936), pp. 68 71. 
    17. For an account of this delicacy, see Ira Cohen, "The Goblet of Dreams," Playboy, April 1966, p. 125.
    18. Alice B. Toklas, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (New York: Harper and Row, 1954). Hashish brownies seem to be the most popular item. A motion picture made in 1968, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, had as its theme the cooking of marijuana brownies. 
    19. Anonymous, Cooking With Pot (Gamble Gulch, Col.: Sacred Mushroom Press, 1969). 
    20. Panama Rose, The Hashish Cookbook (Gnaoua Press, 1966). 
    21. For instance, Lloyd Shearer, "The Mystique of Marijuana: Why Students Smoke Pot," Parade, June 4, 1967, pp. 8, 10, 11; Robert Coles, The Grass Pipe (Boston: Little, Brown, 1969), p. 98, Richard Blum et al., Students and Drugs (San Francisco: JosseyBass, 1969), p. 134; Stanley F. Yolles, "Before Your Kid Tries Drugs," The New York Times Magazine, November 17, 1968, p. 129. 
    22. Steve Lerner, "Great Famine: 'I'd Love to Turn You On, But...' " The Village Voice, June 26, 1969, pp. 1, 32.(back) 
    23. Roland H. Berg, "Warning: Steer Clear of THC," Look, April 15, 1969, p. 46.
    24. Daniel X. Freedman, "Perspectives on the Use and Abuse of Psychedelic Drugs, ' in Daniel H. Efron et al., eds., Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967), pp. 88-89.
    25. There may be logistic and economic reasons for this. Among some more affluent smokers, a sign of hospitality and the ownership of an abundance of marijuana, is to give each guest his own joint of marijuana. The brotherhood ritual does not prevail. The less deviant and criminal marijuana becomes, and the more easily obtainable it is, the less use becomes special and therefore significant. Under these circumstances, a detribalization occurs, and marijuana use loses its subcultural impact and its socializing power.



Chapter 2 — A Profile of the Marijuana Smoker


    Who is the marijuana smoker? The question might seem obvious and unnecessary: the marijuana smoker is one who smokes marijuana. But the question cannot be answered so facilely. How much marijuana? How often? With the heroin addict, we find a more or less built-in polarization. The syndrome of heroin addiction is more clear-cut than with marijuana where we do not find the same compulsion to use. We will, of course, encounter the heroin experimenter, the nonaddicted weekend "joy-popper," the on-again-off-again-heroin user, a high percentage of whom eventually slide into outright addiction. But the proportion of addicts among the universe of heroin users is so enormous that we will be able to characterize the outstanding features of heroin addiction as a way of life, and capture the use-patterns of a significant segment of all heroin users. Our job is more difficult with marijuana use. There is not the same tendency to polarization. Instead, we must think of marijuana use indimensionalist terms.
    Again, who is the marijuana user? What of the college student who, on three occasions, puffed part of a passed-around joint, never became high, and never again used the drug? If we exclude him, what about the housewife who tried the drug ten times, got high twice, decided that her curiosity had been satisfied, and refused it thereafter? Or the Wall Street lawyer who happens upon a pot party once every two months and accepts opportunities to smoke every time they are offered? Is he a marijuana smoker? The solution has to be arbitrary. I have found there is no precise line that may be drawn which delineates the user from the nonuser. There is an unbroken continuum in use from the person who tried it once to the daily user, the mythical six-cigarettes-a-day smoker. (This is often cited as the "average" consumption of the "typical" smoker;[1] probably fewer than one out of a hundred individuals who have tried marijuana smokes that much.)
    Although an exact line between the user and the nonuser is impossible to draw, some crude but useful categories of degrees of use might help to clarify the kinds of involvement with the drug that are likely to be encountered. We have the experimenter, the occasional user, the regular user, and the frequent user. Where we separate these categories is partly a matter of taste and cannot be decided with much rigor or with impelling logic. Further, it must be realized that there is no necessary progression from the least to the most involved category. A given user may float in and out of these categories over a period of time.[a] The experimenter may be the largest of these groups, and forms perhaps a half of the total universe of all individuals who have at least tried marijuana at least once. The experimenter may have obtained a high, but perhaps not. He has invariably not sought out the drug, but has been turned on by friends. He is curious about its effects, but, at this point, little more than that. It could be that his curiosity has been satisfied by his first few experiences, but it is as likely that his initial encounters have been either insufficiently conclusive or pleasurable, that is, he did not become as high as his expectations led him to believe to induce him to accept later offers.
    In a sense, the experimenter is not really a drug user.[2] However, my analysis includes him. The one-time, two-time, or twelve-time marijuana "taster" will be, in many ways, half-way between the more regular user and the individual who has never had a puff of a marijuana cigarette. By including the experimenter, we capture this spectrum effect of drug use and users, rather than committing the error of reification in thinking in terms of natural airtight categories of use. Moreover, an experimenter has a far higher likelihood of moving into the categories of regular use than does the complete abstainer, although we must not make the opposite mistake and assume that this progression is inevitable. It is neither inevitable nor is it typical. But it is more likely among experimenters, and for this reason, the experimenter is of great interest to us. In much of the description and analysis that follows, both here and throughout the book, I will be describing the user. It must be kept in mind that all social categories are abstractions, and our decision to use one or another must often be based on their usefulness. In most cases, I will term the marijuana user anyone who has tried the drug at least once. I do not claim that a consistent life-style will typify all of these individuals. Nor do I say that a radical disjunction will separate this group from the nonusing group. We have not trapped a distinct social animal by characterizing the marijuana user. But when we compare this gross category with the nonusing category, instructive and dramatic differences emerge. I will rely mainly on the vehicle of the molar comparison—the user versus the nonuser—in delineating the marijuana-smoker portrait. Whenever a different categorization is made, it will be explained.
    Public stereotypes change more slowly than that which is being stereotyped. Often an activity or a group will never have its image catch up with itself. These images and stereotypes must be thought of as a kind of reality; they may not accurately describe the group they claim to apply to, but the fact that they are believed makes a great deal of difference, and to understand the social patterns of a given social group, we must often understand the myths that have purported to describe it. The media today transmit public images more rapidly and, possibly, more accurately, than they did a generation ago. The image of the marijuana user in the 1930s was not very different from that of the narcotics addict. The term "addict" as applied to the marijuana smoker was far from unusual; in fact, it was the rule. The milieu from which he came, the day-to-day activities in which he engaged, the dominance of the drug in his life, his involvement with crime, and the effects of the drug on his body and mind, were all thought to be continuous with the junkie's.
    Although today many would recognize this typification as bizarre and anachronistic, there will be strong disagreement on even the bold outlines of a contemporary portrait of the marijuana smoker. How, then, can we characterize the potsmoker? What is distinctive about him? We could have our choice of various cliches. The most popular is that he conforms to the current stereotype of the hippie. He is unkempt, unemployed, politically radical (often apathetic), slightly mad, sexually promiscuous, and under the influence of the drug all of the time. Fading under the impact of mass media reports,[3] this image is gradually being replaced by one almost as absurd: the marijuana user is no different from the rest of us. There are the over-forty users, just as there are those under fifteen; there are bankers, executives and physicians, just as there are juvenile delinquents, hippies and criminals. There is the girl next door, and the girl "in the life." There are policemen and political demonstrators, clergymen and atheists, congressmen and the politically disaffected. In short, he could be anyone.[4] No one has ever studied a cross-section of marijuana users, of course, and it is not possible at the moment. Yet, in the absence of such definitive data, it is possible, from dozens of scattered surveys, to construct something like a reasonably accurate picture of what the social characteristics of a large proportion of users are likely to be.

Age

    The marijuana user is more likely to be young than old. He is most likely to be in his late teens and early twenties; before, say, age thirteen, and after age thirty, the drop-off in the percentage who have ever used is sharp. Since very young users are extremely conspicuous, and since the fears of the older generation concerning the dangers of drug use are compounded when grade school children are involved, the opinion that use typically reaches down into the ten to thirteen age range has become widespread.[5] Actually, the average age for smoking marijuana is probably dropping, but it is far from typical for grade school children to smoke. In fact, the average high school or even college student has not tried marijuana, although in both milieu it is common among a big minority; however, in some schools, such as some in New York and California, a majority of high school students have tried marijuana. Moreover, among the very young, experimentation will be far more common than is true with older teenagers and young adults; frequent, daily use among early teenagers is extremely rare. In my survey, I interviewed an eight-year-old who smoked marijuana, but this does not mean that use among eight-year-olds, even in New York's East Village, is common.[b] The median age of my informants was twenty-two, with slightly over one-fifth in their teens (21 percent), and less than a tenth ( 7 percent) were thirty or over. At about the same time I was conducting my survey, The East Village Other, a New York underground newspaper whose 25,000 readers include a considerable percentage of drug users, did a study of its own. In the April 1967 issue, EVO included a fill-out, mail-in questionnaire on its readers' drug use. Keeping in mind the extraordinary possibilities for bias and distortion,[6] it should be noted, nonetheless, that the age range of my own study and that of the EVO study are remarkably similar ( see Table 2-1).
TABLE 2-1
Age Range in Goode and EVO Studies
(percent)
GoodeEVO
  17 or under  5   16 or under  4 
  18 or 1916  17 or 1811
  20 or 2125  19, 20, 2128
  22, 23, 24, 25  30  22, 23, 24, 25  35
  26, 27, 28, 2918  26 to 3012
  30 or over7  over 3010
 
TABLE 2-2
Age Range in New York Medical College Study (percent)
  Teens22
  Twenties70
  Thirties8
 
    A third study, conducted by two sociologists at the New York Medical College in early 1969, interviewed seventy-four New York user respondents collected by "reputational" methods.[7] The age composition of this group was almost identical to mine and to EVO's (see Table 2-2). Although none of these studies is random in its composition of users, or in its method of collection, the closeness in correspondence lends credence to the assertion that the age distribution of marijuana smokers in general (or at least in New York City) is very likely to be as described. More striking than its mere youth (since the median age of the American population in general is about
    twenty-seven) is the high degree of concentration within the specific age range of about fifteen years, the middle teens upward to about thirty. It is possible that use is spreading beyond these boundaries, both upward and downward; perhaps in a few years, as the present user population grows older, and, possibly, continues to some extent in using marijuana, this over-representation among those in their late teens and early twenties will no longer hold true. In any case, this is, at the present time, the age breakdown of the average user.

Sex

    The user is more likely to be male than female. Or, to put it another way, men are more likely to smoke, or to have smoked, marijuana than women. The differences between men and women in their potsmoking participation are always fairly small, but distinct. For the addicting drugs, especially heroin, the differences are massive. Only about one-fifth of all known addicts turn out to be women. Men have five times greater chance of becoming heroin addicts than women.[8] The male dominance in marijuana use is never as great as that. In the 1969 American Institute of Public Opinion study (Gallup Poll) of a representative sample of college students,[9] 25 percent of the men and 18 percent of the women had tried marijuana at least once. (The figure for the entire sample was 22 percent.) In the EVO study, all of whom had used drugs, 98 percent of whom- had smoked marijuana, and 85 percent had used hashish at least once, the sex distribution was 69/31, a remarkable over-representation of males in New York's East Village drug-using community. In a study of a sample of students at a small upstate New York college, about 20 percent of the women and 30 percent of the men had used marijuana at least once.[10] Regardless of the locus of the study in question, men were more likely than women to smoke pot.[11]
    In our sample, there was a slight skew; 53 percent of our respondents were men, and 47 percent were women. However, since it is not representative, this figure, in and of itself, means very little. The simple population of all those who have had so much as a single puff of a marijuana cigarette is less relevant than levels of use and involvement. Not only are men far more likely to have had at least some minimal contact with drugs, the greater the degree of involvement and use, the greater the over-representation of men will be. Heavy and frequent marijuana use is a decidedly male-dominated activity. Men are more likely than women to use drugs, to use them often, to have tried and used more drugs, and to have participated in a greater variety of drug-related activities, such as buying and selling, turning others on, and, in short, to be far more involved in the drug subculture. These differences are more remarkable for their consistency and direction than for their strength. Of the 105 men in my study, 17 percent said that they smoked marijuana every day, while this figure was 7 percent for the 99 women; 17 percent of the men smoked less than once per month and 28 percent of the women were such infrequent smokers.
    The men in my study were also more likely to have tried drugs other than marijuana, as we see clearly in the Table 2-3. Forty-two percent of the women had taken no other drug besides marijuana, while this was true of only 22 percent of the men. This male dominance was maintained for every drug. The proportion of men taking LSD more than a dozen times, as well as the proportion ever taking heroin was about three times that for women: 19 percent versus 7 percent in the first case, and 19 percent versus 6 percent in the second. Men were more likely to be involved in drug-using activities and in the drug-using community in a variety of ways. They were more likely to have drug-using friends than women were. They were also more likely to have bought and sold marijuana. Only one-sixth of the men said that they had never bought marijuana (16 percent), while this was true of between one-third and one-half of the women (42 percent). Typically, the woman is offered the marijuana cigarettes she smokes by a man, and if she buys, she usually buys it from a man. A majority of women have never sold marijuana (69 percent), while a majority of men (55 percent) have.
TABLE 2-3
Percentage by Sex Taking Different Drugs at Least Once
  LSD Amphet-
amine
DMT or
DET
Barbi-
turates
OpiumCocaineMescaline
or Peyote
Heroin
Men5547283122252719
Women41372514181286

    One of the more striking differences in the entire study had to do with the number of people whom the respondent had turned on. A quarter of the men (26 percent) said that they had introduced ten or more people to marijuana for the first time, while only a tiny percentage of the women boasted of this degree of proselytization (3 percent). In part, all of these differences reflect general nondrug and nondeviant differences in gender. The man, after all, buys alcoholic drinks for his female companion, and he is more likely to introduce her to alcohol for the first time than she is to introduce him. These parallels should not be pushed too far, but the use of marijuana, as well as the hallucinogenic drugs, is a decidedly masculine activity. The male can be seen as somewhat "marijuanogenic"; he is more likely than the female to use the drug, to "progress" to other, more powerful, drugs, to buy and sell drugs, and to persuade others to use marijuana. It is from the male that use spreads. So much is this the case that I would speculate that in milieu in which drug use is high, as in colleges and universities, the women who interact most frequently and intimately with males are most likely to at least have tried marijuana, while the women who are least active and most isolated socially are the most likely to be "drug free."

Urbanness

    The marijuana user is more likely to live in or near an urban environment than is true of the population at large. Large cities remain the centers of use; in rural areas, marijuana smoking is relatively rare. To be more precise, the larger the urban center, the greater the percentage of its inhabitants who will have smoked pot; the smaller the community, the lower is this likelihood. One of the few exceptions would be in colleges and universities located in rural or small-town areas, but this only confirms our point, since (1) students in these colleges who do smoke are far more likely to come from an urban area; (2) it is generally from the more urban-originated students that use spreads; and (3) in the more urban-located college, the greater the likelihood of use is anyway.
    A very rough measure of the gross relative amount of use of various geographical areas may be gleaned from official arrest figures (though there is not space here for a critique of official crime data) and they confirm our impression. We would, of course, expect more marijuana arrests in urban areas, simply because of their larger numbers, but even on a per population basis, urban arrests are far more common with marijuana charges than rural arrests. (This is true of most crimes.) For instance, in California in 1967, half of all adult arrests on marijuana charges ( 13,000 out of a total of 26,000) as well as all juvenile arrests (5,000 out of l0,000) took place in Los Angeles county; the rest were in the remaining part of the state.[12] (However, it is possible that urban police are more diligent and observant, making use and possession more easily detected. ) In a nationally representative survey of the sexual patterns of college youth, Simon and Gagnon found a high correlation between marijuana use and the size of the community in which the respondent had attended high school.[13] Only 3 percent of the college men and 1 percent of the college women from a small town or rural area had ever tried marijuana, whereas the figures were percent and 13 percent of urban and suburban men and women.

Social Class

    The class backgrounds of marijuana smokers, as opposed to those who have never smoked marijuana, are relatively higher. Probably the higher the income of one's family, the higher the education of one's parents, and the greater the prestige of one's father's occupation, the greater is the likelihood of smoking marijuana. Also, for the young adult who has begun working, and who has left his family of orientation, the higher is his education, income and occupational prestige, the greater are his chances of smoking marijuana. This might seem peculiar to someone with a narcotics-addict model of marijuana use. Heroin addicts, it is true, are more likely to stem from poorer areas, especially the urban slum. Yet not all social classes find drugs equally appealing. The picture is even stranger in view of the fact that it is possible that a few years ago (before 1960), the class background of the average marijuana user was different. A 1958 textbook on drug use attempted to explain the greater incidence of marijuana use among blacks by the "greater incidence of poverty, slum residence, and socioeconomic discrimination among Negroes," and the author claims that the marijuana user's home is typically poverty stricken.[14] Possibly ten or more years ago, it might have been fair to say that there was something of a negative relationship between social class and potsmoking. Probably the only two groups that used with any frequency were residents of the urban slum ghetto, and Bohemians and beats on the edges of the slum and the black culture—jazz enthusiasts especially.
    Today this pattern has been reversed. Regardless of the specific measure of social class we wish to use—whether income, occupation, or education—the higher the social class, and the higher the social class of one's parents, the greater the likelihood the individual will smoke marijuana. There seems to be something like a linearrelationship between social status and potsmoking. In a representative study of the high school youth of Michigan conducted in 1968, this relationship was empirically confirmed.[c] Using the father's education as an index of social status, a strong and stepwise correlation between the social class of the high school student and his chances of smoking pot reveals itself; moreover, the higher the student's father's education; the more likely it was that he would see marijuana as harmless or beneficial. ( see Table 2-4).
    A Gallup Poll, released in October 1969, verified this positive association between social class and the likelihood of marijuana smoking. About 4 percent of a nationally representative sample of adults said that they "ever happened to try marijuana." The percentage of respondents with a grade school education who had done so was 1 percent; the figure for respondents with a college education was almost ten times as high, or 9 percent. Even in colleges, the same pattern holds. (College students are already a preselected group with regard to class, since their parents' occupation, income and education are generally significantly higher than that of their noncollege age peers.) The June 1969 Gallup Poll of college youth found that those students whose parents' family income was over $15,000 were considerably more likely to have smoked marijuana than those students whose family income was below $7,000.[15] One of the most complete studies of the drug-use patterns of college students, by Richard Blum and others, found that those from the wealthiest families were more likely to have tried marijuana—indeed, to have experimented with all drugs, except the opiates—than those from less affluent families.[16]
TABLE 2-4
Marijuana Smoking and Evaluations of Marijuana by Father's Education
  Father's EducationEver Smoked
Marijuana?
(per cent "yes")
Believes
Marijuana
Is Harmful
Believes
Marijuana
Is Beneficial
or Harmless
  College graduate225248
  Some college116238
  High school graduate126931
  Some high school107724
  No high school67921

    Not only is the youth with middle-class parents more likely to smoke marijuana than his working-class peer, but middle-class parents are more likely to be tolerant of their children smoking marijuana than working-class parents. Of course, parents of all social and economic levels overwhelmingly oppose marijuana use, especially by their children. But the higher the class level, the greater the chance that a parent will be part of that small minority which does not oppose its use. A Harris survey in 1968 documented this relationship. While 85 percent of the total sample of American parents of teenagers "would forbid" their children's smoking marijuana, this was true of 74 percent of the "affluent" parents. Not only were middle-status parents somewhat more likely to be tolerant of pot use, they also were more likely to know someone who smoked marijuana. While 5 percent of the total sample knew a youth who smokes marijuana, this was true of three times as many of the relatively affluent. Although this was true of every instance of "controversial" behavior questioned in the Harris poll, the edge was greater for marijuana smoking than for any other aspect. "... tolerance of controversial activities among teenagers is greater among the better educated and relatively wealthy [parents]."[17]
    The "rebellion" and "rejection of authority" hypotheses of marijuana use and other socially illicit activities would predict that youngsters whose parents most oppose such activities would be most likely to participate in them. My view is that marijuana use like many other forms of behavior that much of society condemns, is partly an extension of the social climate with which the individuals are involved. While most teenagers and young adults who smoke marijuana will find that their parents will condemn their behavior, it is the young adult whose parents are most tolerant toward marijuana use who will be most likely to try using it. Highly authoritarian parents discourage experimentation of all kinds. In part, the use of marijuana is an outcome of less authoritarian parents granting responsibility, initiative, and self-reliance to their children. Teenagers will move somewhat beyond parents' expectations; if those expectations lie close to the unconventional, the child will move into the arena of the unconventional. If the expectations are more severely restricted, the child will move a little beyond that. The potsmoking of young adults is partly an outgrowth and an extension of their parents' attitudes and expectations on marijuana, as well as related issues.
    The classic view of class differences in freedom and authoritarianism, still believed today by many practicing psychiatrists, has been that the lower or working classes are freer, more unrestrained, less repressed, more natural and spontaneous, than is true of the middle classes. This point of view has been informed by the "noble savage" ideology, and, later, by many forms of romantic Marxism. Freud, in watching a performance of Bizet's Carmen, was struck by the differences between his own repressed middle-class upbringing and the free, willful, and savage outburst of emotion expressed by the crowds. This tradition influenced social research and theory until a generation ago, when careful surveys revealed that quite the reverse was true.
    Working-class parents are far more likely to raise their children in an authoritarian manner; they are more likely to believe, for instance, that the most important thing a child can learn is obedience. The middle-class child is granted more autonomy, responsibility, and freedom, and allowed a freer expression of his emotions than the lower-class child. He is allowed to experiment more, to strike out on his own. It would be strange that these differences did not find their expression in such adolescent activities as marijuana use. (Of course, one problem in interpretation is that the historical trend. has been from a predominantly working and lower-class clientele in marijuana use to a predominantly middle-class one. ) In any case, the lower-class parent, as well as the lower-class child, is more conformist, tradition-oriented, conventional, restrictive, and more likely to stress obedience and a conformity to externally imposed standards. The middle-class person is more permissive, more likely to stress curiosity, exploration, self-satisfaction, self-direction and equalitarianism.[18] All of these attitudes have their impact on the readiness to use marijuana, to re-examine society's restrictions and decide for oneself what might be the most satisfying and interesting and fulfilling path.

College/Noncollege Differences

    It is common knowledge that use has spread into the colleges and universities. Studies indicate that perhaps one-quarter of all college youth have smoked marijuana, and more will do so by the time they graduate.[19] This is a massive rise which has taken place only in the past few years. Studies conducted as recently as 1966 and 1967 showed that only something like 6 percent of all college students had tried pot.[20] At least part of this four to five times rise in the space of two or three years is actual. The Columbia Broadcasting System study, based on interviews conducted in April 1969 with about 1,300 nationally representative, randomly selected youths age seventeen to twenty-three, slightly more than half (723) in college and slightly less than half (617) not in college, showed the powerful difference between the average college and noncollege youth in their acceptance or rejection of the marijuana prohibition. College youths were far less likely to accept the prohibition, and far more likely to say that they reject it outright (see Table 2-5).[21] 
TABLE 2-5
Columbia Broadcasting System Study
Marijuana ProhibitionCollegeNon-College
  Accept easily4872
  Accept reluctantly2011
  Reject outright3117

    It is, of course, conceivable that these differences do not translate into actual use patterns. Obviously, not all those who say that they reject outright the prohibition actually use pot, or have ever used pot. But equally obvious, those who say that they reject the prohibition are far more likely to smoke marijuana than those who say they accept it. It seems permissible to conclude from these figures that today's college student is more likely to use marijuana than is his noncollege age peer. But we must keep in mind the fact that the parents of college students are more likely to be middle class than the parents of youths who do not go to college, and by that factor alone, they would be more likely to try pot.
    There are, in addition, systematic differences among different types of colleges, as well as different types of college students. We mentioned the urban factor: colleges in or near urban centers will have students who are more likely to smoke pot than rural schools. A second factor is geographical location: colleges and universities on the two coasts, especially in New York and California—especially California—will contain higher percentages of pot-smoking students than those in the South, Midwest, or Rocky Mountain areas. A third factor, interestingly enough, is the quality of the school: the higher the academic standing of a college or university, other things being equal, the greater is the likelihood that its students will smoke marijuana. A study conducted in 1966 demonstrated that a fifth of the students attending the "top ranking" institutions had ever smoked pot (or used "similar drugs or narcotics") while this was true of only 1 percent at the "not very selective" colleges.[22] Since 1966, of course, a rise in marijuana use has occurred in all schools regardless of quality.

Jewish/Gentile Differences

    Perhaps because of their urban residence, or partly as a result of their almost exclusively middle-class socioeconomic status, Jews are far more likely to smoke marijuana than Gentiles, at least among young adults. About one-quarter of New York's population is Jewish, and by that factor alone, the Jewish youth is more likely to be exposed to opportunities for use than is the less urban Gentile population. My sample, although not representative, even of New York City's marijuana smokers, at least lends credence to Jewish over-representation among potsmokers; 44 percent of our respondents were Jewish in background. Although it is possible that this over-representation can be entirely explained by Jewish dominance in academic and quasi-academic milieu in New York City (the groups to which I had readiest access), there are indications that lead me to suspect that there are social and cultural factors linking the Jews to activities such as marijuana use.
    Jews have historically been at the growing edge of every civilization where they have been a part. Many of the avant-garde political and artistic movements today are associated with marijuana smoking, and the Jews are strongly over-represented in these movements. This does not mean that all Jews are so associated, or that all participants of these movements are Jewish. (Nor is it to say that only those actively involved with social change are likely to smoke marijuana.) But it is to say that Jews will be more likely to be found among the more progressive artists and writers, and among the more radical and revolutionary political activists in America today. And it is precisely the political and artistic avant-garde that is most likely to smoke marijuana. However, we need not even concern ourselves with society's most progressive and revolutionary members, since they form such a tiny percentage of any population. Even contrasting Jews in general ( not merely the most liberal among them) with Gentiles in general, it is clear that in many ways, Jews grow up in a richer, more complex environment, in a family ambiance with a lower level of authoritarianism, greater tolerance, and a respect for intellectual experimentation. (The Jewish family is, however, much more rigid in many other ways, such as the closeness of family ties.) The average youth need not have participated in society's most radical and Bohemian groups to have already developed certain attitudes toward innovation which make marijuana use more likely.
    Whatever the reasons, Jewish youths do seem to experiment with drugs, particularly marijuana, more than Gentiles. A study was done by the Toronto Addiction Research Foundation, entitled A Preliminary Report on the Attitudes and Behaviour of Toronto Students in Relation to Drugs. Of the Catholic high school students, 7 percent had taken drugs (mainly marijuana), and 75 percent said that they would not take drugs. These figures were g percent and 74 percent for Protestants. Among the Jewish students, about 15 percent had taken drugs, and 64 percent said that they would not use them. The differences are not dramatic, but they are significant. And they are corroborated by a number of other studies in other locations.

Religious Observance and Belief

    Even more dramatic than the Jewish-Gentile split in the likelihood of marijuana use is the difference between anyone who claims to have no religion as opposed to someone who claims some religious affiliation. A "no religion" is highly unconventional in many ways. Politically, he is at the far left of the ideological spectrum. In the CBS study on youth cited earlier, while only 8 percent of the total sample claimed to have "no religion," over 60 percent of the youths classified as "revolutionary" in political ideology said that they had no religion.[23] We would, therefore, expect a "no religion" to be unusual in many other ways. In Blum's college study, for all of the drugs on which a question was asked (except sedatives), "no religions" were by far the most likely of all religious groups to have experimented. (Jews were found to be second for all drugs).[24] The average potsmoker is highly unlikely to be religious in a traditional sense. He is less likely to claim religious affiliation, attend religious services, believe in traditional dogma, or participate in any way, with any of the formal religious bodies. In my study, only one-fifth of the respondents said that they ever attended formal religious services—that is, at least once a year. Slightly over a quarter said that they believed in God; 45 percent were atheists. (The rest had their own private version of God—pantheism, the human spirit as God, "God is love," etc. ) In a study of the student body attending a New York City private high school, the New York Medical College team discovered a number of dramatic and striking differences between the drug users and the nonusers. The largest difference by far had to do with religion. Over half of the nonusers (54 percent ) said that they attended religious services. Not one of the users said that they ever attended religious services.
    The Simon-Gagnon college youth study corroborated these findings. Among men who had tried marijuana, 4 percent attended church frequently, while 36 percent of those who had not tried and did not wish to try marijuana, attended services frequently. Expressed differently, 2 percent of the frequent church attenders had tried pot, while 24 percent of those who said that they attended rarely or never had done so.

Political Orientation

    One of the most empirically verified of all relationships with marijuana use is political ideology and activity. Marijuana users are far more likely to hold what are considered in America today liberal or radical views. The New York Medical College study of private school youths showed that the users (all but two had used marijuana) were far more active and radical politically. All but two of the thirteen users had joined a Vietnam march or demonstration, whereas just over one-third of the nonusers had done so; about two-thirds of the users agreed that the civil rights movement is not "militant enough," while only about one-fifth of the nonusers agreed.[25] In Blum's study of college drug use, a direct and linear relationship between political leftism and the use of any single illicit drug, including marijuana, was found. The more radical the student was, the greater the chance that he used any drug; the more conservative he was, the lower was this chance.[26] (The two Marxists in the study had not used marijuana, however; I will touch upon this point presently. ) The CBS study, Generations Apart, also documented the powerful relationship between political ideology and the acceptance or rejection of the marijuana prohibition.[27] The more radical the student, the greater were his chances of rejecting the marijuana laws. ( see Table 2-6 ).
TABLE 2-6
Political Ideology by Accepting or Rejecting the Marijuana Prohibition
POLITICAL IDEOLOGY
  Marijuana
  Prohibition
RevolutionaryRadical
Reformer
Moderate
Reformer
Middle of
the Road
Conservative
  Accept easily547437785
  Accept reluctantly3825108
  Reject outright924532137

    The bulk of the most radical of these students (revolutionary) reject the marijuana prohibition, while the same is true of the most conservative wing accepting the prohibition, while the in-between ideological elements are also in-between on the pot issue. Marijuana, by and large, is part of the ideology and even, to a large degree, the politics, of the left wing in America today; at the very least, liberalism and radicalism increase one's chances of approving of pot and using it.
    The 1969 Gallup Poll of college students also documented the linear relationship between potsmoking and political attitudes. Whereas about lo percent of the students who classified themselves as conservatives had smoked marijuana at least once, about half (49 percent) of those who said that they were extremely liberal had done so. Only 15 percent of the students who had never participated in a political demonstration had ever smoked pot, but 40 percent of those who had demonstrated had tried marijuana. While over half of the whole sample felt that campus demonstrators who broke the law should be expelled from college, this was true of about a third of the marijuana smokers.[28] By any measure, then, the politics of the average college marijuana user runs at least somewhat to the left of his nonsmoking peers. Political leftists, in general, seem to smoke marijuana more than those who are considered to the right on the American political spectrum.
    As a qualification to this massive and unambiguous relationship, it should be stated that there are a number of revolutionary leftist political parties and groups that implacably oppose marijuana use as a "tool" of the ruling classes. Marijuana, the reasoning goes, acts as a pacifier, tends to blunt the revolutionary fervor, one's activist drive.[29] This is, for instance, the position of the Progressive Labor Party, basically, a Maoist organization, which recently split off with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In the film, The Battle of Algiers, the smoking of hashish was depicted as counter-revolutionary; certainly, internationally, communists vigorously oppose use of drugs of all kinds for the same puritanical reasons of many conservatives in America. Many Americans of the far right, however, believe that communists wish to impose drug use on Americans to corrupt them, make them peaceful, decadent and easily conquerable.[30] One of my interviewees, a twenty-one-year-old college student who described herself as a Marxist, revealed her political opposition to the use of marijuana. She said that she had not smoked marijuana for eight months. The following is a section of the interview I completed with her.    Q: Why don't you smoke marijuana more regularly?
    A: I'm not letting the big boys take over my mind.
    Q: What do you mean, the "big boys"?
    A: President Johnson, all the political bosses. I feel powerless and inert if I smoke—I feel guilty. Some people think it's better for us to be stoned.
    P: What people?
    A: The power structure. They want us stoned because we aren't as politically active then.

Sexual Permissiveness

    Potsmokers are more liberal and unconventional in a variety of ways, not merely in political orientation. Sexually, they are more permissive. Or, expressed differently, sexually permissive people are more likely to try and to use marijuana than those who are more restrictive, conservative, or conventional. The more liberal in sexual matters the individual is, the greater is his chance of using marijuana once, a dozen times, or regularly. The two are part of the same basic thrust—freedom from some of the restraining mores of American society. Far more of the Simon-Gagnon college student study who were classified as liberal in sexual attitudes (24 percent of the men, and 14 percent of the women) had tried pot, than those whose attitudes were conservative on the sex-attitude scale (7 percent of the men, and 5 percent of the women). Sexual liberalism seems to increase considerably one's chance of taking marijuana. Sex is another area wherein the middle-class individual is more liberal and permissive—the age-old myths concerning the sexual aura of the lower and working classes notwithstanding. The middleclass sexual relationship is more equalitarian; the female expresses more satisfaction, and reports a higher frequency of orgasm; in intercourse, the couple is more likely to experiment with novel positions, ideas, and situations, and the couple prolongs having sex further into old age. The lower-class sexual pattern is more often characterized by "homosociality"—that is, conquest and exploitation of the female by the male for the purpose of approval from one's peers, rather than for its intrinsic satisfaction. It is characterized by the double standard, by the dichotomy between the good girl and the bad girl, by a narrower range of acceptable activities and a lower level of expressed satisfaction in the quality of the sex experienced, especially by the female, and an earlier discontinuation of sex relations in middle age.[31] (These are, remember, comparative statements.) All of these attitudes and forms of behavior have parallels in marijuana use. The more sexually permissive the person is, the greater the likelihood that the person will smoke marijuana, or try it at least once. The more equalitarian he envisions and acts out his sexual relationships, the greater the chances of potsmoking. The more he rejects many of conventional society's sexual restrictions and prohibitions, the more acceptable marijuana will seem. The more that he feels that the acceptability of a given sexual relationship is defined by the partners involved, rather than by some impersonal and absolute standard, the more "self-direction" he assigns to sexual partners, the less he will reject and condemn marijuana use, and the more willing he will be to actually try it himself. It should be realized, however, that these relationships are not directly dependent on sex itself, but on more fundamental underlying attitudes and behavior. Sexual permissiveness may merely be a manifestation of a general anti-authoritarian stance, a rejection of conventionality of all kinds. Both marijuana use and sexual permissiveness are dependent on the same basic factor, rather than one being dependent on the other.[32]

Authoritarianism

    Many of these relationships can at least partially be captured by the notion of authoritarianism. Two decades ago, a massive study entitled The Authoritarian Personality was published. Although its authors assigned to the concept of authoritarianism an almost cosmic and all-embracing status, we need not be so ambitious in our use of it. Regardless of the generality of its applicability, the fact remains that some of us are more rigid in our thinking processes and in the way we act than others. Some seek comfort in rules, orders, and a strict hierarchy of power, in a black and white notion of right and wrong, an unambiguous morality; these people have an intolerance for ambiguity. Others are more comfortable with ambiguity. They do not need clear-cut rules, nor do they wish to follow a powerful leader. They do not find the need to divide the world up into good and bad, right and wrong; they recognize shades in between, and this does not distress them unduly. They do not ask, upon entering a new social situation, "Who's in charge here?" They seek the relevance of axes unrelated to power and authority, which are far less important to them. Some of us, in short, are highly authoritarian, while others are far less so. As we might expect, this conceptual scheme has relevance for marijuana use. Some are content to rest with society's prohibition: "No pot." Others, with a more flexible notion of right and wrong, do not accept this axiom. They have a more relativistic notion of right and wrong. Individuals with authoritarian attitudes are far less likely to smoke marijuana than those low in authoritarianism. In the Simon-Gagnon college survey, only 6 percent of the high-authoritarian men had tried marijuana, whereas 28 percent of the low-authoritarian men had; the figures for women were 3 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

N O T E S

    a. Actually, the way I have constructed these categories, it would be possible to move back and forth between the last three—from occasional to regular to frequent use and back again—but not in and out of being an experimenter. I look upon experimentation with marijuana as having used the drug less than a dozen times in one's lifetime, so that after that, one moves out of this category for good. Thus, this scheme is not a true typology. (back) 
    b. In fact, I saw marijuana-using parents give a joint to their two-, three-and four-year-old children, much as a French mother might give her child a sip of wine to quiet him but this is, obviously, extremely rare. (back) 
    c. The study was conducted by Richard Bogg of the School of Public Health, University of Michigan. This table was not tabulated in the study. I want to thank Professor Bogg for supplying me with the IBM cards on which the data are stored, so that I could make these tabulations myself. (back) 
    1. Six cigarettes a day figure was cited in the classic, The Marihuana Problem in the City of New York ("The LaGuardia Report"), and quoted thereafter as gospel. No one bothered to check its validity. It bears about as much correspondence to reality as does the statement that the typical drinker of liquor consumes a half a quart of Scotch a day. (back) 
    2. Kenneth Keniston, "Heads and Seekers: Drugs on Campus; Counter-Cultures and American Society," The American Scholar 38 (Winter 1969): 99. (back) 
    3. During the period of the interviews I conducted (July and August 1967), most of the mass magazines with the largest circulation, such as Look, Life, Newsweek,ran full-length articles on marijuana use, emphasizing the complexity of the users' characteristics. Many of the smokers I interviewed incorrectly took this as evidence of the immanence of the end of the marijuana laws. (back) 
    4. John Rosevear, Pot: A Handbook of Marijuana (New Hyde Park, N. Y.: University Books, 1967), p. 118. (back) 
    5. For a report expressing concern over the youth of recent smokers, "The Drug Generation: Growing Younger," Newsweek, April 21, 1969, pp. 107-108, 110.(back) 
    6. Obviously, readers of EVO are not representative of drug users in general, even those living in New York's East Village. And those who had the six cent stamp to mail in the questionnaire will be somewhat different from those who did not, those who are willing to fill it out in the first place will be dissimilar in some ways from those who are not willing. And so on. (back) 
    7. Richard Brotman and Frederic Suffet, "Marijuana Users' Views of Marijuana Use" (Paper presented at the American Psychopathological Association Annual Meeting, February 1969). (back) 
    8. See Ernest Hamburger, "Contrasting the Hippie and Junkie," The lnternational Journal of the Addictions 4 (March 1969): 123-126, for data on the sex ratios of drug addicts. (back) 
    9. American Institute of Public Opinion, Special Report on the Attitudes of College Students no.48 (Princeton, N. J., June 1969), p. 30. (back) 
    10. Martin E. Rand, J. David Hammond, and Patricia Moscou, "A Survey of Drug Use at Ithaca College," The Journal of the American College Health Association 17 ( October 1968): 43-51. (back) 
    11. See also Richard Blum et al., Students and Drugs (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969), p. 64; Brotman and Suffet, op. cit., p. 6. (back) 
    12. State of California, Department of Justice, Bureau of Criminal Statistics, Drug Arrests and Dispositions in California, I967 (Sacramento: State of California, 1968), pp-4,5 (back) 
    13. William Simon and John H. Gagnon, The End of Adolescence: The College Experience (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), forthcoming. (back) 
    14. David P. Ausubel, Drug Addiction (New York: Random House, 1958), pp. 94, 95. (back) 
    15. AIPO, op. cit., p. 30. (back) 
    16. Blum et al., op. cit.p. 66. (back) 
    17. Louis Harris, "Parents Draw the Line at Drug Use," The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 4, 1968. (back) 
    18. Hundreds of articles, books, and studies have discussed and tested these relationships. See Albert K. Cohen and Harold M. Hodges, "Lower-Blue-Collar-Class Characteristics," Social Problems 10 (Spring 1963): 303-334; Melvin L. Kohn, Class and Conformity (Homewood, III.: Dorsey Press, 1969). See also the relevant papers in Rose Laub Coser ed., Life Cycle and Achievement in America (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1969), and Alan L. Grey, ed., Class and Personality in Society (New York: Atherton Press, 1969). (back)
    19. AIPO, op. cit., p. 30. (back)
    20. American Institute of Public Opinion, Views of College Students on Drug Taking," unpublished manuscript (June 1967), and William J. Bowers, "A Study of Campus Misconduct," unpublished manuscript (Boston: Northeastern University, The Russell B. Stearns Study, 1968). (back)
    21. Columbia Broadcasting System News, Generations A part: A Study of the Generation Gap, conducted for CBS by Daniel Yankelovitch, Inc., 1969, p. 18.(back)
    22. Bowers, op. cit., table 3. (back)
    23. CBS, op. cit., p. 82. The question of whether a "no religion" stance influences one's political orientation, or vice versa, is not relevant at this point. (back)
    24. Blum et al., op. cit.p. 66. (back)
    25. Richard Brotman, Irving Silverman, and Frederic Suffet, Some Social Correlates of Student Drug Use," unpublished manuscript (New York Medical College, Division of Community Mental Health), p. 13. (back)
    26. Blum et al., op. cit., pp. 69-70. (back)
    27. CBS, op. cit., p. 62. (back)
    28. AIPO, op. cit., pp. 9 12, 21, 23, 24,30. (back)
    29. For two Marxian analyses of the role of cannabis in the class struggle, see Allen Krebs, "Hashish, Avant Garde and Rearguard," Streets I, no. 2 (May-June 1965): 17-22, and B. W. Sigg, Le Cannabism Chronique, Fruit du Sous-developpement et du Capitalisme (Marrakesch, 1960-Algiers, 1963). An exposition on the latter work, which is inaccessible (as is the former) may be found in Blum et al., op. cit., pp. 73-76. For another article which emphasizes the political apathy-producing effects of marijuana see Hunter Thompson, "The 'Hashbury' is the Capital of the Hippies," The New York Times Magazine, May 14, 1967, pp. 29, 123, 124. (back)
    30. See L. T. Frey, "Memorandum to All Marine Aircraft Group 11 Personnel," excerpts printed in Avant Garde, no. 4 (September 1968): p. lo, and Paul G. Rogers, "Transcript of Panel Discussion, Drug Abuse Control Amendments of 1965," in International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association, Sixth Annual Conference Report (Miami Beach, Fla. September 26-October 1, 1965), pp. 20-21. 
    31. One of the most comprehensive of the many studies exploring this relationship is Lee Rainwater, "Some Aspects of Lower Class Sexual Behavior," The Journal of Social Issues 22, no. 2 ( April 1966); 96-108. (back)
    32. The sociologist and the psychiatrist are likely to see different ranges of the sexual spectrum. While a sociologist, when he thinks of someone who is defined as "sexually permissive," is likely to think of the most permissive half, third, or quarter of the entire population, the huge majority of which are clinically healthy individuals, the psychiatrist will rather think of the tiny minority who are the most sexually active ( comprising possibly 1 percent of the population ) many of whom act on the basis of motives defined by much of the medical profession as neurotic. (The promiscuous girl, for instance.) Thus, he will take a dimmer view of sexual permissiveness. In fact, many of the most sexually active individuals, such as the promiscuous girl, actually reject the validity of their behavior, and could not, therefore, be called attitudinally permissive. In any case, if we were to adopt a broader view, and look at the most permissive half, third, or quarter of the population, we would find a much higher level of self-acceptance. 
===================

Chapter 3 - Marijuana and the Politics of Reality


Introduction

    One of the mysteries of recent social research is the seemingly contradictory conclusions about marijuana use. Perhaps no sector of social behavior is more disputed. Empirical questions concerning aspects of marijuana use arouse a hornet's nest of controversy. Even the fundamental question of the effects of the drug on the human mind and body is hotly disputed; two descriptions, both purporting to be equally "objective," often bear no relation to one another. Is marijuana a drug of psychic dependence? Or is it meaningless to speak of dependency in regard to marijuana? Does marijuana cause organic damage to the brain? Are its effects criminogenic? How does it influence the overall output of activity—in popular terms, does it produce lethargy and sloth? Does it precipitate "psychotic episodes"? What, specifically, is its impact on artistic creativity? What is the drug's influence on mechanical skills, such as the ability to drive an automobile? Does the use of marijuana lead to heroin addiction?
    These questions can be answered within the scope of empirical sociological, psychological, and pharmacological scientific technique. Each query can be operationalized. Indices can be constructed and tests can be devised. Occasionally they are. Yet the zones of widespread agreement are narrow indeed. Surely this should puzzle the sociologist.

The Social Construction of Reality

    All civilizations set rules concerning what is real and what is not, what is true and what is false. All societies select out of the data before them a world, one world, the world taken for granted, and declare that the real world. Each one of these artificially constructed worlds is to some degree idiosyncratic. No individual views reality directly, "in the raw," so to speak, but our perceptions are narrowly channeled through concepts and interpretations. What is commonly thought of as reality, that which exists, or simply is, is a set of concepts, assumptions, justifications, defenses, all generally collectively agreed-upon, which guide and channel each individual's perceptions in a specific direction. The specific rules governing the perception of the universe which man inhabits are more or less arbitrary, a matter of convention. Every society establishes a kind of epistemological methodology.
    Meaning, then, does not automatically come about. Rather, it is read into every situation, event, entity, object, phenomenon. What one individual understands by a given phenomenon may be absolutely heterogenous to what another individual understands. In a sense, then, the reality itself is different. The only reality available to each individual consciousness is a subjective reality. Yet this insight poses a dilemma: we must see in a skewed manner or not at all. For, as Berger and Luckmann point out, "To include epistemological questions concerning the validity of sociological knowledge is like trying to push a bus in which one is riding."[1] Sociologists, too, are implicated in this same process. But unless we wish to remain huddled in the blind cave of solipsism, the problem should not paralyze us. We leave the problem of the validity of sociological knowledge to the metaphysical philosophers.
    If we wish to grasp the articulation between ideology and what Westerners call science, we must look to fundamental cultural beliefs that stimulate or inhibit the growth of scientific-empirical ideas. One form of this selection process, the course of defining the nature of the universe, involves the rules of validating reality. A procedure is established for accepting inferential evidence; some forms of evidence will be ruled out as irrelevant, while others will serve to negotiate and determine what is real. For instance, some religious systems have great faith in the validity of the message of the senses.[2] Other civilizations give greater weight to mystical insight, to the reality beyond empirical reality.[3]
    The sociologist's task starts with this vast cultural canvas. While the "major mode" of the epistemological selection and validation process involves the decision to accept or rule out the data of our senses, within this tradition, minor modes of variation will be noticed. Clearly, even societies with powerful scientific and empirical traditions will contain subcultures which have less faith in the logic of the senses than others have. Moreover, all cultures have absorbed one or another mode of reasoning differentially, so that some institutions will typify the dominant mode more characteristically than others. Certainly, few in even the most empirical of civilizations will apply the same rules of evidence in the theater of their family as in their workaday world.
    The more complex the society, the greater the number of competing versions concerning reality. The positivists were in error in assuming that greater knowledge would bring epistemological convergence. The arenas of controversy are more far-flung than they ever have been. Now, instead of societies differing as to how they view the real world, subsegments of the same society differ as well. This poses a serious problem for those members of society who have an emotional investment in stability and the legitimacy of their own special version of reality. The problem becomes, then, a matter of moral hegemony, of legitimating one distinctive view of the world and of discrediting competing views. These rules of validating reality, and society's faith in them, may serve as strategies in ideological struggles. Contending parties will wish to establish veracity by means of the dominant cultural mode.
    All societies invest this selection process with an air of mystification. Using Peter Berger's phrase: "Let the institutional order be so interpreted as to hide, as much as possible, its constructed character.... [The] humanly constructed nomoi are given a cosmic status...."[4] This process must not, above all, be seen as whimsical and arbitrary; it must be grounded in the nature of reality itself. The one selected view of the world must be seen as the only possible view of the world; it must be identified with the real world. All other versions of reality must be seen as whimsical and arbitrary and, above all, in error. At one time, this twin mystification process was religious in character: views in competition with the dominant one were heretical and displeasing to the gods—hence, Galileo's crime. Now, of course, the style is to cloak what Berger terms "fictitious necessities" with an aura of scientific validity. Nothing has greater discrediting power today than the demonstration that a given assertion has been "scientifically disproven." Our contemporary pawnbrokers of reality are scientists.

Value and Fact in Negotiating the Marijuana Reality

    Probably no area of social life reflects this selective process more than drug use. Society has constructed the social concept "drug" in such a way that it excludes elements which are substantially identical to those it includes. What is seen as the essential reality of a given drug and its use is a highly contingent event. What society selects as crucial to perceive about drugs, and what it ignores, tells us a great deal about its cultural fabric.
    The scientist makes a distinction between those questions that can be answered empirically and those wholly in the realm of sentiment. The question of whether marijuana causes crime is answerable, but the question of whether marijuana is evil or not is intrinsically unanswerable, within an empirical and scientific framework. It depends completely on one's perspective. However clear-cut this distinction is in the scientist's mind, as a tool for understanding the disputants' positions in this controversy, it is specious and misleading for a variety of reasons.
    The strands of value and fact intersect with one another so luxuriantly that in numerous reasoning sequences they are inseparable. What one society or group or individual takes for granted as self-evidently harmful, others view as obviously beneficial, even necessary. In crucial ways, the issue of harm or danger to society as a result of the drug pivots on moot points, totally unanswerable questions, questions that science is unable to answer without the resolution of certain basic issues. And for many crucially debated marijuana questions, this modest requirement cannot be met. In other words, before we raise the question of whether marijuana has a desirable or a noxious effect, we must first establish the desirability or the noxiousness to whom. We must concern ourselves with the differential evaluations of the same objective consequences. Many of the drug's effects—agreed-upon by friend and foe alike—will be regarded as reprehensible by some individuals, desirable or neutral by others. Often antimarijuana forces will argue against the use of the drug, employing reasons which its supporters will also employ—in favor of its use. We have not a disagreement in what the effects are, but whether they are good or bad. This is probably the most transparently ideological of all of the platforms of debate about marijuana. Three illustrations of this orbit of disputation suffice.
    Were marijuana use more prevalent than it is today, there would come the billowing of a distinct aesthetic. The state of marijuana intoxication seems to be associated with, and even to touch off, a unique and peculiar vision of the world. That the marijuana-induced vision is distinctive seems to be beyond dispute;[5] that it is rewarding or fatuous is a matter for endless disputation. Inexplicably, the drug seems to engender a mental state which is coming into vogue in today's art forms. An extraordinarily high proportion of today's young and avant-garde artists—filmmakers, poets, painters, musicians, novelists, photographers, mixed-media specialists—use the drug and are influenced by the marijuana high. Some of the results seem to be the increasing irrelevance of realism; the loss of interest in plot in films and novels; a glorification of the irrational and the seemingly nonsensical; an increased faith in the logic of the viscera, rather than in the intellect; a heightened sense for the absurd; an abandonment of traditional and "linear" reasoning sequences, and the substitution of "mosaic" and fragmentary lines of attack; bursts of insight rather than chains of thought; connectives relying on internal relevance, rather than a commonly understood and widely accepted succession of events and thoughts; love of the paradoxical, the perverse, the contradictory, the incongruous; an implosive inward thrust, rather than an explosive outward thrust; instantaneous totality rather than specialization; the dynamic rather than the static; the unique rather than the general and universal. The parallel between the mental processes associated with the marijuana high and the "tribal" mind typified by McLuhan is too close to escape mention.[6]
    Those with conventional, traditional, and classic tastes in art will view these results in a dim light. A recent antimarijuana tract, for instance, comments on the highly unconventional and antitraditionalist novelist William Burroughs' approval of marijuana's influence on his creative powers: "The irony is that Burroughs meant his remark as an endorsement."[7] The sociologist of knowledge seeks to understand and explain the bases from which man's intellectual efforts spring. He will notice the prominent place in this debate the manner in which matters of taste, such as artistic aesthetics, are intimately and inseparably bound with views of the empirical reality of the drug. He who is opposed to the use of marijuana, and who believes that it is (empirically) harmful, is very likely to dislike contemporary art forms, and vice versa. The two are not, of course, necessarily causally related, but rather emerge out of the same matrix.
    Marijuana's reputed impact on sexual behavior is all to the good to some who are comfortable with an unconventional view of sex. To the sexually traditional, the fact that marijuana could disrupt man's (and woman's) sexuality is an out-of-hand condemnation of the drug. While marijuana's opponents would label any imputed increase in sexual activity as a result of drug "promiscuity"[8] and would roundly condemn it, the drug's apostles would cheer society's resurgent interest in the organic, the earthy, the sensual. For instance, a 1967 court ruling in the Court of Massachusetts, held that sexual promiscuity was one of the undesirable consequences of marijuana use; Justice Tauro rejected the defendants' appeal. Strangely, Time magazine claimed that Tauro's ruling would be judged fair by even the staunchest of marijuana supporters.
    Marijuana as a mind-altering drug has discrediting power to the one who thinks of the everyday workings of the mind as normal and desirable. But to the explorer of unusual and exotic mental realms, its mind-altering functions are in its favor. The ideologues of the psychedelic movement—and marijuana is considered by most commentators as the weakest of the psychedelic or hallucinogenic drugs—claim that every member of society is lied to, frustrated, cheated, duped and cajoled, and so grows up totally deceived. Barnacles of attitudes, values, beliefs, layer themselves upon the mind, making it impossible to see things as they truly are. This ideology maintains that far from offering an escape from reality, the psychedelic drugs thrust man more intensely into reality. By suspending society's illusions, the voyager is able to see reality in the raw, with greater verisimilitude. Aldous Huxley exclaimed, under the influence of mescaline, "This is how one ought to see, how things really are."[9] 
    The antipsychedelic stance will, of course, deny the validity of this process. What is real is the world as the undrugged person perceives it. Any alteration of the normal state of consciousness is destructive and-inherently distorting. Drug use, it is claimed, is "a way to shut out the real world or enter a world of unreality"; the psychedelic drug user attempts to "take a trip away from the real world and to a society of his own making."[10] But what is astonishing about the controversy is that both sides presume to know precisely what reality is. Whatever version we choose to guide our senses, we should not fail to see the ideological character of the controversy. Both orientations are to a large degree arbitrary, conventional. Epistemological questions cannot be resolved by fiat or empirical test. Even the natural sciences rest on faith, an unprovable assumption that the senses convey valid information. Yet each side insists that it alone has a monopoly on knowing what is true and what false, what is real and what illusory. Both sides attempt to mask the capricious nature of their decision with an air of legitimacy and absolute validity. Taking a relativistic stance toward both perspectives, we are forced to regard both as statements of a distinctly political nature. An essential component of dominant medical and psychological thinking about illicit drug use is that it is undesirable, that the user should be treated in such a manner that he discontinues use. The user is felt, rightly or wrongly, to threaten some of the more strongly held cultural values of American society:
In my opinion, psychopharmacologic agents may be divided into two major categories depending on the manner in which they either help or hinder the individual in his adaptation to society.
    Drugs may be used in one of two ways to help relieve... tensions: by sufficiently diminishing emotional tension to permit the individual to function or by allowing the individual to totally escape from reality. Sedatives, tranquilizers, and antidepressants... often permit an individual to function more effectively. Psychedelic drugs... allow the individual to escape from reality so that he need not function at all. The first group of drugs is often useful to society; the second group would only destroy it.[11]

    Given the basic premises on which statements such as these are based, it is difficult to understand just what the notion of detachment and objectivity toward the drug user might mean.
    Another locus of unresolvable controversy, where value and fact interlock inseparably, is the question of a hierarchy of values. An impartial stance is claimed by combatants in a multitude of pseudoscientific questions. Here, even the value issues may be resolved. Everyone agrees that marijuana may precipitate psychotic episodes, and that, further, psychotic episodes are a bad thing. The issue then becomes not, does it occur, or, is it good or bad, but does marijuana's claimed benefits outweigh its possible dangers? Should we restrict society's right of access to drugs so that we may minimize the potential harm to itself? How do one set of values stack up against another? One might, by donning a white coat, pretend to scientific objectivity in answering this question, but it might be wise to remember that even the emperor didn't succeed in the ruse.

The Logistics of Empirical Support

    A second powerful reason why strictly empirical arguments seem to have exerted relatively little hold in the marijuana controversy, aside from the intricate intertwining of value and fact, seems to be basic panhuman psychic process that leads to the need for the confirmation of our strongly held biases; moreover, empirical reality, being staggeringly complex, permits and even demands factual selection. We characteristically seek support for our views: contrary opinions and facts are generally avoided. This opens the way for the maintenance of points of view which are contradicted by empirical evidence. And there is invariably a variety of facts to choose from. It is a comparatively simple matter to find what one is looking for in any moderately complex issue. Each individual facing an emotionally charged issue selects the facts which agree with his own opinions, supermarket-like. Individuals do not judge marijuana to be harmful or beneficial as a result of objective evidence, rationally weighed and judiciously considered. The process, rather, works in the opposite direction: the drug is considered harmful—as a result of customs that articulate or clash with the use and the effect of the drug, as a result of the kinds of people who use it, the nature of the "reading" process society applies to these individuals, and as a result of campaigns conducted by moral entrepreneurs, as well as innumerable other processes—and then positive and negative traits are attributed to the drug. The explanation for perceiving the drug in a specific manner follows the attitudes about it. A man is not opposed to the use or the legalization of marijuana because (he thinks) it leads to the use of more dangerous drugs, because it causes crime, because it produces insanity and brain damage, because it makes a person unsafe behind the wheel, because it creates an unwillingness to work. He believes these things because he thinks the drug is evil. The negative consequences of the use of marijuana are superadded to support a basically value position. But everyone, Pareto says, seeks to cloak his prejudices in the garb of reason, especially in an empirical age, so that evidence to support them is dragged in post hoc to provide rational and concrete proof. Clearly, not many interested participants in a given controversy are aware of the rules of the scientific method. They may feel that they are empirically proving a point by submitting concrete evidence, yet the mode of reasoning merely confirms their ideological biases. "Proof" by enumeration exemplifies this principle. The criminogenic effects of marijuana are demonstrated by listing individuals who smoke marijuana who also, either under the influence or not, committed a crime. Munch[12] and Anslinger and Tompkins[13] exemplify this line of reasoning. (We will elaborate on this point in the chapter on marijuana's supposed effects on crime.)
    Conceptions of true and false are extravagantly refracted through social and cultural lenses to such an extent that the entire notion of empirical truth becomes irrelevant. True and false become, in fact, what dominant groups define as true and false; its very collectivity establishes legitimacy. A pro-or antimarijuana stance reflects a basic underlying attitudinal syndrome, ideological in character, that is consonant with its drug component. Prior to being exposed to attitudes or "facts" about marijuana, the individual has come to accept or reject fundamental points of view which already lead him to apprehend the reality of marijuana in a definite manner. These ideological slants are not merely correlates of related and parallel attitudes. They are also perceptual screens through which a person views empirically grounded facts. In other words, marijuana provides an occasion for ideological expression.
    Perceptions of the very empirical reality of the drug are largely determined by prior ideological considerations. Almost everyone facing the issue already has an answer concerning its various aspects, because of his attitudes about related and prior issues. He finds facts to suit his predilections—whether supportive or hypercritical—and commandeers them to suit his biases. The essential meaning of the marijuana issue is the meaning which each individual brings to it. The marijuana "reality" going on before us is a vast turmoil of events which, like all realities, demands factual selection. Yet the selection of facts is never random. It is always systematic; it always obeys a specific logic. Any message can be read into the impact of the drug; anything you wish to see is there. We support our predilections by only seeing in the dung that which supports them. If the critic wants to see in the drug and its use violence, sadism, rape and murder, they are there, buried in the reality of marijuana. If the drug supporter wishes to see peace and serenity, they are not difficult to find either.
    This is not to say, of course, that no research has ever been conducted which approaches scientific objectivity. (Scientific objectivity is, as we pointed out above, one form of bias, but since on most issues all participants in the dispute pay their respects to it, this axiom is apolitical in its import.) It is to say, however, that not all participants in the marijuana controversy have been trained as scientists, nor do they reason as scientists. Interpretations of the marijuana studies are more important to us here than the studies' findings themselves. Out of a multitude of findings a diversity of mutually exclusive conclusions can be reached. The multitude of results from the many marijuana reports forms a sea of ambiguity into which nearly any message may be read. The researcher's findings do not make themselves clear to the reader. Any opinion may be verified by the scientific literature on marijuana. Mayor LaGuardia's Report rivals the Bible in the diversity of the many conclusions that have been drawn from it.
    Marijuana's proponents take heart in its conclusions,[14] and nearly all of the entire report has been reprinted in The Marihuana Papers, a decidedly promarijuana anthology. Yet at the same time antimarijuana forces find in the study solid evidence for the damaging effects of the drug.[15] Our point, then, is that drawing conclusions from even the most careful and parsimonious scientific study is itself a highly selective process. The welter of findings are subject to a systematic sifting process. Often the researcher finds it necessary to disassociate himself from the conclusions which others have drawn from his own work. For instance, a sensationalistic popular article on LSD was denounced as a distortion and an atrocity by the very scientists whose research it cited.[16] More attention ought to be paid, therefore, to the "reading" process of drawing conclusions from scientific work, rather than the findings themselves. In fact, specifically what might be meant by "the findings themselves" is unclear, since they can be made to say many different and contradictory things.
    If a tactician were surveying the marijuana controversy, he would be struck by the ideological advantage of the antipot lobby in at least one respect: the single negative case is considerably more powerful than the single positive case—or, indeed, many positive cases. Harmfulness is far easier to prove than harmlessness. In order to demonstrate that marijuana is not damaging at all, it would be necessary to produce evidence that all cases of marijuana use did not result in damage—all individuals at all times—an obvious impossibility. Whereas to show that it is damaging in any degree, only a few scattered cases need be produced. (Even assuming that the "damage" can be traced to the marijuana, a question which is, itself, problematic.) Consequently, there is no conceivable evidence which can be presented to someone with a strong antimarijuana position which he will accept as a demonstration of the drug's comparative harmlessness.

Strategies of Discreditation

    Labeling has political implications. By devising a linguistic category with specific connotations, one is designing armaments for a battle; by having it accepted and used, one has scored a major victory. For instance, the term "psychedelic" has a clear prodrug bias: it says that the mind works best when under the influence of this type of drug. (Moreover, one of the psychedelic drug proselytizers, in search of a term which would describe the impact of these drugs, rejected "psychodelic" as having negative overtones of psychosis.) The term "hallucinogen" is equally biased since an hallucination is, in our civilization at least, unreal, illusory, and therefore undesirable; the same holds for the term "psychotomimetic," capable of producing a madness-like state. The semantics and linguistics of the drug issue form an essential component of the ideological skirmishes.[17] As an example of how labeling influences one's posture toward a phenomenon, note that the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs has jurisdiction over "addicting" drugs, which supposedly includes marijuana, while the Food and Drug Administration handles "habit-forming" drugs. Because of this jurisdictional division, the Bureau is forced into the absurd position of having to classify marijuana as an addicting drug, and to support this contention, it supplies drug categorizations that follow jurisdictional lines,[18] as if they had some sort of correspondence in the real world. However, the Bureau seems not to take its own classifications seriously, since whenever the issue is discussed by its members, it is emphasized that marijuana is not addicting in the classical sense, but it produces a "psychological dependence."[19]
    "Drug abuse" is such a linguistic device. It is often used by physicians and by those in medically related fields. Encountering the use of the term, one has the impression that something quite measurable is being referred to, something very much like a disease, an undesirable condition which is in need of remedy. The term, thus, simultaneously serves two functions: it claims clinical objectivity and it discredits the action that it categorizes. In fact, there is no such objectivity in the term; its use is baldly political. Drug abuse is the use of a drug that influential persons with legitimacy condemn. Their objections are on moral, not medical, grounds, although their argument will be cast in medical language. Nonmedical drug use is, in the medical view, by definition abuse.
    A linguistic category both crystallizes and influences responses to, and postures toward, a phenomenon. The term "abuse" illustrates this axiom. It announces that nonmedical drug-taking is undesirable, that the benefits which the drug-using subculture proclaims for drug use are outweighed by the hard rock of medical damage. Yet, since the weighing of values is a moral, not a medical process, we are full-face against an ideological resolution of the issue, yet one couched in a scientific and empirical exoskeleton. Furthermore, the linguistic category demands verification. By labeling a phenomenon "abuse," one is willy-nilly under pressure to prove that the label is valid. The term so structures our perceptions of the phenomenon that it is possible to see only abusive aspects in drug use. Therefore, data must be collected to discredit the beneficial claims of drug use.
    Another strategy of disconfirming the marijuanaists' claims to legitimacy is the notion, closely interconnected with drug use as abuse, that marijuana use is the manifestation of medical pathology. This thrust bears two prongs: (1) the etiology of marijuana use as an expression of, or an "acting out" of, a personality disturbance; and (2) the effects of the drug as a precipitator of temporary but potent psychotic episodes. By assigning marijuana use to the twilight world of psychic pathology, its moral and willful character has been neutralized. The labeled behavior has been removed from the arena of free will; its compulsive character effectively denies that it can be a viable alternative, freely chosen. A recent discussion argues that assigning the status of medical pathology is an effective device for neutralizing the legitimacy of a political opponent's ideology.[20] An act reduced to both symptom and cause of pathology has had its claims to moral rectitude neutralized and discredited. As a manifestation of illness, it calls for treatment, not serious debate. In a sense, then, physicians and psychiatrists have partially replaced policemen as preservers of the social order, since attempts at internal controls have replaced external sanctions. Both presume to know for the subject how he "ought" to act. Yet the new sanctions, based on an ideology which the deviant partially believes in—scientific treatment of a medical illness—becomes a new and more powerful form of authoritarianism.
    Generally, some sort of explanation, particularly one involving compulsion and pathology, is needed wherever it is not rationally understandable to the observer, that is, when it doesn't make sense. An anomalous and bizarre form of behavior demands an explanation. We can understand repeated dosages of poetry, because we all approve of poetry, so that no special examination is necessitated. It is only where the behavior violates our value biases that we feel it necessary to construct an interpretation. There is the built-in assumption that the individual should be able to do without recreational drugs, that their use is unnecessary, and a life without them is the normal state of affairs. Violation of our expectations requires an explanation. No explanation for abstinence from drugs is necessary, since our biases tell us that that is the way one ought to live.
    Looking at all of the actions of which society disapproves—deviant behavior—we notice that they share fundamental similarities. However, these similarities inhere not so much in the acts themselves as in the way society responds to them. One of the more interesting responses is the tendency to impute psychological abnormality to their authors. The issue of whether such judgments are "correct" or not is less relevant to us as is the nexus between the kinds of acts that attract such judgments, and the nature of the society in which they are made. It is said that Freud once had a patient who believed that the center of the earth was filled with jam. Freud was not concerned with the truth or falsity of that statement but with the kind of man who made it. Similarly, the sociologist of knowledge concerns himself with the kinds of explanations a society fabricates about behavior in its midst, and what those explanations reveal about that society. It should be regarded as extremely significant that deviant behavior seems to have attracted explanations which activate a principle of psychological abnormality. The sociologist legitimately raises the question as to what it is about American society which begets a personality abnormality explanation for marijuana smokers, as well as heroin addicts, homosexuals, unwed mothers, criminals, juvenile delinquents, and prostitutes, in addition to a host of other deviant groups and activities.[21] The fact that each of these social categories—and the activities associated with them—are severely condemned by American society makes the nature of the process of constructing pathology interpretations of deviance at least as interesting as the etiology of the deviant behavior itself. In all of these cases, adopting a medical approach to the deviant and his behavior effectively neutralizes his moral legitimacy, as well as the viability of his behavior. In this sense, the constructors of such theories serve to mirror the basic values of American society.
    It is incredible that so many participants of this debate feel that the issues can be decided rationally—and in favor of their own side, naturally, which is, of course, how they decide what is rational. In reality, the marijuana debate is simply not an issue that permits rationality Some questions are inherently unanswerable, while others, although ideally subject to empirical demonstration, are so heavily mired in sentiment that no amount of tugging is going to get them out. Only the naive think that "proof" proceeds in the manner of the scientific ideal. "Proof" involves gathering information, however dubious, which suits one's own biases, and suppressing that which threatens them. Actually, "facts" are instruments designed for the support of one's biases. These facts may actually be true, but truth is complex and elusive, and even seemingly contradictory facts may be "true." Anyone who thinks of marijuana use as evil wishes to attribute "evil" causes to it, as well as "evil" consequences ( especially ).
    No one likes violence, crime, heroin addiction, or "psychological dependence," so marijuana is charged with generating them. Actually, these are all code words.The allegation that marijuana causes violence is code for "marijuana use is evil." Today's allegations have, of course, been retranslated into contemporary scientific metaphors, because religious imagery does not speak with much practical authority today, but their meaning is identical. Consider the following quotes ( the emphasis is mine ):
    ... marihuana is addicting in the sense that it is a dangerous intoxicating drug...[22]
    So far as I can see, I do not think it is irrational to legally define marihuana as a "narcotic drug."[23]
    Although cannabism does not lead to an addiction in the classic sense of morphinism, the subjection to the drug is fairly serious. To a considerable extent, it decreases the social value of the individual and leads him to manifest physical and mental decadence. The tendency to an unsocial conduct of relaxed morals, of listlessness, with an aversion to work or the inclination to develop psychotic phenomena, is greatly intensified by marihuana.[24]

    In each case, the reader thinks that he understands the distinction being made while, in fact, the writer is actually making a very different one: a logical sleight of hand, in a sense. Notice the transition; we think we know what addicting means, and we feel assured that marijuana is not addicting. But we know that addicting is bad, and such labels are useful for persuasion purposes. So, marijuana must be labeled addicting, making it bad. We know that narcotics are bad, and that narcotic refers to an analgesic, a pain-killer. By defining marijuana as a narcotic, one quality of the narcotic is isolated out (its image in the popular mind as evil), and its actual pharmacologic property ( pain-killing ), which marijuana doesn't share, is ignored. Thus, we have narcotic-evil-marijuana.
    Although this procedure might seem strange to the logician, the methodologist, the scientist, it should come as no surprise to the student of primitive tribes. On such processes major elements of whole civilizations are built. Consider the uproar a generation ago in a tiny Indian village in Mexico following the discovery that an inoculation serum contained horse blood; no one wanted this substance injected into his body. Inoculation, as a consequence, had to be postponed until a more enlightened age and the population of the village exposed itself to the threat of lethal disease. What Westerners consider the major characteristic of the serum (disease prevention) was ignored; the minor characteristic (horse blood) was emphasized. To the Indian, the attribution of importance was reversed. Such are the powers of conceptualization.
    When the law, such as in New York State, defines marijuana as a narcotic, it is actually using the definition as a code—a kind of cryptograph—for unprovable assumptions about the drug's properties, the moral nature of its use, and the character of its clientele. The fact that in a pharmacological sense, the legal definition is erroneous and absurd, should not trouble us unduly. Actually, the pharmacological property of the drug has been suppressed in favor of a moral and evaluativeproperties. Narcotic is a code word for evil and (putatively) dangerous. The evaluation of marijuana as dangerous contains both moral and empirical judgments, as we pointed out earlier. It involves two processes: deciding what may be defined as dangerous, which is a value judgment, and how the evidence concerning marijuana's dangers may be evaluated. The law does not purport to make a scientific evaluation of the drug's characteristics; it is making a moral and conjectural judgment; by labeling the phenomenon it is criminalizing, the coupling is made powerful, and the elements are almost inseparable.
    In fact, the entire marijuana controversy could be viewed as a series of semantic constructs. We could make generalizations about the position of one or another combatant on the basis of specific key words—even without examining his argument. These words could serve as linguistic devices or symbols for a whole line of reasoning. We know, for instance, that if Oriental studies are cited, the author thinks that marijuana is harmful. Or that if the alcohol-marijuana comparison is made, that the person presenting the argument feels that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana, and that pot should be legalized Thus, the words, "India" or "alcohol" serve as a symbol for a position taken. Arguments are invoked; linguistic symbols are manipulated It is a form of shorthand for an ideological position. Similarly, in many cultural forms, such as film, there are popularly understood and taken-for-granted summing-up devices which represent larger universes of discourse. At one time, in Westerns, the villain had to be dressed in black and ride a black horse: the hero was symbolized by white. We know today that sexual intercourse takes place when accompanied by the appropriate symbol referents, even without viewing the action; a musical crescendo and a fadeout tell us as much as an explicit rendition about what actually happened. (Sexual explicitness, however, is coming into style. All this means is that different cryptograms are utilized.) By examining the marijuana controversy as such a cultural fragment, we are able to see with crystal clarity the humanly fabricated nature of the issues and the ideological character of the arguments invoked.

Overview

    It is the sociologist's job to discover and explicate patterns in social life. One side of a protracted and apparently insoluble controversy activates arguments that involve such putatively repugnant components as "socially irresponsible," "vagabond existence," "outlandish fashions," "long hair," "lack of cleanliness," and "disdain for conventional values."[25] The other side emphasizes factors that it deems beneficial: "discovery," "optical and aural aesthetic perceptions," "self-awareness," "insight," and "minute engagement."[26] So we are led to the conclusion that the controversy is a matter of taste and style of life, that it revolves about basically unanswerable issues, and its adjudication will take place on the basis of power and legitimacy, not on the basis of scientific truth. In fact, given the nature of the disputation, it is difficult to know exactly what is meant by scientific truth. The problem becomes one of getting support for one or another bias, rather than the empirical testing of specific propositions, whatever that might entail.
    The American Medical Association urges educational programs as an effective "deterrent" to marijuana use.[27] It is not, however, the sheer accumulation of information about marijuana which the AMA is referring to, since the marijuana user knows more than the average nonuser about the effects of the drug. Attitudes toward the drug are referred to, not factual information:
... district officials are so fired up, they'd interrupt the routine of the whole district just to make sure our kids hear a good speaker or see a movie that will teach them the basic fact: stay away from drugs. 
    In order to know exactly what it is that they should stay away from students must know the nature of drugs... they're provided with basic facts. These facts aren't given "objectively"—they're slanted, so there's not the slightest doubt that students understand just how dangerous drugs can be.
    You can call it brainwashing if you want to. We don't care what you call it—as long as these youngsters get the point.[28]

    Not only is the "meaning in the response," but both meaning and response are structured by power and legitimacy hierarchies. Society calls upon certain status occupants to verify what we wish to hear. These statuses are protective in nature, especially designated to respond to certain issues in a predetermined manner. Threats to society's security must be discredited. An elaborate charade is played out; debater's points are scored—with no acknowledgment from the other side—and no one is converted. Inexorably, American society undergoes massive social change, and the surface froth of marijuana use and the marijuana controversy changes with it.

N O T E S

    1. Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1966), p. 13. (back)
    2. Robert K. Merton, "Puritanism, Pietism, and Science," in Social Theory and Social Structure, 3rd ed. (New York: Free Press, 1968), and Robert E. Kennedy, "The Protestant Ethic and the Parsis," The American Journal of Sociology 68 (July 1962): 11-20. (back)
    3. Joseph Needham, "Buddhism and Chinese Science," in Science and Civilization in China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1956), 2: 417-422, 430-431.(back)
    4. Peter L. Berger, The Sacred Canopy (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1967), pp. 33, 36, 90-91, 203. (back)
    5. Peter Ludlow, "In Defence of Pot: Confessions of a Canadian Marijuana Smoker," Saturday Night, October 1965, pp. 28—32; Allen Ginsberg, "The Great Marijuana Hoax: First Manifesto to End the Bringdown," Atlantic Monthly, November 1966, pp. 106 112; Renata Adler, "The Screen: Head, Monkees Movie for a Turned-on Audience," The New York Times, November 7 1968; Anonymous, "Thoughts on Marijuana and the Artist," in Erich Goode, ed., Marijuana (New York: Atherton Press, 1969), pp. 177-183. (back)
    6. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964). (back)
    7. Edward R. Bloomquist, Marijuana (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Glencoe Press, 1968), p.189. (back)
    8. G. Joseph Tauro, "A Judicial Opinion: Commonwealth v. Joseph D. Leis and Ivan Weiss," Suffolk University Law Review 3 (Fall 1968): 23-41. (back)
    9. Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, bound with Heaven and Hell (New York: Harper Colophon, 1963), p.34. (back)
    10. American Medical Association, "The Crutch That Cripples: Drug Dependence," a leaflet (Chicago: AMA, 1968), pp. 1, 4. (back)
    11. Benjamin Kissin, "On Marijuana," Downstate Medical Center Reporter 7, no. 2 (April 1967): p. 2. (back)
    12. James Munch, "Marihuana and Crime," United Nations Bulletin on Narcotics 18 (April-June 1966): 15-22. (back)
    13. Harry J. Anslinger and W. G. Tomkins, The Traffic in Narcotics (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1953), pp. 23-35. (back)
    14. John Rosevear, Pot: A Handbook of Marihuana (New Hyde Park, N. Y.: University Books, 1967), pp. 111-112. (back)
    15. Bloomquist, op. cit., p. 122-126; Henry Brill, "Why Not Pot Now? Some Questions and Answers About Marijuana," Psychiatric Opinion 5, no. 5 (October 1968): 2021; Donald B. Louria, "The Great Marijuana Debate," in The Drug Scene (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968), p. 105. (back)
    16. Bill Davidson, "The Hidden Evils of LSD," The Saturday Evening Post, August 12, 1967, pp. 19 23. (back)
    17. Joel Fort, "The Semantics and Logic of the Drug Scene," in Charles Hollander, ed., Background Papers on Student Drug Involvement (Washington: National Student Association, 1967), p. 88. (back)
    18. "A Schoolman's Guide to Illicit Drugs," School Management, June 1966, pp. 100—101. (back)
    19. Henry L. Giordano, "Marihuana—A Calling Card to Narcotic Addiction," FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 37 (November 1968): 3. (back)
    20. Gregory P. Stone and Harvey A. Farberman, Social Psychology Through Symbolic Interaction (Waltham, Mass.: Blaisdell, 1970). (back)
    21. Isidore Chein et al., The Road to H (New York: Basic Books, 1964); Irving Bieber et al., Homosexuality (New York: Basic Books, 1962); New York Academy of Medicine, "Homosexuality," Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 40 (July 1964): 576-580; Leontyne R. Young, Out of Wedlock (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1954), and "Personality Patterns in Unmarried Mothers," The Family 26 (December 1945): 296-303; David Abrahamsen, The Psychology of Crime (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960); Hyman Grossbard, "Ego Deficiency in Delinquents," Social Casework 43 (April 1962): 171-178; Harold Greenwald, The Call Girl(New York: Ballantine Books, 1960). (back)
    22. David W. Maurer and Victor H. Vogel, Narcotics and Narcotic Addiction, 3rd ed. (Springfield, III.: Charles C Thomas, 1967), p. 119. (back)
    23. Donald E. Miller, "What Policemen Should Know About the Marihuana Controversy," International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association, Eighth Annual Conference Report (Louisville, Ky., October 22-26, 1967), p. 55. (back)
    24. Pablo Oswaldo Wolff, Marihuana in Latin America: The Threat It Constitutes (Washington: Linacre Press, 1949), p. 47. (back)
    25. Dana Farnsworth, "The Drug Problem Among Young People," West Virginia Medical Journal 63 (December 1967): 433-437. (back)
    26. Ginsberg, op. cit. (back)
    27. American Medical Association, "Marihuana and Society," Journal of the American Medical Association 204 (June 24, 1968): 1181-1182. (back)
    28. "How One District Combats the Drug Problem," School Management, June 1966 p. 103. The interview is with Dr. Sidney Birnbach, director of school health, physical education, and safety, in the Yonkers, New York, school system. (back)
=========================

Chapter 4 - The Smoker's View of Marijuana


    Marijuana's supporters are almost as varied in their advocacy of its beneficial qualities as are its opponents in their allegation of its dangers. We will encounter expressions ranging from the simple and vague, "Pot's groovy," to complex, subtle, and abstruse philosophical systems requiring volumes far weightier than this to characterize. Yet, throughout the broad spectrum of opinions for the drug, some more or less consistent ideological threads may be detected. To begin with, users and supporters are generally eager to neutralize arguments asserting the drug's harm; there is an almost complete uniformity on the promarijuana side in regard to the absence of damaging effects of cannabis. Users who feel that the drug is harmful almost invariably discontinue its use. Now, we might expect this to be true by definition: he who uses something is not likely to assert that it is dangerous. Not necessarily so, however. It is possible for a weighing process to have taken place, for the user to say that it is somewhat dangerous, but on the whole it's not all bad. Or we might encounter someone who recognizes the compulsive aspects of an activity and who wishes he could stop, but feels that he cannot, for instance, the alcoholic. The chronic amphetamine user will readily grant the harmfulness of his drug, admitting, wistfully, that his body is slowly being destroyed. This does not deter him from using the drug; he is still rhapsodic in praising it.
    It is significant, therefore, that the marijuana supporter invariably denies that the drug has any significant dangers associated with its use. He further asserts that were he to discover some hidden danger associated with the use of pot, he would stop using it.
    Both sides of the dispute claim to be positivistic in their stance. Each believes that facts will vindicate its position. With regard to marijuana, the American Medical Association writes: "An informed citizenry... is the most effective deterrent of all,"[1] and the New York State Narcotics Addiction Control Commission designed as a drug prevention organization, in its official publication, asks: "Will Facts Put Lid on Pot at Ithaca?"[2] The procannabis side, too, assumes that an impartial, unbiased survey on marijuana use will inevitably uphold its claims. The two purposes of LEMAR stated in its constitution were "to disseminate information about marijuana and the anti-marijuana laws" and to promote "the re-legalization of marijuana use, possession and sale in the United States" and are held to be causally related; if more people knew about the true nature of pot, the laws outlawing it would be abolished. The only reason that Congress and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics were able to push the 1937 statute through was public ignorance about the harmlessness of the drug; LEMAR hopes to correct that ignorance. In any case, the bedrock of the promarijuana position is that the drug is essentially harmless. Thus, marijuana propaganda will nearly always include a point-for-point refutation of the antimarijuana demonology.[3]
    Generally, the issue is whether or not marijuana may properly be labeled a "dangerous drug." Not all cannabis advocates will agree on this question, but the range of opinion will be relatively narrow, at least as compared with the other side. The radical position is that the drug is completely innocuous, harmless in every conceivable way: "... marijuana... is in all respects socially useful, and absolutely nonaddictive. We defy anyone to produce a shred of evidence that marijuana. .. produces at anytime any adverse, depressive, or toxic effect."[4] (The "completely innocuous" position is not to be taken absolutely literally, since an "overdose" of water may prove to be fatal; what is meant is that cannabis presents no dangers beyond such commonly accepted substances as coffee, tea aspirin, wine, and food.) The most conservative pro-pot position is that the drug may, given an unfavorable setting or taken by an unstable personality, precipitate a temporary state which could, by some definition, conceivably be labeled as something potentially dangerous. In general, users do not take the propagandized "dangers" of the drug seriously, since they have spent hundreds and thousands of hours high, and have seen dozens of others high, with little or no ill effect.
    There is more-or-less complete agreement on the relative harm of the drug: that marijuana is, for instance, far less dangerous than liquor.[5] Another comparison often made is that marijuana is less (or no more) dangerous than driving an automobile. Both of these arguments are open to empirical test and could, conceivably, be supported or refuted with data.
    The alcohol-marijuana comparison carries a great deal of weight among potheads. They feel that they have a solid case for the irrationality of the marijuana prohibition if liquor is, in fact, more dangerous than their own choice of drug. They contend that drinking carries with it very real dangers (although a high proportion of marijuana smokers also drink, very few do so heavily), whereas marijuana is, at worst, no more dangerous, and at best, completely innocuous. "... alcohol is frequently productive of a hangover, cirrhosis of the liver, violence, Dylan Thomas scenes, and the creeping quivers..." declaims The Marijuana Newsletter, a one-time organ of LEMAR, in a vigorous effort to urge defiance of the marijuana statutes.
    A marijuana user, in fact, feels a sense of superiority to the liquor drinker, a feeling that can be labeled moral, ideological and cultural snobbery. There is the faint hint of religious zeal in claiming a convert, of winning proselyte from "lush." The fact that so many young Americans once involved with alcohol are becoming "heads" is confirmation to the potsmoker that his intoxicating agent is spiritually preferable. The marijuana user will refer to the liquor drinker in condescending terms as lacking in style, sophistication, imagination, polish, subtlety, and taste. He is gross, obnoxious, boisterous, boring, fatuous, inane, and often violent. A twenty-two-year-old college graduate, a "dealer," explains: "I go out in the drinking world, sorta.... A lotta my friends in school aren't hip to drugs, and they don't think I am. It's really strange. When I'm stoned, I find it real hard, 'cuz, I don't know, their ways, you know, the jokes and slapping around and loud tones, really gets to you after a while. But when I'm straight I can sorta take it. But not high." It might be hypothesized that this sense of superiority grows out of real or imagined criticism for partaking in a condemned activity. Regardless of the origin of the feeling, it is genuine, and it forms an element in the marijuana subculture.
    One of the more damaging antimarijuana arguments that users wish to demolish revolves around the notion of the drug being capable of producing psychological dependency. This item in the opposition's propaganda baggage is emphatically rejected; users assert it simply does not happen. "I can take it or leave it," is an almost universal response. Heroin addicts contrast sharply: they often can pinpoint the exact day they realized they were hooked, and, at the more extended stages of use at least, almost never deny their dependency, except insofar as it may be tactically advantageous. Anyone who asserts that marijuana is as dependency-producing as heroin ("At this point the [marijuana] user is just as 'hooked' as are the persons we used to call addicts")[6] must explain the vast difference between the claims of the two groups; true or false, we assume that they tap some kind of underlying reality.
    The following affidavit submitted by a former user in defense of a friend who was arrested for marijuana possession illustrates the claim to the complete lack of power of dependency in the chemical agent, cannabis; tobacco, the argument runs, in contrast, has this power:
Marijuana is not harmful to my knowledge, because I have been using it since 1949, almost daily, with only beneficial results. It has a relaxing effect when tenseness is present. My depth of perceptions has been increased; this carries over into times when I am not under the influence of marijuana. Teaching children is my profession. I have been a teacher for thirty years and at present am the teacher-principal of a public school. During school I never feel the need of using cannabis sativa, however, each recess is eagerly awaited for smoking cigarettes. I do not consider marijuana a habit-forming drug, but to me nicotine is.[7]

    After the furor which followed this public testament (given to a judge), its author wrote: "... my house is 'clean.' I have had no marijuana in the house [since then], nor have I smoked it. This way I am able to prove that marijuana is not addictive or habit-forming, any more than brushing one's teeth or listening to music is addictive."[8] 
    In an unpublished study of 131 marijuana smokers (24 percent were daily smokers and 6 percent smoked marijuana less than weekly) two law school students, Lloyd Haines and Warren Green asked the users' subjective views on the dangers of several commonly used drugs. Ratings of one (least harmful) to five (most harmful) were given to each substance. About 80 percent rated marijuana one, or least harmful, in terms of physical damage; none rated marijuana four or five. On the other hand, a majority rated the other drugs very harmful, physically. Two-thirds rated cigarettes (63 percent) and stimulants (68 percent) four or five on the physical damage scale, and over half rated alcohol (55 percent) and LSD (56 percent) either four or five. In terms of psychological harm, only two respondents rated marijuana either four or five, and about go percent rated it one or two. Cigarettes were not seen as a particularly great psychological threat; only 24 percent considered it four or five in this category of harm. However, stimulants (amphetamines), LSD and, to some extent, alcohol, were seen as capable of harming the individual psychologically. Two-thirds for the stimulants and LSD (66 percent for both) and not quite half for alcohol (46 percent) were rated in the two most harmful categories.
    These data point to two clear facts: marijuana users vigorously deny that the drug is harmful in any significant degree, and smokers are capable of making clear-cut distinctions among various drugs as to danger. Overall, amphetamines (speed) of all the drugs on the Haines and Green list were seen as the most dangerous, with alcohol and LSD contending for second place.
    Often explanations for a somewhat puzzling activity are unduly complex; subterranean and insidious interpretations are presented where the participant explains it more simply: "I like it." It seems that we find it necessary to search deeper when we cannot identify with the reason supplied. If it does not seem conceivable that anyone would actually "like it," whatever the activity or substance, then a more plausible theory, often invoking a pathology, must be summoned from the deep. To the critically inclined, "I like it" is insufficient, merely a rationalization.
    Yet marijuana's severest critic must recognize the fact that users overwhelmingly describe the effects of the drug in positive terms. (See the chapter on "Effects.") The fact that the high is thought of as largely favorable cannot be ignored in understanding the justification that smokers use. "It's fun" and "I like it" are organic fixtures of the rhetoric for marijuana use. Yet, so elastic is the real world that this very trait, often cited by users themselves, is actually wielded by the cannabis critics to condemn the drug. Donald Louria, in summing up his critique of the question of legalization, writes: "The arguments for legalization of marijuana are based on pure hedonism—the proponents want the legal right to use the drug because it gives them pleasure."[9] Another physician-educator, typifying the marijuana smoker's psychological characteristics, writes: "The marijuana user... is.. . actively concerned with experiencing the sensuous and hedonistic components of drug-induced euphoria."[10]Translated, these statements merely mean that pot is fun to smoke; its users like it because it is fun. It is a telling comment on the nature of a civilization that fun—even "pure" hedonism—is taken as a criticism. Indeed, most potheads would say, it is precisely hedonism that the drug resurrects in a work-oriented Puritan society. Pot ideologues would assert that a whiff of pure hedonism would be a refreshing tonic to "up tight" Americans.
    Thus, one of the key weapons in the armory of the marijuana worldview is that pot is fun and pleasurable to smoke—that sheer hedonism is part of the cannabis scene. Marijuana is seen as one of the primal joyous activities of man, like making love, dancing and eating—all of which often accompany a pot high. Whoever tries to understand the drug, its users and their mentality, has to contend with their assertion that marijuana smoking is fun. It is used as an adjunct and stimulus to the gratification of the senses. He who takes a dim view of the gratification of the senses will certainly be a critic of the drug. The fact that cannabis is densely woven into sensual and gratifying activities and is, moreover, seen as being, in and of itself, sensual and gratifying, is perhaps its most essential and powerful appeal.
    Marijuana's ideologues attribute to the drug a favorable impact on their aesthetic impulse. The most commonly voiced such effect is, of course, on the quality of perceived sounds: marijuana, it is claimed, has the power to make music sound better. In a study conducted by the New York Medical College, 85 percent of all marijuana users in the survey agreed with this contention.[11] Among my own interviewees, nine-tenths of those who had listened to music high preferred it to listening "straight." Further, there were specific qualities attributed to the music while high that made the experience unique and exciting. One of these qualities is the ability to concentrate selectively on a single sound or instrument, to hear that one in bold relief, while the rest of the music behind it seemed flat.
    Another music-enhancing power attributed to the drug is associated with its synesthesia characteristics.[12] Of all of the descriptions of this phenomenon I encountered, perhaps nine out of ten involved music. Sounds under the influence of pot, it is often said, are more than sounds; music is more than simply music. Somehow a multiplicity of the senses seemed to be stimulated by music. Each sound reverberates to the other senses and is translated into seeing or feeling. An exquisite example of this phenomenon may be found in a short story by a contemporary hip writer, Terry Southern. A listener, high on hashish, describes the effect on him of jazz being played by a musician, who is also high:
... every note and nuance came straight to him... as though he were wearing earphones wired to the piano. He heard subtleties he had missed before, intricate structures of sound, each supporting the next, first from one side, then from another, and all being skillfully laced together with a dreamlike fabric of comment and insinuation; the runs did not sound either vertical or horizontal, but circular ascensions, darting arabesques and figurines; and it was clear... that the player was constructing something there on the stand... something splendid and grandiose... . It seemed, in the beginning, that what was being erected before him was a castle, a marvelous castle of sound... but then, with one dramatic minor—just as the master builder might at last reveal the nature of his edifice in adding a single stone—[he] saw it was not a castle being built, but a cathedral.... A cathedral—and, at the same time, around it the builder was weaving a strange and beautiful tapestry, covering the entire structure. At first the image was too bizarre, but then... he saw that the tapestry was, of course, woven inside the cathedral, over its interior surface, only it was so rich and strong that it sometimes seemed to come right through the walls. And then [he] suddenly realized ... that the fantastic tapestry was being woven, quite deliberately, face against the wall.[13]

    Often the notes of the music will themselves become transformed into physical objects; one of our interviewees saw the notes played by an organ playfully bouncing off his ceiling while listening, high, to rock music. Or, often while listening to records, the musicians will be envisioned—metamorphosed into their subjective musical equivalent—playing the music. A college student describes a common experience with the drug:
Very often I can place myself inside a concert hall when I'm listening to records. I can see the performance taking place in front of me. This happened the first time I got high. I saw the band, and they were dancing, and the drummer's feet, and all the performer's heads, came to a sharp point, because the music was very shrill, and the notes were sharp and pointed. And during the solo, I remember the drummer got up and danced around his drums while he was playing them—on his points, the points of his toes.[14]

    Although laboratory tests have underplayed the role of marijuana in stimulating musical "ability,"[15] certainly the increase in subjective appreciation of music is difficult to deny. It is part of the appeal of the drug, is a fixture of the ideology and mythology of the user, and is one important scoring point for the pot proselytizer. Users all the time and everywhere cite marijuana's impact on listening enjoyment as a positive attribute of the drug, and any critic of the drug's effect must wrestle with this trait in attempting to understand its fascinations.
    In dispute are marijuana's reputed effects on the visual sense. While clinicians busy themselves recording the drug's hallucinogenic temperament, its power to distort reality, the users themselves utilize this to attract potential converts. About one-tenth of our respondents reported that colors were brighter and more vivid under the drug's influence; in a laboratory study, subjects reported that, under the influence of THC, they perceived keener visual and auditory impulses, indicating to researchers (along with other effects) that the drug is psychotomimetic in nature.[16]
    But far beyond the simple claim that colors seem more vivid is the impression that one's aesthetic sense is heightened, that art works are understood better; the fine points once lurking only in the artist's mind become wondrously evident to the high viewer. Allen Ginsberg describes this enhancement effect on his own understanding of a number of paintings:[17]
I first discovered how to see Klee's Magic Squares as the painter intended them (as optically three-dimensional space structures) while high on marijuana. I perceived ("dug") for the first time Cezanne's "petit sensation" of space achieved on a two-dimensional canvas (by means of advancing & receding colors, organization of triangles, cubes, etc., as the painter describes in his letters) while looking at The Bathers high on marijuana. And I saw anew many of nature's panoramas & landscapes that I'd stared at blindly without even noticing before; thru the use of marijuana, awe and detail were made conscious. These perceptions are permanent—any deep aesthetic experience leaves a trace, and an idea of what to look for can be checked back later. I developed a taste for Crivelli's symmetry; and I saw Rembrandt's Polish Rider as a sublime Youth on a Deathly horse for the first time—saw myself in the rider's face, one might say—while walking around the Frick Museum high on pot.[18]

    Many of our interviewees who were practicing artists agreed that marijuana had a decided impact on the execution of their works. A successful commercial artist told me:
My color sense is more vital and more flexible. I see and use colors I don't normally. This isn't a fantastic increase in enlightment, but a slightly greater sensitivity to color and form. Marijuana makes me think more about the work, rather than just plunge right in, without thinking. It heightens my conceptual powers. I am able to trespass on a greater variety of media. I think of structures and concepts I might not think about normally. But the results are somewhat experimental. I'm usually satisfied with the experiment, although not always satisfied with the actual physical painting.

    This process—the heightening of the aesthetic sensibility—is said to occur not only with music and the plastic arts, but with all of the art forms. It occurs not merely because of a physiological change in one or another specific sense, but is said to receive its principal thrust from a change in thinking process, an impact on the mind, on one's mentality, one's outlook on the world.[19] Leslie Fiedler said at the 1969 "New Worlds" drug conference at Buffalo, "The end of both drugs and the arts is exaltation and ecstasy." Psychedelicists assert that marijuana, as the mildest of the psychedelics, allows the individual to transcend his background limitations, free himself from the encrustation of lies in his past and unhook himself from a socialization of ignorance and error. Pot allows the individual to communicate with his primal being, blocked so long by a repressive civilization. Reality, high, may be viewed "as it really is," without the aid of artificial props and distorting social lenses. In fact, the very meaning of being high is said to be encapsuled in the term "ecstasy," from the Greek, meaning to get out of a fixed, inert state, and to become one with the shimmering, pulsating cosmos.[20]
... we know much more than we think we know, and grass is one way of tapping that rich field of knowledge, insight and revelation. Each of us has stored up in the mind and in the body a mine of awareness.... But by adulthood our pattern of thinking, of bringing out these thoughts, have become pretty rigid. Old patterns of thought are repeated, and the same conclusions are reached. But the unconscious has other answers locked away; marijuana may be seen as a key to that attic. It breaks down this pattern by forming new associations between previously unrelated material... perhaps grass, by temporarily altering the chemistry of the brain, stimulates new connections, linking up memories and information in unusual ways. By this synthesis, fresh concepts are formed.... Whereas my thinking is normally structured along traditional lines of linear thought, reasoning, building from particulars to generalities, and vice versa, and drawing associations, corollaries, various conclusions based on other ideas, when I think behind grass, I frequently think in flashes of insight, which may be related to what had previously just passed through my mind, or which may not necessarily be related to anything that went through my mind as much as 30 seconds before that. So thought is not so architectural and not so "linear," but more "mosaic." The pot smoker sometimes makes conceptualleaps that are difficult for others to follow.
    In the McLuhan age, the important aspect of art is the experience of the audience. The depth of the art is contingent on the number of responsive chords struck in each individual; this indicates a kind of art that is nonspecific and suggestive, rather than explicit and denotative. The images produced by marijuana and the other mind-expanding drugs lend themselves to this form of art. When I'm stoned, my mind leaves the linear plane and moves into new dimensions. Montage and synthesis are the media of perception and expression. The images are symbolic and mosaic, rather than logical and linear. The new art requires participation. You have to get into it for it to work fully. Pot puts the artist in touch with his unconscious, permitting him to explore truths about himself which his ego has kept hidden. Even the audience is expanding its conscious by becoming more involved in the art. Marijuana is an important catalyst in this evolutionary change.[21]

    Many of the drug's critics, particularly the psychiatrically oriented, discount its "mind expanding" qualities and its favorable impact on the artistic imagination.
... marihuana... allegedly augments creativity, but there are no valid data in support of this contention. On a substantial number of occasions creative people have deliberately been given marihuana and asked to carry out and interpret their artistic activity under the drug's influence. In the majority of cases, during the actual period of marihuana intoxication they felt that their creative activities were enhanced. However, almost uniformly, when the effects of the marihuana had dissipated and they again viewed their creative activities, they found that in actuality they had done very badly, a judgment substantiated by impartial observers.... for most people there is no true increase in aesthetic sensitivity under the influence of the drug and that in general such effects, if valid, would be limited to those who would ordinarily score high on tests designed to measure aesthetic appreciation.[22]

    Most artist-users view this assertion as being overly literal-minded; few would expect any artist, in a laboratory situation, high on the drug, to produce a work of art of high quality. Aside from being misleading because it is artificial and mechanical, the experimental situation cited above is deficient in that it does not account for working while high as being one of number of possible methods. Few artists actually do all of their work under the influence of the drug. Many, however, use it as an adjunct to their work. Some, for instance, use the high experience as a resource for insight and imagination drawn upon at a later time. One of our respondents, a twenty-year-old painter, said: "I can't paint when I'm high—too many things are happening in my head; I can't make a brush stroke because I can't make a decision." Yet, at the same time, he felt that having been exposed to the thought processes associated with the drug experience had enriched his artistic work.
    Another style is to do some work while high, refine and revise when "normal." The argument goes, one is able to take advantage of the greater flow of ideas in the intoxicated state, and to correct any incoherence, irrelevancies, inconsistencies, momentary stylistic lapses and errors in judgment while straight. It is not that the high mentality is simply superior, its defenders would assert—but it is undeniably different. The high and the straight mentalities "somewhere have their field of application and adaptation," to use William James' phrase. Why not incorporate the best of both worlds, each whenever it is appropriate? Our anonymous informant, cited earlier, tells us:
When I write I generally turn on, do a first draft, and then re-write when I'm straight. I find that my style is fresher and more original than it was before. As an amateur playwright, I've found that what I write high is freer and more honest. It is occasionally somewhat incoherent, but I can correct that when I'm straight. The point is that, freed from conventional processes, the mind can produce more vivid, more original images and thoughts.

    Whatever the process, marijuana and contemporary art are inextricably linked. Few knowledgeable observers of today's artists and art forms would deny that the overwhelming majority has smoked marijuana at least once, and possibly close to a majority do so regularly. Allen Ginsberg tells us:
... most of the major (best and most famous, too) poets, painters, musicians, cineasts, sculptors, actors, singers and publishers in America and England have been smoking marijuana for years and years. I have gotten high with the majority of the dozens of contributors of the Don Allen Anthology of New American Poetry 1945-1960; and in years subsequent to its publication have sat down to coffee and a marijuana cigarette with not a few of the more academic poets of the rival Hall-Pack-Simpson anthology. No art opening in Paris, London, New York, or Wichita at which one may not sniff the incense fumes of marijuana issuing from the ladies' room.[23]

    Obviously marijuana's reputed ability to release man's creative impulses need not be restricted to the aesthetic realm. The effects of the drug, supposedly, are liberating and freedom-inspiring. New associations pop into the head's mind. The arbitrary "mind-forged manacles" are shattered. Conventional linkages enforced and reinforced from birth appear as only one among a vast series of equally viable alternatives. The marijuana user questions the ultimate rightness and wrongness of society's mores. His world, it is said, expands. He is suddenly in awe of the multiplicity of new possibilities. He emerges from a tunnel into a teeming jungle dense with potential. Blinders are removed. He finds himself doing and feeling what he had once rejected, and scorning what he had never even questioned before. His mind is overwhelmed by demons, strumpets, and wizards previously altogether excluded from his workaday world. His ability to take on new roles, consider fresh alternatives, and carry out novel ideas, seems inexplicably expanded. Or so the claim goes. 
    Is this a consequence of the drug? Or the subculture of marijuana smokers? Is it something that occurs because its participants think that it occurs? Does it occur at all? Is it, like many other beliefs about marijuana, pure myth? Myth or not, it is believed; it is part of the smoker's folklore.
    There is, moreover, an ancient lineage; one of the most engaging statements of marijuana's powers comes not from a contemporary figure, but from the American poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, whose wholesome non-head life spanned almost the entire last century. In a poem, "The Haschish," Whittier dramatized the capacity of cannabis to allow—even force—man to step out of the habitual into the novel:
The Mollah and the Christian dog,
Change places in mad metempsychosis;
The Muezzin climbs the synagogue;
The Rabbi shakes his beard at Moses!
...
The robber offers alms, the saint
Drinks Tokay and blasphemes the Prophet.
...
The preacher eats, and straight appears
His Bible in a new translation.[24]
    What was suggested a hundred years ago is today a dominant theme.
    Yet we must underscore the ideological nature of this claim. If, indeed, such a process occurs at all, our reading of it is totally determined by our present political position. To a conservative, any agent which causes its users to question the foundations of society as it is presently constituted is pernicious, undesirable, and should be banned. To the critically minded radical who wishes to reform society, such an agent is for the good. It is impossible to settle the dispute rationally, since the values on which it is based are totally within the zone of the nonrational. Since most marijuana smokers are either politically liberal or radical, they naturally would see this property of the drug as being wholly desirable. And since most of marijuana's staunchest opponents could be labeled politically conservative, their opposition to this is predictable.
    The smokers themselves look at this effect in more positive terms. Although no mention was made of using marijuana because it had the effect of releasing one's inhibitions, it was nonetheless seen as a beneficial result of smoking the weed. One of our interviewees describe this aspect of the marijuana high:
I'm more honest, open, more willing to let go, and admit to others my feelings that they might interpret negatively. Time, the phenomenon, the feeling of time passing, of growing old, disappears, and I feel less depressed. Worrying about time and me getting older, disappears. Time becomes more relative; I'm not as worried about time. I feel as if I control my universe. I feel as if every beautiful thing I want is right here in my room, and I don't have to go outside to get it. I see beauty in myself, how sensitive I am. I can become a fantastic creature, like a fairy. I can see into truths and look for and find the answer to them. Marijuana takes away fear and shyness. You can say what you think and not worry about how the other person will respond. I can see causes of my problems and can decide how to change things. There's nothing to fear. This is what you learn on pot.
Twenty-eight-year-old songwriter, female     

    What can we make of the claim that marijuana releases inhibitions? In part, it depends on our image of man. If it is basically demono-Freudian, we will fear the uninhibited man, for we will see the superego protecting man and society from man's savage, destructive, animalistic inner being. This model, as we saw, guided so many marijuana horror stories from the 1930s. "An eighteen-year-old boy, from a respected family in a Midwestern city, smoked two reefers and an hour later choked his sweetheart to death because she refused his shocking, lustful advances born in a marijuana-crazed brain."[25] Needless to say, although this floridly paranoid version of the effect of marijuana is not taken as seriously as it was in the 1930s, some residue of fear as to the outcome of releasing man's inhibitions remains. If we look upon society's restraining institutions as necessary, beneficial, and for the commonweal, then any agent which weakens man's grasp on them is suspect. If, on the other hand, we see civilization as repressive of man's true instincts—healthy, robust, vital, thick with wholesome sweat and whoops of unrestrained desire—we can only applaud an agent that is reputed to liberate man from his social bonds.
    My position fits neither of these assumptions. Civilization cannot be equated with repression—or protection. Man is civilization, his inner being included. One layer stripped off reveals only other layers, onion-like, into infinity. No one layer is any more basic or genuine than any other. If man really wishes to sleep with his mother—or his sister—it is something that he has learned. If, under the influence of marijuana, his sense of sexual urgency is unbearably importunate, we must point out that sexual desire, too, is a learned response.[26] Our feeling about the "possibility increase" effect of cannabis is that what man may do when under the influence of this drug will be neither outstandingly destructive nor noble. It will be much like what he does normally. Their essential character may change somewhat—more whimsical, less practical, perhaps more sensuous, but not a world apart. If man will be somewhat more likely to do what he wants to do—whatever that may mean—we need have no fear that he is going to destroy civilization. At least, not any more so than normally; man may very well do that without the aid of drugs.
    In contemporary existentialist terms, "bad faith" is the illusion that the possibilities presented to the individual by society are necessities. It is falling dupe to the lie that the restrictions placed upon each person are real, legitimate, and binding. By accepting a role which involves only one degree of freedom, man denies the full circle of 360 degrees that is available to him. Most men become "one-dimensional" men, thinking that they cannot possibly act out all of the other dimensions that represent their full human potential. They accept the "fictitious necessity" of restricted possibilities. In a sense, they become alienated from the multiplicity of selves that they might become; they deny the possibility of the many human forms which are actually available to them. They cut themselves off from themselves—the selves they might be, if they were to reject society's restrictions. As Peter Berger once said, sociology studies not only what is, but also what might be. The existentialist philosophers and sociologists, then, wish to explore the limits of human freedom, what man might be.[27] 
    One such fictitious necessity is the ban on drug use. Society presents a single dimension: no use of recreational drugs. The existentialists would say that this is an unnecessary and artificial restriction; man may become a fuller, richer, and multidimensional being by exploring the drug phenomenon. By trying drugs, man probes a fuller set of human possibilities. Taking drugs becomes a philosophical choice, and might be seen as growing out of the same earth as avant-garde art forms, radical politics, unconventional sex, and uncompromising antimilitarism; in each case, a more complex alternative is substituted for the relatively simplistic one that society proffers.
    Another positive quality attributed to the drug by many of its users and supporters is the claim that marijuana has an effect on human empathy. The drug supposedly acts as a kind of catalyst in generating emotional identification with others. This is said to occur both on the microcosmic level—with those whom one is smoking with—as well as on a more panhuman level. It is easier to see how this process might occur within the context of a small, intimate gathering of smokers. The physical act of passing a joint around from one person to another (in contrast, say, to each individual drinking his own glass of liquor), sharing in an activity and a substance that all agree is beneficial, will probably create bonds of identity and affection, even if the drug itself had no effect whatsoever.
    This rapport assumes numerous guises. One form is the assumption that it is possible, under the influence of marijuana, to both identify with and to understand one's alter better. Communication is facilitated. One of our respondents, twenty-eight-year-old female songwriter and ex-schoolteacher, described it: "You can get into the other person's head, identify with his position. You learn to see the other side. Your mental vision becomes super-vision—extrasensory. You pick up 'waves' from the other person."
    Other users will ascribe to the drug a simple positive role in gregariousness. A recent study of seventy-four New York users concerned with the described effect of marijuana, showed that a high proportion (two-thirds) claimed that marijuana "helps a person feel more sociable at a party."[28] Still others will maintain that not only are the barriers to socializing removed, but that "it also suddenly became much more fun." The magic spark of the joy of human companionship seemed spontaneously ignited. Through an inexplicable chemical, psychological or social process, or perhaps as a result of social definitions of this process, marijuana somehow touches off a kind of rapport in individuals that may have been absent before the high. Truman Capote, the novelist, puts it: "Pot makes the most stupid sound amusing—that's the best thing about it. They never turn mean, they laugh at everything, and they turn charming even if they are dull."[29]
    This principle sometimes takes on international overtones:
The American hemp connoisseur can travel to the mountains of Mexico, the deserts of Egypt, and the bush country of Australia. There he can sit down with the natives, and by sharing the pot experience, can establish warm and human communications with them. Certainly anything which so enables human beings to overcome differences ... and communicate as fellow members of the human race cannot be without positive moral value.[30]

    On several weekends during the summer of 1967, several "smokeins" took place at Tompkins Square Park in New York's East Village, where marijuana smoking took place in public on a large scale in front of the police. (There were no arrests at these times.) I was present at two of the smoke-ins, interviewing several of the participants, one of whom described his reactions to the events.
There was, like, a kind of community that developed between everybody there who was smoking, an identity among everybody. I was just standing there, digging the scene, and a cat laid a joint on me. I took a drag and gave it to a PR [Puerto Rican] next to me. He says, "Solid," takes it and hands me a bottle of beer. I mean, you don't gel: that kind of scene without pot, man; it pulls us together.

    The events generated several eulogies in the underground press, and some optimistic predictions of an expanded and widespread public violation of the laws, along with a tolerance by the agencies of formal control, such as the police, who made no arrests. ("By next year will the Good Humor man be selling potsickles?"[31]
    A fantastic extrapolation of this attribution of empathy by the drug's proponents is the claim that it has a kind of pacific effect on users. (Evidence is sometimes presented that marijuana was an ingredient of the Indian peace pipe, which turns out to be historically erroneous.) Since it enhances emotive communication with one's fellow man, the reasoning goes, it must therefore decrease his aggressive tendencies and increase the inhibitions against harming others. The war in Vietnam is said to corroborate this assertion:
The real beauty of pot, as every head knows, is that it turns hostility into friendship, and hate into love, not only between individuals, but even between nations.
    I have seen it with my own eyes at Rest and Recreation centers where both the NLF and the Americans send their boys.... [We] inadvertently ran into our [Viet-Cong] counterparts one evening ... and as both parties were stoned, some curious and warm friendships were formed.... While this melange shared a couple of joints, the Americans were instructed in some of the fine points of Viet-Cong pot use, and in return, the Vietnamese were told about American innovations.... Conversation was warm, the war was not discussed and the friends left each other in an atmosphere of good fellowship.
    When the two sides sit down at the conference table... let's be sure the top brass is serving marijuana tea.[32]

    Whether it actually occurs or not, whether a result of the marijuana itself, or social definitions of the drug, peace and love form essential components of the mythology of marijuana users and their supporters, and are often used to support the argument that the drug is not only harmless, but actually is of benefit to society.
    Some users—certainly a minority, albeit a highly vocal one— claim that marijuana has a contrary revolution-inspiring role. The powerful socializing influence of parents and early peers is said to weaken, and many of the rights and wrongs of childhood are questioned. American politics suddenly sounds sour and badly out of tune. Pot supposedly puts one's mind into a broader ideological arena and, somehow, engenders sympathy for the mistreated, the downtrodden, the suffering, and those contemptuous of the oppressors:
The right-wing connects psychedelic drugs and radical politics: they know where it's at. When the government outlaws dope, it's like the government outlawing fun. Especially in a country where the biggest barrier to building a revolutionary movement is supermarkets.
    Drugs are an inspiration to creativity, and creativity is revolutionary in a plastic, commercial society. Drugs free you from the prison of your mind. Drugs break down conceptual and linear molds, and break down past conditioning. When past conditioning breaks down, personal liberation becomes possible, and the process of personal liberation is the basis of a political revolutionary movement.[33] 
    Smoking pot is a political act, and every smoker is an outlaw. The drug culture is a revolutionary threat to plastiewasp9-5america.[34] 
    Pot is central to the Revolution. It weakens social conditioning and helps create a whole new state of mind. The slogans of the Revolution are going to be: "POT, FREEDOM, LICENCE." The Bolsheviks of the Revolution will be long-haired pot smokers.[35]

    All of these activities and perspectives that marijuana supposedly enhances may be summed up, paradoxically, by one of the antipot arguments which seems to score more points than any of the other weapons in the arsenal: smoking marijuana is an escape from reality. By refuting this argument, potsmokers feel that they have not only neutralized a damaging contention, but have even scored a few points in the drug's favor. Far from seeing the use of marijuana as an escape from reality, the apologists in fact look upon it as one possible means of embracing reality, even more dramatically and soulfully than is possible normally. Art, sex, fun, freedom, human companionship—all form slices of life, and the point is, to make them even larger and more emotionally involving. The argument is that marijuana drives the user into life more intensely, magnifying the emotional significance and enjoyment of the best things that life has to offer. "Pot," says Allen Ginsberg, "is a reality kick."
    It is only a specific kind of reality the antipots accept: marijuana offers an escape from the mechanical, sterile, senseless striving of a nine-to-five world, basically antilife in its steely thrust. Marijuana thankfully, helps to obliterate that version of reality. Potsmokers see this attribute entirely in the drug's favor. In their basically romantic revolt, the ideologists of the marijuana movement wish to glorify one particular mode of living, discrediting another. The fact that the success-oriented, materialistic, middle-class, over-forty generation has labeled its special way of life the total compass of "reality" is of no concern to the members of the drug movement. Their version of reality is very different, a world populated with denizens of a divergent phylum. If The Green Berets is reality, does that make the Yellow Submarineany less real?
    The civil libertarian position on freedom parallels the pot-smoking prolegalization faction's.[36] If, indeed, the argument runs, the medical profession knows relatively little about the effects of marijuana,[37] then what is really being said is that there is no case for the drug's dangers. A case has to be made for the deprivation of liberties.[38] It is impermissible to incarcerate anyone before there is definitive evidence concerning the dangers of a drug. The federal and state statutes were passed long before anything was known about the effects of the drug. From a civil libertarian point of view, a solid case has to be make before an activity is illegalized. And no irrefutable causal connection has been established between the ingestion of marijuana and potential or actual danger to oneself or others, and until that connection has been established, the marijuana statutes are unconstitutional and in violation of essential rights and liberties. The cry that more research is needed before its hazards are known is a transparent admission of the deprivation of fundamental human rights.
    The marijuana user is subject to society's definition of marijuana (since it is illegal, he may be arrested for possessing and using it), but society can safely ignore his definition of the drug. For the user, the law, and society's evaluation of the drug, lack legitimacy. That is, he feels that the law is wrong; he feels that what he is doing is right, and in no way immoral or rightfully subject to control and penalty. Users generally support legalization of marijuana use; 95 percent of my informants supported some form of legalization, and 80 percent wanted to see legalization without any restriction. This lack of legitimacy for the law among its broachers does not, of course, demonstrate that the law is wrong, but when a society's legal apparatus meets widespread opposition, then the basis of the law ought to be re-examined if that society claims to be a just and rational one. It is possible, in fact, that much of what the older generation sees as "lack of respect" for the law among the young and dissident stems from this feeling of outrage that such a harmless (in their eyes) activity should be made criminal. It is an irrefutable fact that among huge segments of the young, the pot laws simply do not make sense. Now, that attitude may be argued, the dangers of pot may be argued, the necessity for the laws may be argued, but the fact that many feel this way cannot be argued.
    In the Oakland study by Blumer and others, this attitude was taken into account at the outset; exhortation against drug use was seen as silly by the user. The original aim of the project was to act as a brake on drug use of the young adults they encountered; this goal was abandoned because of their informants' attitude toward their efforts. They saw them as absurd.
... we found rather early that we were not having any success in developing a form of collective abstinence. It became clear that the youths were well anchored in their drug use and well fortified in their beliefs against all the "dangers" of drug use. From their own experiences and observations they could refute the declaration that the use of harmful drugs usually led to personal or health deterioration; they viewed with contempt the use of opiates and rejected with evidence the claim that the use of harmful drugs led naturally to opiate use. They pointed out that the break-up of home life, with which many of them were very familiar, was due to other factors than the use of drugs; they were able to show that the limitation of their career opportunities came from other conditions than the use of drugs, as such. They met the fear of arrest by developing greater skill and precautions against detection in the use of drugs. Added to these stances was a set of collective beliefs that justified their use of drugs, so that such use resulted in harmless pleasure, increased conviviality, did not lead to violence, could be regulated, did not lead to addiction, and was much less harmful than the use of alcohol, which is socially and openly sanctioned in our society. Parenthetically, we would invite any group of educators, scientists, welfare workers or police officials to try to meet effectively the well-buttressed arguments, based on personal experience and observation that our youthful drug users present in frank, open, and uncowed discussion. In sum, we learned that youthful drug users are just not interested in abstaining from drug use.[39]

    This finding—and I encountered it in my own survey—has not only practical but theoretical interest. Some deviants differ from each other as much as they differ from conventional society. It must be remembered that deviance and deviant are nonevaluative terms from our point of view. Society condemns the deviant, but we are only taking note of society's condemnation, not approving of it—nor disapproving of it. (We may also, as a person, humanist, civil libertarian, conservative, or anything else, approve or disapprove; but for the moment, we are merely observing. Unless we know what is happening, we are not in a position to condemn or praise.) However, many participants in deviant and criminal acts disapprove of what they do. A child molester, for instance, agrees with society's judgment of his act as depraved and immoral—so much that he denies having committed the act for which he was sentenced while condemning other child molesters as depraved and immoral.[40] Thus, an extremely important distinction among various kinds of deviance and crime has to do with the attitudes of the authors of the prohibited activity toward its moral rectitude. Marijuana smokers do not look upon themselves as deviants. Most realize that society at large sees their acts in negative terms. But they do not feel that what they are doing is wrong. They do not agree with society's judgment.
    Many deviant activities generate a mythology that reflects society's condemnation—the fall from grace motif. As Goffman points out, we find it among inmates of mental institutions.[41] Prostitutes explain to the customer how she became corrupted, and took to "the life." I did some interviewing on the Bowery and the same stereotyped themes emerged. Homosexuals who are uneasy about their status will sometimes relate their version of the fall from grace. The essential elements include a normal, or even idyllic, past, an accidental occurrence which, linked with the deviant's fatal flaw, produced the downfall, along with some superficial genuflections at warning the population at large not to tread the same path. There is a need to construct rationales for their failure to live up to society's expectations. These tales are streamlined and simplified; the dissonant elements of the deviant's actual past are eliminated. In fact, the story need not even be true in any respect; what is important about them is that they respond to an expectation by society or the deviant, or both, that there be some sort of rationally understood explanation for the downfall. No one would actually choose to live the life of a moral outcast; myths must be put forth to fill that void of puzzlement. The fabrication need not even be conscious; it is not simply a lie. It is a myth, a folk tale which helps members of a society to adhere to a specific version of the moral universe. It may, in fact, be believed by all participants. These myths are interesting because of the social forces that brought them about.
    During the 1930S, myths about marijuana use abounded. They detailed the downfall of innocent, unsuspecting youths, and their subsequent life of debauchery, a consequence of curiosity about the evil weed. They are propagated even today. However, what is interesting about them—and this marks the crucial difference between marijuana smokers and the deviants just mentioned—is that present users, unlike prostitutes, or winos, never find the need to construct and disseminate the fall from grace. It is attributed to them by antimarijuana crusaders. Since marijuana users do not regard their life as evil, nor the activity as an expression or instrument of their corruption, they do not accept the mythology; its absence reveals the lack of self-condemnation among users. Their view is that either smoking marijuana is a trivial and irrelevant leisure activity, to be enjoyed much like watching the movies, or it is part of a larger, richer, more complex and exciting universe of activities which, thankfully, they were privileged to be initiated into. Very few smokers look upon use of the drug as corruption, a downfall, or a fall from grace.
    Heresy, as we know, is worse than merely sinning. The sinner who is repentant may be forgiven; he who persists in proclaiming that what he has done is not a sin—indeed, who puts forth the claim that it is virtuous—must be consigned to the flames of eternal damnation. If the public and the moral entrepreneurs perceive that a group does not accept the evil of its way, then a corollary or compensatory explanation must be put forth. As Richard Blum, a social psychologist studying drug use, has put it:
For... legislators, responsibility for self-indulgence in drugs must be punished. Others... sometimes speak of the abominable degradation of the addict who, paradoxically a victim of his habit, resists all efforts to correct him. These people deserve, so the lobbyists say, the harshest penalties. The drug "addict". .. in their view has succumbed to temptation has embraced the evil power in drugs, and refuses correction.... The only recourse is further punishment for his wickedness, his demon and himself now being one. Death itself is not ruled out as too high a price for scourging demons—and death is the penalty for drug sales under some statutes. On the other hand, the repentant junkie or acid head is the most welcome of guests.[42]

    This lack of repentance, however, is far more common among potheads than among junkies—and the repentant junkie far more common than the repentant pothead. Part of society's wrath (and outright puzzlement) stems from the lack of willingness on the part of the marijuana subculture to see the other side, from their lack of shame and even their feeling of superiority to the rest of society.

N O T E S

    1. AMA, Council on Mental Health, "Marihuana and Society," The Journal of the American Medical Association 204, No. 13 (Tune 24, 1968): 1182. (back) 
    2. The title of an article published in The Attack, July 1968, p. 13.(back) 
    3. This term was invented by Joel Fort to describe the irrational nature of the antipot propaganda. See, for instance, "A World View of Marijuana: Has the World Gone to Pot?," Journal of Psychedelic Drugs 2, No. 1 (Fall 1968): 5. Dr. Fort also writes of the marijuana "mythogenesis." (back) 
    4. Editors of the Marijuana Newsletter 1, No. 2 (March 15, 1965): 9. (back) 
    5. Many of the drug's opponents agree, but rule that it is irrelevant: Donald B. Louria, The Drug Scene (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968), p. 115:
    ... marihuana's dangers... seem no greater than the documented deleterious effects of alcohol. If the questions before us were a national referendum to decide whether we would use... either alcohol or marihuana, I might personally vote for marihuana— but that is not the question. The question is simply whether we are to add to our alcohol burden another toxicant. (back) 
    6. Edward R. Bloomquist, "Marijuana: Social Benefit or Social Detriment?" California Medicine 106 (May 1967): 352. (back) 
    7. Garnet E. Brennan, "Marijuana Witchhunt," Evergreen Review, June 1968, p. 55. (back) 
    8. Ibid.p. 56. (back) 
    9. Donald B. Louria, "Cool Talk About Hot Drugs," New York Times Magazine, August 6, 1967, p. 51. In his book, The Drug Scene, Louria makes the same point; cf. p. 112. (back) 
    10. David P. Ausubel, Drug Addiction (New York: Random House, 1958), pp. 99-100. (back) 
    11. Richard Brotman and Frederic Suffet, "Marijuana Users' Views of Marijuana Use" (Paper presented at the American Psychopathological Association Annual Meeting, February 1969), p. 13. (back) 
    12. Synesthesia is more common with the more potent psychedelics (hallucinogens). For a technical discussion, see Heinrich Kluver, Mescal and Mechanisms ofHallucination (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966; originally published in 1928), pp. 49-50.(back) 
    13. Terry Southern, "You're too Hip, Baby," included in the collection of stories, Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes (New York: Signet, 1968), pp. 76 77. (back)
    14. The quote is taken from a transcript of a taped interview of one of my respondents; this interview was included as a selection in my reader, Marijuana (New York: Atherton Press, 1969), pp. 52-55, in the chapter on the "Physiological Effects of Marijuana." (back) 
    15. C. Knight Aldrich, "The Effects of a Synthetic Marihuana-like Compound on Musical Talent as Measured by the Seashore Test," Public Health Reports 59 (March 31, 1944):431-433.(back) 
    16. Harris Isbell et al., "Effects of (-)A9 Trans-Tetrahydrocannibinol in Man," Psychopharmacologia 1l (1967): 184-188. (back) 
    17. "The Great Marijuana Hoax: First Manifesto to End the Bringdown," Atlantic Monthly, November 1966, pp. 106-112. (back) 
    18. Ibid., pp. 109-110. The tie-in between aesthetic appreciation and human empathy explored a few pages below is evident in the claim that cannabis enables one to understand the artist's intentions. (back) 
    19. A detailed exploration of the interpenetration of the psychedelic drug thought processes and artistic creativity may be found in Robert E. L. Masters and Jean Houston Psychedelic Art (New York: Grove Press, 1968). Of special interest is the essay by Stanley Krippner, "The Psychedelic Artist," pp. 164-182. (back) 
    20. Timothy Leary has been one of the most prolific proponents of this particular ideological stance. See his collection of essays, The Politics of Ecstasy (New York: Putnam's Sons, 1968), and his "autobiography," High Priest (New York: World, 1968). See also the book of essays edited by his colleague, Ralph Metzner, The Ecstatic Adventure (New York: Macmillan, 1968). (back) 
    21. Statement prepared by an actor, filmmaker, and writer, at the request of the author. Published in Goode, op. cit., pp. 180-183. The writer of this statement wishes, of course, to remain anonymous. (back) 
    22. Donald B. Louria, The Drug Scene, pp. 112-113. (back) 
    23. Ginsberg, op. cit., p. 110. (back) 
    24. From the collection of poems Snowbound and Other Poems, any edition. (back) 
    25. Elmer James Rollings, "Marijuana—The Weed of Woe," leaflet (Wichita, Kans.: Defender Tract Club, n.d. [circa 1938]), p. 5. See also Lionel Calhoun Moise, "Marijuana: Sex-crazing Drug Menace," Physical Culture 77 (February 1937): 18—19, 87—89. (back) 
    26. To debate this point—an essential difference between sociologists and Freudian psychologists—would require an entire volume-length study. For an example of the sociological position on the origin of sexual desire, see William Simon and John H. Gagnon, "Psychosexual Development," Trans-action 6, No. 5 (March 1969): g-17. Needless to say, this position is anathema to orthodox Freudian psychologists. (back) 
    27. Marx's work on alienation, particularly in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, provides the cornerstone to this line of reasoning; nearly all of Sartre's writings are also relevant to these concepts. For some more sociological discussions, see Peter L. Berger, Invitation to Sociology (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1963), Berger and Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1966); Berger, The Sacred Canopy (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1967); Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man (Boston: Beacon, 1964); Ernest Becker, The Birth and Death of Meaning (New York: Free Press, 1962). (back) 
    28. Brotman and Suffet, op. cit., p. 10. (back) 
    29. C. Robert Jennings, "Truman Capote Talks, Talks, Talks," New York, May 13, p.68, p.55. (back) 
    30. Randolfe Wicker, "Odds and Ends," The Marijuana Newsletter 1, No. 2 (March, 1965): 9. (back) 
    31. Howard Smith, "Scenes," The Village Voice, August 3, 1967. (back) 
    32. "Stephen Nemo," Letter to the editor, Avant-Garde no. 2 (March 1968): pp. 9-10. Often the same individuals who report the drug's pacifist-inducing properties will also relate, with sadness, the fact that it does not always work. A recently returned veteran of the Vietnam conflict, a confirmed pothead, describes several "head" colleagues in his company's tank crew: "These guys would start at one end of a village and run over the roofs all the way down to the other end, and crush every man, woman, child, chicken, cat, dog, everything. Dead. Then they'd cross the street and go down over the roofs on the other side.... And when everything stopped moving, they'd take the machine gun.... These cats are, you know different.... These guys turn on, but they've got war in their hearts." See Ken Weaver, "Viper Vision Vietnam" (an anonymous interview), The East Village Other, November 1, 1968, p. 17. (back) 
    33. Jerry Rubin, "The Yippies Are Going to Chicago, The Realist, September 1968, p. 22. (back) 
    34. Rubin, "An Emergency Letter to My Brothers and Sisters in the Movement," The New York Review, February 13, 1969, p. 27. (back) 
    35. Jerry Rubin, quoted in Peter Schjeldahl, "Thoughts of Chairman Jerry," Avant-Garde, No. 7 (March 1969): p. 33. (back) 
    36. The following remarks are based on Prof. J. W. Spellman's talk given at the "New Worlds" Drug Symposium at the State University of New York at Buffalo, February 28, 1969; Spellman is a Canadian professor of Asian Studies. (back) 
    37. See, for instance, Sylvan Fox, "Marijuana Still a Mystery to Scientists," The New York Times, February 2, 1969, pp. 1, 58, for an exploration of the extent of disagreement and lack of knowledge among scientists concerning marijuana's effects, both long-and short-term. (back) 
    38. Michael Town, a law student, has argued precisely along these lines: the state must "show a compelling interest" in the "infringement of the individual's rights" regarding marijuana possession. The burden of proof as to the drug's dangers rests with the state, and as yet no adequate defense of the deprivation of liberties has been submitted. See Michael A. Town, "The California Marijuana Possession Statute: An Infringement on the Right of Privacy or Other Peripheral Constitutional Rights?"The Hastings Law Journal 19, No. 3 (March 1968): 758-782. See also, Joseph S. Oteri and Harvey A. Silverglate, "The Pursuit of Pleasure: Constitutional Dimensions of the Marihuana Problem," Suffolk University Law Review 3, No. 1 (Fall 1968): 55-80; John R. Phillips, "Free Exercise: Religion Goes to Pot,' California Law Review56, No. 1 (January 1968): 100-115. (back) 
    39. Herbert Blumer et al., The World of Youthful Drug Use (Berkeley: University of California, School of Criminology, January 1967), p. ii. (back) 
    40. Charles H. McCaghy, "Child Molesters: A Study of their Careers as Deviants," in Marshall B. Clinard and Richard Quinney, eds., Criminal Behavior Systems: A Typology (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967), pp. 75-88.
    41. Erving Goffman, Asylums (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1961), pp. 150-151.
    42. Richard Blum et al., Society and Drugs (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969), p.328. 
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