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A Medical School professor has termed the recent report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse "less than half a loaf" in a critique written for the National Organization for Rationalization of Marihuana Laws (NORML).
Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor of Psychiatry and author of Marihuana Reconsidered, said yesterday that he wrote the critique because the report "destroys myths but also creates a few of its own."
In his critique, Grinspoon says that "the only way I can reconcile some of the inconsistencies in the report is to believe that its policy recommendations derive not solely from medical, psychological, and social consideration, but as well from the political reality."
Grinspoon, who has spent five years researching 'marihuana, said yesterday the report might help people understand that the drug is not addictive. Eighty per cent of the nation last year believed it was, according to the Congressional Record.
But, Grinspoon said, "the Commission's view that marihuana is a fad strikes me as more an expression of wishful thinking than empirical reality."
The Commission recommended that legal penalties which now forbid personal, private use of marihuana be dropped. It also urged that it remain illegal to smoke marijuana in public, grow it, or sell it for profit.
Grinspoon questioned the effectiveness of such measures. "The Commission, in protecting the user and going after the seller, apparently assumes that these are two non-overlapping groups of people: they are not; almost all sellers use, and many users sell," he said.
While the Commission described possible physical damage to heavy users, Grinspoon said it fails to support its claims with empirical data. He also warned that the report's recommendation of tightened border surveillance and a crackdown on domestic production of marihuana might lead people to harder drugs.
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