A cap u lea. Gold rolling papers and invested the proceeds in marijuana initiatives in several slates. President Nixon packed the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse with officials whose publications seemed opposed to legal reform, but they emphatically recommended decriminalization in 1072. The California Marijuana Initiative was defeated that year, but it garnered 34 percent of the vote statewide and passed in San Francisco, making that the first major city in the world to approve decriminalization of possession and cultivation by majority vote. The tide of public, opinion began to change drastically, only five years after Anslinger predicted no. change was possible.
Things moved quickly after that., Ann Arbor, Michigan, inaugurated five-dollar traffic tickets for possession, A two-vear study of chronic cannabis use in Jamaica was finally released in 1973, showing virtually no ill effects from long-term heavy ganja smoking. Progressive
' "A person undur the influence of marijuana can ¿Li so violent th,il it takes about Fivt policemen to hr>M him dt.wn."
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Oregon legislators took pot possession of less than an ounce out of the criminal code entirely (1973), issuing citations with a maximum $100 fine. NORML and AMORPHIA merged in 1974, and panels of experts toured the states urging reform along the lines established in Oregon.
And then, as if to complete the cirçje that had started in ancient Siberia, marijuana bloomed Alaska with a mighty influx of oil pipeline workers. Fine weed poured in by air and sea, supplemented by homegrown "Matanuska Thunderfuck." Alaska abandoned criminal penalties for possession in 1975 and replaced with a civil fine. A few days later the state supreme court, deciding the case of Irwin Ravin, ruled that adults possessing pot in their homes for personal use were protected by the right of privacy and could not even be subjected to a fine. "It appears that the use of marijuana, as it is in them
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% "To be ¡ust without being mdd (and the madder you get tto madder you get), to be peaceful without being : . stupid, to be interested w-ithciut beinc compulsive, to | be happy wiihoui: being hysterica),.. .'sirstffce.grass."
presently used in the United States today, does not constitute a public health problem of any significant dimension," the court summed up.
And what of the future? Look to the past: the hardy weed has proved its usefulness a thousand limes over, in civilizations of great diversity. Textiles, rope, paper, myriad medical uses and, most of all, the Herb Superb-for fun, for festive occasions, for exploring the realms of mind. A magic plant indeed] The cutting edge of the reform movement is a call for the lights of Neolithic farmers: ''What we want is free, legal, back-yard marijuana.'1 Amnesty for prisoners in dungeons all over the world. From Jamaica to Matanuska, Buffalo to Borneo, let freedom ring.
How many marijuana lovers are there in the vvorjd? In 1855, Johnston's Chemistry of Common Life-the book Fitz Hugh Ludlow consulted for dope lore-estimated not less than 200-300 million souls used hemp, its resin or the "artificial extract.". In 1950; the United Nations guessed the same figure, and surely it has increased since then. Further social and chemical illuminations can be expected. Home isomerizers are already on the market.. There is no stopping this plant: it will accompany us to far-flung galaxies, new universes there to create.
On August 2, 1977-forty years to the day after F.D.R. signed the Marijuana Tax Act-President Jimmy Carter told Congress: "Marijuana continues to be an emotional and controversial issue. After four-decades, efforts to discourage its use with stringent laws have sli]l_ not been successful. ... Therefore, I support legislation to eliminate all Federal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. This will leave the states free to adopt whatever laws they wish concerning the marijuana smoker.'' As he spoke, ten states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio and Oregon) had already effectively decriminalized the weed.
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