skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 65988 Find in a Library
Title: MARIJUANA USE AND THE EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION
Author(s): L D JOHNSTONE
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ASPECTS OF MARIJUANA USE ARE ANALYZED ON THE BASIS OF ANNUAL NATIONWIDE SURVEYS OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AND DECRIMINALIZATION EFFECTS ARE ASSESSED.
Abstract: FUNDED BY THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE, SURVEYS HAVE BEEN MADE EACH YEAR SINCE 1975 OF APPROXIMATELY 17,000 HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS FROM PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. QUESTIONNAIRES ASKED STUDENTS ABOUT THEIR OWN USE OF VARIOUS DRUGS, DRUG AVAILABILITY AND, THEIR ATTITUDES ABOUT DRUGS. THEIR OPINIONS WERE SOUGHT ON THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA AND ON A HOST OF OTHER VALUES, ATTITUDES, AND BEHAVIORS. THE 1979 DATA REVEALED THAT 6 IN EVERY 10 SENIORS HAVE AT LEAST TRIED MARIJUANA; HALF HAD USED IT 12 MONTHS EARLIER, AND OVER A THIRD REPORTED USING IT IN THE MONTH BEFORE THE SURVEY. DAILY USE WAS REPORTED BY 1 PERSON IN 10, CONSUMING BETWEEN 1 AND 6 JOINTS IN A DAY. OF THESE DAILY USERS, 13 PERCENT SMOKED MORE THAN SEVEN JOINTS PER DAY. IT HAS BEEN FOUND THAT A TOTAL OF 60 PERCENT OF DAILY HIGH SCHOOL USERS ARE STILL USING MARIJUANA DAILY 2 YEARS AFTERWARD. NEVERTHELESS, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THIS DECADE, THE 1979 DATA INDICATE THAT MARIJUANA USE AMONG HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IS LEVELING OFF. SIGNIFICANTLY MORE 1979 SENIORS BELIEVED IN THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA USE THAN DID THOSE OF THE PREVIOUS YEAR, BUT THE MAJORITY OF THEIR PEERS STILL FEEL THAT THERE IS LITTLE OR NO RISK INVOLVED. INCREASED MARIJUANA USE HAS NOT DISPLACED ALCOHOL, LED TO THE USE OF OTHER ILLICIT DRUGS, OR INCREASED DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR. SINCE THE MAJORITY OF YOUNGER AGE GROUPS VIEW MARIJUANA USE WITH NORMS SIMILAR TO THOSE OF TRADITIONAL ALCOHOL USE, THE PREVAILING LAW IS OUT OF STEP WITH THE SOCIAL NORMS OF THIS POPULATION SEGMENT. SPECIFICALLY, ONLY A QUARTER OF THE CLASS OF '79 STATED THAT THEY THOUGHT MARIJUANA USE SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE A CRIMINAL OFFENSE, AND 60 PERCENT THOUGHT IT SHOULD EITHER BE DECRININALIZED OR MADE ENTIRELY LEGAL. THE MAJORITY, HOWEVER, DID FEEL THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE PERMISSIBLE IN PUBLIC PLACES, AND THAT LEGAL SALE SHOULD BE LIMITED TO ADULTS. THE MAJORITY OF ALL THE GROUPS SURVEYED INDICATED THAT THEY PERSONALLY WOULD BE LITTLE AFFECTED BY DECRIMINALIZATION OR LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA; ONLY 6 PERCENT SAID THEY WOULD USE IT MORE OFTEN. THE IMPACT OF DECRIMINALIZATION WAS STUDIED DIRECTLY IN STATES WHERE IT SHOULD EITHER BE DECRIMINALIZED OR MADE ENTIRELY LEGAL. THE MAJORITY, HOWEVER, DID FEEL THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE PERMISSIBLE IN PUBLIC PLACES, AND THAT LEGAL SALE SHOULD BE LIMITED TO ADULTS. THE MAJORITY OF ALL THE GROUPS SURVEYED INDICATED THAT THEY PERSONALLY WOULD BE LITTLE AFFECTED BY DECRIMINALIZATION OR LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA; ONLY 6 PERCENT SAID THEY WOULD USE IT MORE OFTEN. THE IMPACT OF DECRIMINALIZATION WAS STUDIED DIRECTLY IN STATES WHERE IT IS IN EFFECT, AND MARIJUANA USE WAS FOUND TO BE EQUAL OR LESS TO THAT OF STATES WHERE IT IS ILLEGAL. EFFECTS OF DECRIMINALIZATION WOULD PROBABLY BE GREATEST AMONG OLDER AGE GROUPS AND ADVERTISING WOULD DEFINITELY IMPACT INCREASED USE. TABULAR DATA ARE PROVIDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Behavior patterns; Decriminalization; Marijuana; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Surveys; Young Adults (18-24)
Note: TESTIMONY DELIVERED AT HEARINGS ON THE EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA HELD BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, US SENATE, 1980 WASHINGTON, DC
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65988

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.