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NCJ Number: 67571 Find in a Library
Title: MARIJUANA IN MARACAIBO
Project Director: LA DECASTO
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 278
Format: Document
Language: Spanish
Country: Venezuela
Annotation: A GROUP OF VENEZUELAN CRIMINOLOGISTS CHOSE MARIHUANA AS THE FIRST DRUG TO BE INVESTIGATED IN A COMPREHENSIVE SURVEY OF DRUG USE IN VENEZUELA BECAUSE OF THIS DRUG'S WIDESPREAD USE AND ITS CONTROVERSIAL PUBLICITY.
Abstract: MARACAIBO, THE RECOGNIZED CENTER OF VENEZUELA'S MARIHUANA TRAFFICKING BECAUSE OF ITS LOCATION NEAR THE BORDER WITH COLOMBIA (A MAJOR MARIHUANA EXPORTER) WAS CHOSEN AS THE SURVEY LOCALE. THE SURVEY POPULATION CONSISTED OF 2 SAMPLES (1 OF MARIHUANA USERS AND 1 NON-USERS) OF 135 SUBJECTS EACH. BOTH INCLUDED AN EQUAL NUMBER OF MALES AND FEMALES (116 MALES AND 19 FEMALES/EACH). THE MEDIAN AGE OF THE TWO GROUPS WAS 21, AND THEIR MARITAL STATUS WAS PREDOMINANTLY SINGLE (OVER 90 PERCENT IN BOTH GROUPS). THEIR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS WAS PRACTICALLY IDENTICAL (59 PERCENT MIDDLE-CLASS AND 41 PERCENT LOWER CLASS). MORE NONUSERS THAN USERS WERE WORKING. USERS HAD A HIGHER INCIDENCE OF HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS, WHEREAS NONUSERS HAD MORE COLLEGE DROPOUTS IN THEIR NUMBER A REAL CROSS-SECTION OF THE VENEZUELAN POPULATION WAS DIFFICULT TO GUARANTEE BECAUSE OF FEARS OF EXPOSURE AND POLICE PROSECUTION. YET, EAGER TEENAGE PARTICIPANTS ANSWER ALL THE RESEARCHERS' QUESTIONS, AND APPEARED TO FLAUNT INSTEAD OF TRYING TO HIDE THEIR HABIT. THE STATED SURVEY GOALS WERE THE DETERMINATION OF (1) THE EXTENT OF MARIHUANA USE AND DISTRIBUTION AMONG DIFFERENT SOCIOECONOMIC STRATA OF THE POPULATION; (2) EFFECTS OF PSYCHOSOCIAL MECHANISMS, PUBLICITY, AND OFFICIAL CRIMINOLOGICAL POLICIES ON MARIHUANA USE; (3) POSSIBLE CONNECTIONS AMONG USE, REPRESSION, AND STIGMATIZATION OF USERS; (4) DIFFERENCES, IN USERS' AND NONUSERS' ATTITUDES ON ISSUES; AND USERS' CONFORMITY TO DRUG ADDICT STEREOTYPES. NOT SURPRISINGLY, MARIHUANA USERS WERE FOUND TO BE MORE DEFIANT OF AUTHORITY, LESS BOUND BY TRADITIONAL MORAL VALUES, MORE CRITICAL OF EXISTING SOCIAL AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS, AND WITH MORE AMBIVALENT ATTITUDES TOWARD CRIME, THAN NONUSERS. POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES DID NOT SEEM TO BE A DETERMINANT OF USE OR NONUSE OF MARIHUANA. SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS OF USERS DID NOT APPEAR TO BE A FACTOR IN THE PENALIZATION (OR LACK THEREOF) OF MARIJUANA USE, ALTHOUGH LOWER CLASS USERS HAD A SLIGHTLY GREATER CHANCE OF BEING ARRESTED AND PROSECUTED. POT SMOKING WAS FOUND TO BE A GROUP, OR SOCIAL, ACTIVITY (DRUG SUBCULTURE THEORY). A SAMPLE OF 34 POLICE OFFICIALS POLLED ON THEIR PERCEPTION OF THE MARIHUANA PROBLEM AND OF USERS PRODUCED A COMBINED PROFILE OF TYPICAL POT-SMOKERS AS PALE, BLEARY-EYED, LONG-HAIRED, BEARDED YOUTHS, WHO WEAR DARK GLASSES EVEN AT NIGHT AND DRESS IN THE MOST EXTREME TEENAGE FASHION FADS. THEY ARE LISTLESS OR AGGRESSIVE, OFTEN PSYCHOTIC, AND ALWAY HARMFUL TO THEMSELVES AND SOCIETY. PUBLICITY APPEARED TO PROMOTE THE USE OF MARIHUANA BY SIMULTANEOUSLY GLAMORIZING AND STIGMATIZING ITS USERS. OVERALL, THE USE OF MARIHUANA APPEARED TO BE A TYPICAL CAPITALIST PHENOMENON, CAUSED BY THE PSYCHOSOCIAL CONFLICTS INHERENT IN THE SYSTEM (E.G., IT ENCOURAGES INDIVIDUALISM, ON ONE HAND, WHILE ENFORCING CONFORMITY TO ITS VALUES, POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES, AND RULES, ON THE OTHER). MARIHUANA USE PRACTICES EFFECTIVE SOCIAL CONTROL OVER THE MASSES BY NEUTRALIZING A STRONG, POLITICALLY VOLATILE SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION (YOUNG MALES) THROUGH THE SECRET PROMOTION, AND OPEN CONDEMNATION AND REPRESSION, OF DRUG USE. CONTINUED INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION BY SUBMISSIVE WORKERS AND THE SURVIVAL OF THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM ARE THUS ENSURED. TABULAR DATA ARE PROVIDED IN THE TEXT, AND AN EXTENSIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY IS APPENDED. --IN SPANISH.
Index Term(s): Marijuana; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Social conditions; Social control theory; Surveys; Venezuela
Note: SERIE INVESTIGACIONES - INSTITUTO DE CRIMINOLOGIA
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