Blog Post

The Shafer Cannabis Report

When Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970 it created a series of “schedules,” classifying drugs by the dangers they supposedly posed. Marijuana was placed on Schedule 1, the category for harmful drugs with no medical use Congresspersons who knew that marijuana was relatively safe and had medical potential punted the scheduling decision by creating a commission that would conduct a thorough study and “aid in determining the appropriate disposition of this question in the future.” Although the CSA left scheduling decisions up to the Attorney General rather than the Surgeon General, it was assumed—foolishly— that the findings of the new commission would result in marijuana being rescheduled to a drug that was not in the same class as heroin and cocaine.

In declassified tapes of the Nixon White House then President Nixon can be heard ordering the head of the commission, Ex Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer, to publish a report that showed Marijuana was equally as dangerous as Heroin and Cocaine with no societal or medical benefits.

After exhaustive research the report was turned over to Nixon and it showed the exact opposite of what the President ordered. In quoting from the report “No significant physical, biochemical, or mental abnormalities could be attributed solely to marihuana smoking… No valid stereotype of a marihuana user or non-user can be drawn… Young people who choose to experiment with marihuana are fundamentally the same people, socially and psychologically, as those who use alcohol and tobacco… No verification is found of a causal relationship between marihuana use and subsequent heroin use…. Most users, young and old, demonstrate an average or above-average degree of social functioning, academic achievement, and job performance…

“The weight of the evidence is that marihuana does not cause violent or aggressive behavior; if anything marihuana serves to inhibit the expression of such behavior… Marihuana is not generally viewed by participants in the criminal justice community as a major contributing influence in the commission of delinquent or criminal acts… Neither the marihuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety… Research has not yet proven that marihuana use significantly impairs driving ability or performance…

“No reliable evidence exists indicating that marihuana causes genetic defects in man… Marihuana’s relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.”

When presented with the report President Nixon tossed it in the garbage!