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This is a federal case a weekly show that takes up an issue of government and takes a good look in Washington D.C. I'm an still producer for the national educational radio network. No one knows the exact number we think that maybe there's a million or so or two million young people who have that say smoked marijuana once or maybe twice a lesser number who. Smoke it quite frequently and still a lesser number who have bitch when they use marijuana. Well when you ask the question of a group of well it's usually students. Have you ever try. Then you get a rather high figure and the figure changes almost from month to month because there is a definite growing
use of marijuana. But let's say that there are 12 million people who would answer yes to the question Have you ever tried marijuana. The first man you heard the one who said probably one or two million may have smoked marijuana was Richard Kleindienst the deputy attorney general of the United States under John Mitchell. The second man who estimated maybe 12 million who tried it was a doctor Cohen head of the narcotics addiction and drug control center in Washington. There's an ad you can see on television once in awhile that tells you to write to the National Institute of Mental Health for information on pot. The ad says don't gas about drugs when you can get the facts. The trouble with that ad is that you get different facts from different sources in our government. And those statements you just heard from two men who work for the federal government are a small example of what I mean about who you talk to. Now the trouble with marijuana is that it's a very hot subject right now. It scares people. It
makes old people afraid of their children and it makes young people feel a little superior to their parents. Like the anthropologist Margaret Mead said recently when she testified before Congress in favor of legalizing the drug marijuana widens the generation gap. So you're apt to hear many emotional statements that aren't particularly accurate or scientific even in the federal government. This program is going to demonstrate that Richard Kindy is a man who ran unsuccessfully for the governor of Arizona in 1964. He is a conservative. Earlier this year he instigated a new policy at the Justice Department where he had all the lawyers filling out time sheets on how they spent their last 12 minutes. He thought it was a great idea to promote efficiency. He received a tirade of complaints from lawyers who spend a large proportion of their day doing their time sheets. Just a little while ago this efficiency idea was finally dropped. Now Kleindienst is also responsible for Operation intercept which he will
explain in a minute. When I interviewed him he had not yet changed the name to Operation cooperation. But the reason he changed it was again because of complaints from Mexico as well as from citizens of the United States. Mr Kleindienst is perhaps more emotional on the subject of marijuana and he is factual. Listen you were a lover of mystery CDs head of a taskforce or study group that the president appointed apparently to investigate the effects of marijuana and what can be done about it. What did you find. The taskforce was organized in February shortly after Mr. Nixon was inaugurated president. And we were charged to. Take. Another look at the whole problem of narcotics marijuana and dangerous drugs. What they were really what effects they had on people where they came from. And what could be done to control the traffic in it. And once a
big matter however according to our study with respect to which there was very little information and that was the whole subject matter of marijuana. Consequently we pointed our as our first subcommittee a subcommittee chairman by Doctor US Health Education and Welfare who in our task force report devoted the first section ever to a discussion of marijuana. What was the effect it had on people. The general conclusion of it was that. It has very harmful effects upon those who use it. Particularly in the area of mental health. Be you for. Gain as a result of a dependence upon a tendency to depart from reality to. Not measure up to circumstances as they are. Responsibility can convinced everybody the task force that marijuana
that there was a reason why marijuana was declared illegal in every civilized country in the world. So the next question we ask ourselves and incidentally this taskforce consisted of persons in some seven departments of the executive branch of the government. Debbie adjusters treasury defense you know of Agriculture the many departments that might be involved. So the next question we ask ourselves why was this particular respected marijuana. If it's bad how much of it is coming into this country and where does it come from. We then determined that about 85 percent approximately of the marijuana that's consumed the United States is grown in the country of Mexico. And it was. Illegally smuggled into this country. Either across the border by foot or by automobile by ships boats. And by airplane. So that with that knowledge. The next activity of the task force. Was to determine if there were some things
that could be done by this administration combining the resources of the various departments the government to do something about this. We. Ran across some alarming statistics in the last five years where there's been a hundred fifty two percent increase in seizures of heroin along the Mexican border. There's been a 700 and 80 percent increase in seizures of marijuana. We. Were advised generally that marijuana is being used to one degree or another by high school and college students all over the United States. That the number of persons who are experimenting with it increases day by day and month by month and that it had arrived at a point. Where. It. Was becoming to be a very serious national problem in our country.
Consequently. When we met with officials of the Mexican government in Mexico City in June to discuss this problem. Both countries agreed that something had to be done and that both countries were responsible. My country was responsible in that because of our a flu and we created the demand. And this demand for marijuana particularly had increased the growth of it in that country because of the illicit profits that were derived. So we determined after we submitted our report to the president. To. Take those actions which he felt would be pursuant to the taskforce report do something about it. And starting July 1. We have converted our study task force into an action task force. And have. Begun to do quite a few things. Starting Sunday September 21st we. Inaugurated an intensive surveillance all along the Mexican border some twenty five hundred miles
at every port of entry where every automobile and every person coming across the border for an indefinite period of time. Will be inspected. To see if they are. Bringing in these contraband materials. One of the things that we hope to achieve so far as marijuana is concerned is to stop its coming in the United States. If we interfere with the supply of it. We believe that the price of it will raise dramatically. And that if it is raised dramatically it will be beyond the reach of the ordinary high school student a college student and therefore. Cut down the use of it. We don't think that this will turn students into the use of other drugs because marijuana is not an addictive type of drug. And I'm certain that the young people who are experimenting with marijuana will not want to endanger their health with these dangerous drugs. Whether other tanks he could have taken besides the senior staff. Well they are kind of things. This is going to be a continuing program. What we
hope ultimately to do is to. Have cooperative efforts with the Mexican government. Through. Technical resources from us given there are loaned to them or sold them to enable them to have a meaningful eradication program in their own country. We think the best way to handle this to get at the source of it and turn ourselves into a witch hunt and try to arrest every kid in the United States who might have smoked marijuana. I read that economically it's hurting Mexico. It's not hurting Mexico there's been a slight dislocation on the border. This shouldn't be a situation that's going to last forever because as Mexico goes about the business with our help of eradication that's going to be the essential control of the subject matter and you won't have to have this kind of a program on an indefinite basis. Mexican farmers probably make some money. There has to be a tremendous about of money being earned not so much I would suspect by the farmer but by the organized traffickers edness.
The farmer in Mexico probably gets very little out of it. The real profits of it are probably derived from. From organized criminals who don't really contribute that money back to the society either of Mexico or the United States. Now when you say you're going to get at the source doesn't that mean you have to. See that these Mexican farmers grow something else. Well presumably they were growing something else before and if there's no market for it. If we don't let it come in the United States it won't be the same economic incentive. Are you in favor of more study on the thanks. I think that I'm in favor of more study of everything. The studies however that have been conducted by the United States government by Britain by other civilized countries and by private doctors is almost unanimous in agreement that that marijuana is harmful to the person who uses it. What kind of study was the one you did that show this. Well it was a study that looked upon primary sources of research that had
already existed. In Britain and the United States both in the government and. We didn't do an independent. Analytical quantitative qualitative study of marijuana. We relied upon data files research. Treatises papers you know that had been. Submitted in. By responsible people in the medical profession. It was a well publicized study I guess about three quarters of a year ago now down and at Harvard that said that really no studies other than very preliminary studies have been done on this marijuana. But that study that they conducted showed the immediate effects were not harmful and that indeed people who were high on their want to perform as well as people where I don't believe that that's what that report said. It's one of every every medical report that I've read with respect to it.
Agrees that marijuana is a hallucinogenic. That when someone is under the influence of it they lose their capacity for depth perception. Their ability to relate with respect to both time and their physical circumstances. There is a sense of. Abandonment. That interferes with judgment. That interferes with their ability to choose. To evaluate and think properly to physically. Be adjusted interferes with their ability to drive a car. That it. And depending upon the amount of it you take and the strength that. It can produce some very serious mental health problems. And there's no evidence. Body of literature any place in the world that disagrees with that. I think it's. The only argument here is. What happens to you if you smoke one
cigarette. As opposed to somebody who lives smokes them all the time. I suppose it's like saying you don't get drunk if you take one drink. You know. The only difference between alcohol and marijuana however is that. Leaving aside the alcoholic. Most people who drink socially don't drink it for the purpose of trying to depart from reality. Almost everybody who smokes marijuana does it for that purpose. And that's the harmful aspect of it particularly with young people when times are stressed like bees. And at times when they have to when they should be adjusting to the realities of their life around and this is a crutch or an easy means by which they just avoid the reality of their life that they face and deprives them of the ability to acquire disciplined and personal attitudes and personal behavior to equip them to be useful citizens. Why do you think it's become so popular. Oh. I think. Partly attributed to the Times to our affluence.
Partly because of the fact that it has been readily available. You know very cheaply. I think it's a sad comment on. National life here in this country and around the world but particularly here in this country. You would think at a time when we had relative affluence and prosperity. In a country where 80 percent of the people you know were. Seem to have quite a bit. I'm not talking about the problems of the 20 percent who don't. At a time when we are making greater advances in terms of personal freedoms. I think that. What's happened to so many of our young people however is the fact that they. Haven't had real problems and. They've had too much too easy. The freedoms that have been obtained for them by incredible efforts seem to be meaningless and irrelevant. They don't know the price and. There's a lack of identification with the goals that I think stems from a permissive society and.
I don't like it and I think as a matter of national policy we shouldn't try to encourage it. I hate to think however of our society here in our country 25 years from now. Which had grown up on marijuana. And which at some time or another were confronted with some very hard decisions with respect to the. Defense of our freedoms and our attitude with respect to the. Essential nature of our freedoms and just be un equipped psychologically and emotionally in the standpoint of personal character and discipline to meet those hard decisions. If I was China. Or any communist nation. And wanted to destroy freedom as we know it in this country I can't think of a better way I'd go about it and try to corrupt the youth of this country and turn them into. Dope addicts are. Habitual smokers of marijuana and sought releases from realities the responsibilities of citizenship to this very
easy way. You do think that your program is going to be quite successful in cutting down the use of heroin in this country. I hope it will be all of our plans and study and work is calculated to. Realize that. Now you're going to hear from Dr. Cohen. He's been teaching and doing research for a number of years on drugs and he was one of the early experimenters with LSD in his operation is part of the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. ya's is his boss. Listen to Dr. Cohen tell what he does. I'm director of the division of narcotic addiction and drug abuse at the National Institute of Mental Health. And I suppose I decided to look at the national scene and see what if anything could be done about the drug abuse situation in the country. It has no relationship to Operation intercept that isn't an
Forsman strategy that has little or no relationship to our research and education effort. What the research project. We are supporting a rather considerable amount of marijuana research and this can be divided into two groups. We have a series of contracts to provide basic information about marijuana and we also have some grants that we provide for researchers who wish to do specific studies that are relevant to marijuana. The contract program consists of a very orderly building up of fundamental information about marijuana. We are studying under
contract the effects of the smoking process on marijuana constituents. We have a contract for radio active labeling of the THC molecules so that we can hopefully determine its absorption distribution and metabolism in the body. We're very interested in the effects of marijuana on certain important enzyme systems in the body. The effect upon liver heart and brain for example. We want to know through contract the toxicity of marijuana both acute and chronic. This work of course is done on
animals and we attempt to learn what dosage levels will be toxic to various species of animals. We have under way at least under consideration an effort to do basic human work on the effects physiological and psychological of marijuana. Its studies of this thought and many others that we are supporting by contract. What we're actually doing then is for the first time in the history of marijuana building a basic science of marijuana. Now as to the grant program this varies. Across the entire spectrum of scientific research from psychological studies of the nature of the state to sociologic studies of incidence and
how it is how marijuana use spreads what kinds of people get involved or over involved in marijuana. Much animal work is being done by under the under grants we have in fact a what shall I say a five year plan to answer some of the vital questions about marijuana never becomes a problem. Marijuana use has become many things to many people. It's become a way to defy the establishment. It's become a source of. Enjoyment that is relief from psychological stress relief from feelings of
alienation. It's been. Tried by many simply as a matter of curiosity or from boredom. I feel that a good deal of marijuana use occurs because of the pressure of peer groups. I think that this is a very important factor in the spread of marijuana and it's the end thing let's face it it's the in thing these days and if you haven't tried it you're one down. So these and many other reasons are the answer to your question of why do we have a burgeoning marijuana problem these days. The ones you can liken the it's not about yes and no.
There are there are similarities and differences. The similarities are that they're both dissociating agents or intoxicants. Not that the state is the same but still they do produce changes in awareness alterations of consciousness alterations of ability to function and so forth. A lot depends on dosage as you can imagine. There are differences too in the nature of the state and for example it's my impression that the person under the influence of alcohol might be more aggressive than the person on the influence of marijuana on the other hand the person on the influence of marijuana seems to be able to become paranoid a little more often the person on the influence of alcohol so these in a number of other similarities and differences exist.
But what are some of the possible outcomes. Faces Where is the weather we want in terms of whether we eradicate it in some way. Well my own mind remains open. I would like to see the results of substantial and significant and well performed research in order to answer your question. Namely I would hope that the legal action would follow scientific information not prejudice or bias. Whether it will be found to be harmless. Over the long term I do not know if the film is not there.
The occasional user you see again I have to think of all the qualifications and sub qualifications we do know for example that the first time one gets a marijuana effect may be the most dangerous time for the individual he's not used to the state he's losing control and he may panic or get anxious or paranoid so that in the last issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association there was a series of case reports on people in Vietnam who had been first users and who got into difficulty because they went out of control and became came into a variety of difficulties
so that in that sense even the occasional user just like the person who first gets drunk on alcohol may be poorly equipped to handle it. On the other hand considering the. Amount of. Tetrahydrocannabinol olds in North American pot. The physical complications appear to be relatively negligible. The psychological complications are probably not enormous except that some vulnerable people people might be called borderline people still could have difficulty with it. But this is not frequent at all. Now it should be obvious to anybody who's expecting the Federal Government to suddenly legalize marijuana that this doesn't appear likely in the near future. Dr Cohen is
now to win the support of pot heads. What he is doing however is being reasonable. He is being scientific in his judgments without worrying about the generation gap. He was not afraid to use the word pot for example instead of the carefully pronounced marijuana. And when he talked about the relation of the drug to alcohol he pointed out the similarities as well as the differences. They're both associated agents he said. Only Alcohol brings out aggression and marijuana may bring out paranoia. Mr. Klein teams talked only about the differences between the two. For him alcohol is socially acceptable because people don't use it he says to get high. Dr. Cohen evaluated the reasons for the growing popularity of marijuana. Again very differently from Mr. kindy MST full Kleindienst the evil in this particular permissive and affluent society is that kids don't respect how hard their parents have had to work. But Cohen says smoking pot is a kind of an in thing
A Federal Case
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National Educational Radio Network
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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"A Federal Case" is a weekly program produced by the National Educational Radio Network which examines current political topics in the United States and Washington, D.C. Each episode features interviews with experts, members of the public, and lawmakers concerning a specific issue of government.
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Producing Organization: National Educational Radio Network
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Duration: 00:29:36
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