Since the 1970s, more than a dozen government-appointed commissions have examined the effects of marijuana, and made public policy recommendations regarding its use. Overwhelmingly, the conclusions of these expert panels have been the same: marijuana prohibition causes more social damage than marijuana use, and the possession of marijuana for personal use should no longer be a criminal offense.
In addition, these studies have also affirmed that liberalizing marijuana penalties does not lead to an increase in marijuana consumption or affect adolescent attitudes toward drug use.
Disturbingly, these findings have typically fallen upon deaf ears, often being dismissed by the very governments that appointed them. Taken together, however, they exemplify the consensus that exists among the scientific community in support of liberalizing the legal status of marijuana. A review of some of this literature is available online below.