The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the nation’s oldest and largest interest group dedicated solely to marijuana law reform, has adopted a set of Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use. NORML maintains that when marijuana is enjoyed responsibly, subjecting users to harsh criminal and civil penalties provides no public health benefit and causes terrible injustices. For reasons of public safety, public health, economics, and justice, the prohibition laws should be repealed to the extent that they criminalize responsible marijuana use. The key points to the Principles of Responsible Use are as follows:
# Cannabis consumption is for adults only. Many things and activities are suitable for young people, but others absolutely are not. Children do not drive cars, enter into contracts or marry, and they must not use drugs.
# The responsible cannabis user does not operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery impaired by cannabis. Although cannabis is said by most experts to be safer than alcohol and many prescription drugs with motorists, public safety demands that impaired drivers be taken off the road and that objective measures of impairment be developed and used, rather than chemical testing.
# The responsible cannabis user will carefully consider his/her setting and regulate use accordingly. The responsible cannabis consumer will be vigilant as to conditions — time, place, mood, etc. — and does not hesitate to say “no” when those conditions are not conducive to a safe, pleasant and/or productive experience.
# Use of cannabis, to the extent that it impairs health, personal development or achievement, is abuse and should be resisted by responsible cannabis users. Abuse means harm. Some cannabis use is harmful; most is not. That which is harmful should be discouraged; that which is notneed not be.
# The responsible cannabis user does not violate the rights of others, observes accepted standards of courtesy and public propriety, and respects the preferences of those who wish to avoid cannabis entirely. Regardless of the legal status of cannabis, responsible users will adhere to emerging tobacco smoking protocols in public and private places. For more information on the Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.