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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 10. 1969.

[introduction]

"facts ... that only fail to surprise and shock me now as much as they ought because they are so familiar: the relative harmlessness of cannabis and its illegality." Alistair MacIntyre. New Society. Dec. 5, 1968.

"sooner or later pot smoking will be legalised in Britain." Editorial. New Society. Dec. 5, 1968.

"Marihuana in itself is relatively harmless. The effect of taking it to excess is much less drastic than is the effect of taking alcohol." Editorial. The Dominion. Jan. 10, 1969.

The above quotations illustrate the current interest in marihuana, the increasingly widespread belief in its 'relative harmlessness', and the development of a more permissive attitude towards its use. John Lennon, Peter Sellers and Mick Jagger, amongst other celebrities, are apparently enjoying, or have enjoyed, smoking pot. The publicity given to these activities, and the favourable reports that cabinet ministers and M.P.'s. at least in Britain, may be getting from their children and grandchildren, will all facilitate general acceptance.

In this article I will say something about drug dependence generally, and will then discuss the effects of marihuana specifically—both the immediate short term reactions, and the longer term, less clearly defined effects.