The 1944 Laguardia Report is the focus of this, the third part of our discussion on what scientific studies have to say about marijuana and its effects on the general public — and whether or not the drug should be legalized for medical or recreational use. The Laguardia Report was a direct consequence to years of misinformation endorsed by Federal Bureau of Narcotics overlord Harry J. Anslinger, who did lasting damage to the legacy of pot.
The new report was commissioned by New York City’s Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and was ultimately endorsed by the New York Academy of Medicine.
The report concluded: “Marijuana, like alcohol, does not alter the basic personality. Marijuana does not of itself give rise to antisocial behavior. There is no evidence to suggest that the continued use of marijuana is a stepping stone to the use of opiates. Prolonged use of the drug does not lead to physical, mental, or moral degeneration, nor have we observed any permanent deleterious effects from its continued use. Quite the contrary, marijuana and its derivatives and allied synthetics have potentially valuable therapeutic applications which merit future investigation.”
Keep in mind, this was all long before Reagan’s War on Drugs. The report also helps debunk the popular “gateway drug” theory, which might be more aptly applied to caffeine by those with a brain.
The commission reached many conclusions about marijuana. These include that the drug was used extensively in Manhattan, but perhaps not as often as was the case in other states. The report also mentioned that the price of the drug was low, which made it of particular interest to those living in poverty.
More importantly, the study concluded that marijuana did not lead to physical dependence (medically; we all know we can become addicted to our afternoon snack or anything else). Another conclusion? Marijuana was not a factor in major crimes in the city, making it a safer drug to society than similar drugs like alcohol.