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DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN MAINE - EVALUATION, 1978

NCJ Number
64890
Author(s)
ANON
Date Published
1979
Length
8 pages
Annotation
THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN MAINE WAS EXAMINED IN RELATION TO MARIJUANA USE, REASONS FOR NOT USING MARIJUANA, AND PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARD MARIJUANA LAWS.
Abstract
IN 1975, MAINE BECAME THE THIRD STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO DECRIMINALIZE THE PERSONAL POSSESSION OF SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA. A 1978 SURVEY TO DETERMINE THE IMPACT OF DECRIMINALIZATION INVOLVED 831 ADULTS AND 1,036 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. ADULTS WERE RANDOMLY SELECTED FROM VOTING LISTS IN 25 TOWNS AND CITIES, WHILE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WERE RANDOMLY CHOSEN FROM 10 SCHOOLS. ACCORDING TO RESULTS, ALMOST 240,000 PERSONS AGED 13 YEARS AND OLDER HAD TRIED MARIJUANA. MORE THAN 136,000 PERSONS IN THIS AGE GROUP USED MARIJUANA ON A REGULAR BASIS (ONE OR MORE PER MONTH). OF ADULTS AGED 18 YEARS AND UP, 26.6 PERCENT (194,000 PERSONS) HAD TRIED MARIJUANA AND 14 PERCENT (102,000 PERSONS) USED IT REGULARLY. PEOPLE IN SMALL TOWNS OR WHO HAD NOT BEEN TO COLLEGE WERE SOMEWHAT LESS LIKELY TO HAVE TRIED MARIJUANA THAN LARGE CITY AND COLLEGE GRADUATE COUNTERPARTS. MORE ADULT MEN THAN WOMEN HAD TRIED MARIJUANA. AMONG PUBLIC HIGH STUDENTS, DAILY MARIJUANA USERS OUTNUMBERED DAILY ALCOHOL USERS BY A FOUR-TO-ONE RATIO. ALMOST HALF OF THE ADULT USERS REPORTED THEY HAD DECREASED THEIR MARIJUANA INTAKE SINCE THE DECRIMINALIZATION LAW TOOK EFFECT. MANY MORE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS THAN ADULTS INCREASED THEIR USE. THE CHANGE FROM CRIMINAL TO CIVIL PENALTIES, HOWEVER, DID NOT CAUSE A TREMENDOUS INCREASE IN MARIJUANA USE BY EITHER ADULTS OR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FACTOR INFLUENCING MARIJUANA USE WAS AGE; 70 PERCENT OF PERSONS BETWEEN 18 AND 30 YEARS HAD TRIED MARIJUANA AND 42 PERCENT USED IT REGULARLY. THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON FOR NOT USING MARIJUANA WAS LACK OF INTEREST OR NEED. OTHER REASONS CONCERNED HEALTH AND FEAR OF ARREST OR LEGAL PROSECUTION. PUBLIC ATTITUDES INDICATED THAT MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION HAD LITTLE OR NO EFFECT ON MAINE RESIDENTS. WHEN QUESTIONED ABOUT ALTERNATIVE METHODS FOR CONTROLLING MARIJUANA, MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS OF THE ADULTS SAID THEY WOULD LIKE TO LEGALIZE THE SALE OR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA OR KEEP THE EXISTING LAW. MOST HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FAVORED LEGALIZING THE SALE OR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA OR THE EXISTING LAW. SUPPORTING DATA ARE TABULATED. (DEP)