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April 14, 1975

The Marihuana Conviction: A History of Marihuana Prohibition in the United States

Author Affiliations

Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis


by Richard J. Bonnie and Charles H. Whitebread II, 368 pp, with illus, $12.50, Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1974.

JAMA. 1975;232(2):194. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250020060037

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This book by two professors at the University of Virginia School of Law is described on its dust jacket as "the first full-scale history of marihuana use and prohibition in the United States." This may be a bit of publisher's hyperbole, but the authors do present a comprehensive and objective treatise on the subject.

As befits their training and background, their approach is basically sociocultural. They trace the evolution of marihuana use in the United States during this century, describe society's reaction to introduction of this agent, and examine the impact of this reaction on subsequent legislation. They also examine the more recent contributions from the scientific community and try to assess their effects on public policy. They conclude that governmental policy concerning psychoactive drugs in general, and marihuana in particular, is chiefly the result of political, economic and cultural factors; science and philosophy, in their view, have exerted little