MJ4IL - Marijuana for Illinois

The Shafer Report

The Shafer Commission was actually named the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. The Shafer Report was actually entitled "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding" (1972). They have both been called this for 45 years because the chairman of the commission was former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer.

This is an incredibly important in report. The commissioners are governors, senators, representatives, M.D.'s and Ph.D.'s, with an incredible number of highly qualified researchers. Every argument you have heard about marijuana was anticipated by them and answered 45 years ago.

When the Controlled Substances Act was passed, President Nixon appointed the Shafer Commission to recommend which drugs should be included. The Shafer Commission recommended that marijuana should be decriminalized for personal possession and private use. Nixon overruled the Shafer Commission because he wanted to use marijuana as an excuse to send the police after anti-war protesters.

You want to know what this was really all about?” Nixon aid John Ehrlichman told journalist Dan Baum in 1994, according to an article published in Harper's Magazine in 2016. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

"The Science behind the DEA's Long War on Marijuana"
By David Downs on April 19, 2016
Scientific American

The reason the Shafer Commission favored "decriminalization" over "regulation" is because in 1972 they did not know if marijuana was merely a passing fad. They did not want to make marijuana permanent by institutionalizing taxation and distribution. But in 2018 it is safe to say marijuana is here to stay, and therefore, using their logic, the Shafer Commission would recommend "regulation" today; meaning creating regulated distribution and taxation.

Because the Shafer report was published long before the invention of the personal computer, we cannot find one really great way to read it. So we are offering the following four options.

  1. This is a PDF file of a scanned copy of the original report from the NIH Library. You can download it and read it off-line at your convenience. It has all the scribbles and underlines of any library book that was checked out by many users over many years. Also, we know whoever scanned it missed pages 144 and 145 from the crucial Chapter V. Note, the file is about 17MB.
    "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding"
  2. This is a cleaner scanned copy of the original report from the Hathi Trust, but it can only be read online.
    "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding"
  3. This is a very good transcript in HTML format. We compared this transcript to the crucial Chapter V, word for word, and did not find a transcription error. Quite the contrary, when a typo appeared in the original report, that typo was repeated in this transcript. Granted, we did not scrutinize the other chapters to that degree, but we think it is reasonable to believe this is a very good transcript. Of course, should you wish to quote the transcript, you should compare the quote to the original report.
    "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding"
  4. Here is a list of libraries in our area that should have the Shafer report available. If the library is some distance away from where you are, you'll probably want to call them first.

Illinois State University, Milner Library, Normal, IL 61761

Bradley University, Peoria, IL 61625

Western Illinois University, Malpass Library, Macomb, IL 61455

Purdue University Library, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Chicago State University, Chicago, IL 60628

Elmhurst College, A.C. Buehler Library, Elmhurst, IL 60126


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