Washington, DC: Forty years ago tomorrow, on March 22, 1972, the first and to date only Congressional Commission ever to assess marijuana policy called on Congress to amend federal law so that the possession and use of small quantities of cannabis by adults would no longer be a criminal offense.

The Commission, known as the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (aka the Shafer Commission), chaired by former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer, determined that minor marijuana possession offenses — including those involving the not-for-profit transfer of cannabis by adults — should be ‘decriminalized’ under federal law. The Commission recommended that states should similarly eliminate criminal penalties for minor pot offenses.

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