Responsible Use

Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use
When marijuana is enjoyed responsibly, subjecting users to harsh criminal and civil
penalties provides no public benefit and causes terrible injustices. For reasons of public
safety, public health, economics and justice, the prohibition laws should be repealed to
the extent that they criminalize responsible marijuana use.
By adoption of this statement, the NORML Board of Directors has attempted to define
“responsible cannabis use.”
I. Adults Only
Cannabis consumption is for adults only. It is irresponsible to provide cannabis to
Many things and activities are suitable for young people, but others absolutely are not.
Children do not drive cars, enter into contracts, or marry, and they must not use drugs. As
it is unrealistic to demand lifetime abstinence from cars, contracts and marriage,
however, it is unrealistic to expect lifetime abstinence from all intoxicants, including
alcohol. Rather, our expectation and hope for young people is that they grow up to be
responsible adults. Our obligation to them is to demonstrate what that means.
II. No Driving
The responsible cannabis consumer does not operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous
machinery while impaired by cannabis, nor (like other responsible citizens) while
impaired by any other substance or condition, including some medicines and fatigue.
Although cannabis is said by most experts to be safer than alcohol and many prescription
drugs with motorists, responsible cannabis consumers never operate motor vehicles in an
impaired condition. Public safety demands not only that impaired drivers be taken off the
road, but that objective measures of impairment be developed and used, rather than
chemical testing.
Please visit this page to learn about marijuana legal referrals to help you in case you find yourself in some hot water.
III. Set and Setting
The responsible cannabis user will carefully consider his/her set and setting, regulating
use accordingly.
“Set” refers to the consumer’s values, attitudes, experience and personality, and “setting”
means the consumer’s physical and social circumstances. The responsible cannabis
consumer will be vigilant as to conditions — time, place, mood, etc. — and does not
hesitate to say “no” when those conditions are not conducive to a safe, pleasant and/or
productive experience.
IV. Resist Abuse
Use of cannabis, to the extent that it impairs health, personal development or
achievement, is abuse, to be resisted by responsible cannabis users.
Abuse means harm. Some cannabis use is harmful; most is not. That which is harmful
should be discouraged; that which is not need not be.
Wars have been waged in the name of eradicating “drug abuse”, but instead of focusing
on abuse, enforcement measures have been diluted by targeting all drug use, whether
abusive or not. If marijuana abuse is to be targeted, it is essential that clear standards be
developed to identify it.
V. Respect Rights of Others
The responsible cannabis user does not violate the rights of others, observes accepted
standards of courtesy and public propriety, and respects the preferences of those who
wish to avoid cannabis entirely.
Be sure to check out our Cannabis Links page to find other related sites on the web about this topic.