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THCs and their Metabolites 189
n without viewing the action; a
musical crescendo and a fadeout tell us as much as an explicit rendition about what
actually happened. (Sexual explicitness, however, is coming into style. All this means is
that different cryptograms are utilized.) By examining the marijuana controversy as such a
cultural fragment, we are able to see with crystal clarity the humanly fabricated nature of
the issues and the ideological character of the arguments invoked.
It is the sociologist's job to discover and explicate patterns in social life. One side of a
protracted and apparently insoluble controversy activates arguments that involve such
putatively repugnant components as "socially irresponsible," "vagabond existence,"
"outlandish fashions," "long hair," "lack of cleanliness," and "disdain for conventional
values."25 The other side emphasizes factors that it deems beneficial: "discovery,"
"optical and aural aesthetic perceptions," "self-awareness," "insight," and "minute
engagement."26 So we are led to the conclusion that the controversy is a matter of taste
and style of life, that it revolves about basically unanswerable issues, and its adjudication
will take place on the basis of power and legitimacy, not on the basis of scientific truth. In
fact, given the nature of the disputation, it is difficult to know exactly what is meant by
scientific truth. The problem becomes one of getting support for one or another bias,
rather than the empirical testing of specific propositions, whatever that might entail.
The American Medical Association urges educational programs as an effective
"deterrent" to marijuana use.27 It is not, however, the sheer accumulation of information
about marijuana which the AMA is referring to, since the marijuana user knows more than
the average nonuser about the effects of the drug. Attitudes toward the drug are referred
to, not factual information:
... district officials are so fired up, they'd interrupt the routine of the whole
district just to make sure our kids hear a good speaker or see a movie that
will teach them the basic fact: stay away from drugs.
In order to know exactly what it is that they should stay away from
students must know the nature of drugs... they're provided with basic facts.
These facts aren't given "objectively"—they're slanted, so there's not the
slightest doubt that students understand just how dangerous drugs can be.
You can call it brainwashing if you want to. We don't care what you call
it—as long as these youngsters get the point.28
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The Marijuana Smokers - Chapter 3
Not only is the "meaning in the response," but both meaning and response are
structured by power and legitimacy hierarchies. Society calls upon certain status
occupants to verify what we wish to hear. These statuses are protective in nature,
especially designated to respond to certain issues in a predetermined manner. Threats to
society's security must be d
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