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Risks and Prices: The Role of User Sanctions in Marijuana Markets

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  • Pacula Rosalie Liccardo

    ()
    (RAND)

  • Kilmer Beau

    ()
    (RAND)

  • Grossman Michael

    ()
    (NBER)

  • Chaloupka Frank J

    ()
    (University of Illinois, Chicago)

Abstract

User sanctions influence the legal risk for consumers who engage in illegal drug markets. If a reduction in user sanctions leads to an increase in consumption, drug prices will rise unless supply is perfectly elastic. In equilibrium, a change in consumption associated with decreasing user sanctions could be relatively small if supply is upward sloping. Using a novel dataset with rich transaction-level information, this paper evaluates the impact of recent changes in user sanctions for marijuana on marijuana prices. The results suggest that lower legal risks for users are associated with higher marijuana prices in the short-run, which ceteris paribus, implies an upward sloping supply curve, higher consumption, and higher profits for drug dealers. The findings have important implications for the current policy debates regarding decriminalization of marijuana.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-38

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:11

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  1. Farrelly, Matthew C. & Bray, Jeremy W. & Zarkin, Gary A. & Wendling, Brett W., 2001. "The joint demand for cigarettes and marijuana: evidence from the National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-68, January.
  2. Henry Saffer & Frank Chaloupka, 1995. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," NBER Working Papers 5238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jeff DeSimone & Matthew C. Farrelly, 2003. "Price and Enforcement Effects on Cocaine and Marijuana Demand," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 98-115, January.
  4. Jonathan P. Caulkins, 1997. "Modeling the Domestic Distribution Network for Illicit Drugs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(10), pages 1364-1371, October.
  5. Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Patrick M. O’Malley & Lloyd D. Johnston & Matthew C. Farrelly, 2001. "Marijuana and Youth," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 271-326 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • R. L. Pacula & M. Grossman & F. J. Chaloupka & P. M. O'Malley & L. Johnston & M. C. Farrelly, 2000. "Marijuana and Youth," NBER Working Papers 7703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1979. "A Simple Test for Heteroscedasticity and Random Coefficient Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1287-94, September.
  7. Jenny Williams & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 2001. "Alcohol and Marijuana Use Among College Students: Economic Complements or Substitutes?," NBER Working Papers 8401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Caulkins Jonathan P., 1995. "Domestic Geographic Variation in Illicit Drug Prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 38-56, January.
  9. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Michael Grossman, 2004. "The Economic Theory of Illegal Goods: The Case of Drugs," NBER Working Papers 10976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Waddell, G.R., 2012. "Adolescent drug use and the deterrent effect of school-imposed penalties," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 961-969.
  2. Chu, Yu-Wei Luke, 2014. "The effects of medical marijuana laws on illegal marijuana use," Working Paper Series 3212, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  3. Carlos Casacuberta & Mariana Gerstenblüth & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "Aportes del análisis económico al estudio de las drogas," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0112, Department of Economics - dECON.

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