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Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

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  • Jeffrey DeSimone

    (Yale University)

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    Abstract

    Although many cocaine users initiated marijuana prior to cocaine, no formal evidence exists that marijuana consumption causes, or is a gateway to, cocaine consumption. This paper employs a two-stage instrumental variable procedure to estimate a structural effect of past marijuana demand on current cocaine demand using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Extensive specification testing verifies that the instruments for marijuana demand, consisting of two state-level marijuana penalty variables, the state beer tax and an indicator of parental alcoholism, have sufficient explanatory power for marijuana demand and have no separate impact on cocaine demand. Results provide strong support for the gateway hypothesis, indicating that marijuana use in 1984 increases the probability of cocaine use in 1988 by 29 percentage points for respondents who have never used cocaine by 1984. The implication is that cocaine use can be more effectively deterred by redirecting some enforcement resources from cocaine to marijuana.

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    File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume24/V24N2P149_164.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 24 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
    Pages: 149-164

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    Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:24:y:1998:i:2:p:149-164

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Marijuana Legalization Pros and Cons
      by noreply@blogger.com (Christopher) in Capitalist Shrugged on 2010-04-21 01:37:00
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    Cited by:
    1. Moreno-Sanchez, Rocio & Kraybill, David S. & Thompson, Stanley R., 2003. "An Econometric Analysis of Coca Eradication Policy in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 375-383, February.
    2. Jeffrey DeSimone, 1999. "The Relationship Between Marijuana Prices at Different Market Levels," Working Papers, East Carolina University, Department of Economics 9915, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
    3. Hans Olav Melberg & Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen & Andrew M. Jones, 2007. "Is cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York 07/01, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    4. Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Patrick M. O’Malley & Lloyd D. Johnston & Matthew C. Farrelly, 2001. "Marijuana and Youth," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, 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.
    5. van Ours, Jan C., 2003. "Is cannabis a stepping-stone for cocaine?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 539-554, July.
    6. Dhaval Dave, 2004. "Illicit Drug Use Among Arrestees and Drug Prices," NBER Working Papers 10648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Bretteville-Jensen, Anne Line & Jacobi, Liana, 2008. "Climbing the Drug Staircase: A Bayesian Analysis of the Initiation of Hard Drug Use," IZA Discussion Papers 3879, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. DiNardo, John & Lemieux, Thomas, 2001. "Alcohol, marijuana, and American youth: the unintended consequences of government regulation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 991-1010, November.
    9. Horowitz, Joel L., 2000. "Should the Dea's Stride Data Be Used for Economic Analyses of Markets for Illegal Drugs?," Working Papers, University of Iowa, Department of Economics 00-02, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
    10. Kuziemko, Ilyana & Levitt, Steven D., 2004. "An empirical analysis of imprisoning drug offenders," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2043-2066, August.
    11. repec:ese:iserwp:2011-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Duarte, Rosa & Escario, Jose Julian & Molina, Jose Alberto, 2006. "Marijuana consumption and school failure among Spanish students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 472-481, October.

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