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Decriminalization and Initiation into Cannabis Use


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  • Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen
  • Jenny Williams
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    The central question faced by policy makers contemplating decriminalization of cannabis is whether such a move will lead to an increase in use, and if so, by whom and by how much. We address this question by investigating the impact of decriminalization on the decision to start using cannabis. Our analysis is based on individual level information from a general population in Australia. Australia provides an interesting case study for examining this issue because it has decriminalized the use of cannabis in half of its states and territories. In modeling cannabis uptake, we use a discrete-time hazard model and account for unobserved di erences between states that decriminalize and those that do not. We nd that decriminalizing cannabis shifts the age distribution of uptake towards younger age groups while leaving the proportion of those who will start using cannabis unchanged. This suggests that decriminalization e ects when individuals start using cannabis, rather than whether or not they start.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1130.

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    Length: 34 pages
    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1130

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    Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 5th Floor, Economics and Commerce Building, Victoria, 3010, Australia
    Phone: +61 3 8344 5289
    Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
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    Related research

    Keywords: Cannabis use; decriminalization; cannabis policy;

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