Smoke Signals and Mixed Messages: Medical Marijuana & Drug Policy Signalling Effects
AbstractLiberal drug policy reform is often criticized for 'sending the wrong message', particularly to youth. Reform opponents argue that liberal policies such as decriminalisation and medical marijuana laws will cause marijuana to be perceived as less risky and lead to an increase in use. We seek to test this claim empirically, exploiting the timing and unique properties of state level medical marijuana laws in the US to isolate policy signalling effects. We use survey-derived state-level estimates of youths' marijuana risk-perceptions and use prevalence, and find evidence of signalling effects on aggregate risk-perceptions of marijuana use that correspond to the introduction of medical marijuana laws. These effects, however, do not conform to what reform opponents predict - medical marijuana provisions appear to send the 'right' message. Further, we find no robust effects on non-medical marijuana use.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 272.
Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: 12 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Medical marijuana; drug policy; ballot initiatives; policy signalling;
Other versions of this item:
- Niko de Silva & Benno Torgler, 2011. "Smoke Signals and Mixed Messages: Medical Marijuana & Drug Policy Signalling Effects," CREMA Working Paper Series 2011-18, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
- K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-10-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-HEA-2011-10-15 (Health Economics)
- NEP-IUE-2011-10-15 (Informal & Underground Economics)
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