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Drugs policy: what should we do about cannabis?

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  • Stephen Pudney

Abstract

"Public policy has failed to prevent large-scale consumption of cannabis in most developed countries. So what, if anything, should we do to change the policy environment? Cannabis consumption is unambiguously harmful in several ways, but this does not automatically justify the prohibitionist policy dictated by the international drugs conventions. This paper sets out the arguments for policy intervention in the cannabis market and reviews the directions of policy change that have been called for. We argue that existing theoretical insights and empirical evidence give little compelling reason to prefer prohibition to the alternative of legalization of cannabis with harms controlled by regulation and taxation. Given this conclusion and the much wider prevalence of cannabis than of harder drugs, a reasonable way forward is to remove cannabis production and consumption (but not trade) from the current prohibitionist UN drug control treaties, to allow countries to adopt their own policies, thus generating new evidence on the potential impacts of a wider range of policy." Copyright (c) CEPR, CES, MSH, 2010.

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  • Stephen Pudney, 2010. "Drugs policy: what should we do about cannabis?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 165-211, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:25:y:2010:i::p:165-211
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0327.2009.00236.x
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jérôme Adda & Brendon McConnell & Imran Rasul, 2014. "Crime and the Depenalization of Cannabis Possession: Evidence from a Policing Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(5), pages 1130-1202.
    2. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2012. "The effects of cannabis use on physical and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 564-577.
    3. Jan C. van Ours & Jenny Williams, 2011. "Cannabis use and mental health problems," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(7), pages 1137-1156, November.
    4. Hernandez, Monica & Pudney, Stephen, 2011. "What you don't see can't hurt you? Panel data analysis and the dynamics of unobservable factors," ISER Working Paper Series 2011-13, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Williams, J. & van Ours, J.C. & Grossmann, M., 2011. "Why Do Some People Want to Legalize Cannabis Use?," Discussion Paper 2011-007, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. van Ours, J.C., 2011. "The Long and Winding Road to Cannabis Legalization," Discussion Paper 2011-126, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    7. Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen & Jenny Williams, 2011. "Decriminalization and Initiation into Cannabis Use," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1130, The University of Melbourne.
    8. Pudney, Stephen & Bryan, Mark & DelBono, Emilia, 2013. "Licensing and regulation of the cannabis market in England and Wales: Towards a cost-benefit analysis," MPRA Paper 50365, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Jan C. Ours & Jenny Williams, 2015. "Cannabis Use And Its Effects On Health, Education And Labor Market Success," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(5), pages 993-1010, December.
    10. Cervený, J. & van Ours, J.C. & Chomynova, Pavla & Mravcik, Viktor, 2015. "Cannabis Decriminalization and the Age of Onset of Cannabis Use," Discussion Paper 2015-007, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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