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Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey DeSimone

    (Yale University)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey DeSimone, 1998. "Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 149-164, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:24:y:1998:i:2:p:149-164
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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/eeconj/Volume24/V24N2P149_164.pdf
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    Citations

    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 06:37:00
    2. Marijuana Legalization Pros and Cons
      by noreply@blogger.com (Christopher) in Capitalist Shrugged on 2010-04-21 06:37:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. van Ours, Jan C., 2003. "Is cannabis a stepping-stone for cocaine?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 539-554, July.
    2. Bretteville-Jensen Anne L & Melberg Hans O & Jones Andrew M, 2008. "Sequential Patterns of Drug Use Initiation - Can We Believe In the Gateway Theory?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-31, January.
    3. Anne Line Bretteville‐Jensen & Liana Jacobi, 2011. "Climbing the drug staircase: a Bayesian analysis of the initiation of hard drug use," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(7), pages 1157-1186, November.
    4. Hans Melberg & Andrew Jones & Anne Bretteville-Jensen, 2010. "Is cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 583-603, June.
    5. Jeffrey DeSimone, 1999. "The Relationship Between Marijuana Prices at Different Market Levels," Working Papers 9915, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
    6. DiNardo, John & Lemieux, Thomas, 2001. "Alcohol, marijuana, and American youth: the unintended consequences of government regulation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 991-1010, November.
    7. Moreno-Sanchez, Rocio & Kraybill, David S. & Thompson, Stanley R., 2003. "An Econometric Analysis of Coca Eradication Policy in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 375-383, February.
    8. Duarte, Rosa & Escario, Jose Julian & Molina, Jose Alberto, 2006. "Marijuana consumption and school failure among Spanish students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 472-481, October.
    9. Dhaval Dave, 2004. "Illicit Drug Use Among Arrestees and Drug Prices," NBER Working Papers 10648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Kuan Xu & Ian Irvine, 2002. "Crime, Punishment and the Measurement of Poverty in the United States, 1979-1997," LIS Working papers 333, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    11. 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.
    12. Horowitz, Joel L., 2000. "Should the Dea's Stride Data Be Used for Economic Analyses of Markets for Illegal Drugs?," Working Papers 00-02, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
    13. Patrick M. O'Malley & Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka, 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.
    14. Kuziemko, Ilyana & Levitt, Steven D., 2004. "An empirical analysis of imprisoning drug offenders," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2043-2066, August.
    15. K.W. Clements & M. Daryal, 1999. "The Economics of Marijuana Consumption," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 99-20, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    16. Rosa Duarte & José Escario & José Molina, 2005. "Participation and Consumption of Illegal Drugs among Adolescents," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 11(4), pages 399-415, November.
    17. DeAngelo, Gregory & Redford, Audrey, 2015. "Is Medical Marijuana a Gateway Drug?: The Effect of Medical Marijuana Legalization on Heroin Use Rates," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 229981, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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