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Why do some people want to legalize cannabis use?

  • Grossman, Michael
  • van Ours, Jan C
  • Williams, Jenny

Preferences and attitudes to illicit drug policy held by individuals are likely to be an important influence in the development of illicit drug policy. Amongst the key factors impacting on an individual’s preferences over substance use policy are their beliefs about the costs and benefits of drug use, their own drug use history, and the extent of drug use amongst their peers. We use data from the Australian National Drug Strategy's Household Surveys to study these preferences. We find that current use and past use of cannabis are a major determinants of being in favor of legalization. We also find that cannabis users are more in favor of legalization the longer they have used cannabis and, among past users, the more recent their own drug using experience. This may be reflecting the fact that experience with cannabis provides information about the costs and benefits of using this substance. We also find some evidence that peers use of cannabis impacts on preferences towards legalization.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8228.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8228
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  1. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Michael Grossman, 2006. "The Market for Illegal Goods: The Case of Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 38-60, February.
  2. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
  3. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2009. "Why parents worry: Initiation into cannabis use by youth and their educational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 132-142, January.
  4. Saffer, Henry & Chaloupka, Frank, 1999. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 401-11, July.
  5. Mayda, Anna Maria & Rodrik, Dani, 2005. "Why are some people (and countries) more protectionist than others?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1393-1430, August.
  6. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  7. Stephen Pudney, 2010. "Drugs policy: what should we do about cannabis?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 165-211, 01.
  8. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2007. "Cannabis prices and dynamics of cannabis use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 578-596, May.
  9. van Ours, J.C. & Williams, J., 2007. "Why Parents Worry : Initiation into Cannabis use by Youth and their Educational Attainment," Discussion Paper 2007-60, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "A Reason for Quantity Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 431-435, May.
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