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Smoke Signals and Mixed Messages: Medical Marijuana & Drug Policy Signalling Effects

  • Niko De Silva

    ()

    (QUT)

  • Benno Torgler

    ()

    (QUT)

Registered author(s):

    Liberal 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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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2011/WP272.pdf
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    Paper 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.

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    Length: 57 pages
    Date of creation: 12 Sep 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:272
    Contact details of provider: Postal: GPO Box 2434, BRISBANE QLD 4001
    Web page: http://www.bus.qut.edu.au/faculty/economics/
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    1. J. Williams & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 2004. "Alcohol and marijuana use among college students: economic complements or substitutes?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(9), pages 825-843.
    2. Dhaval M. Dave & Swati Mukerjee, 2008. "Mental Health Parity Legislation, Cost-Sharing and Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions," NBER Working Papers 14471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Saffer, Henry & Chaloupka, Frank, 2000. "The effect of tobacco advertising bans on tobacco consumption," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 1117-1137, November.
    5. Frank J. Chaloupka & Michael Grossman & John A. Tauras, 1999. "The Demand for Cocaine and Marijuana by Youth," NBER Chapters, in: The Economic Analysis of Substance Use and Abuse: An Integration of Econometrics and Behavioral Economic Research, pages 133-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Xueyan Zhao & Mark N. Harris, 2004. "Demand for Marijuana, Alcohol and Tobacco: Participation, Levels of Consumption and Cross-equation Correlations," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(251), pages 394-410, December.
    7. Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Jamie F. Chriqui & Joanna King, 2003. "Marijuana Decriminalization: What does it mean in the United States?," NBER Working Papers 9690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Henry Saffer & Frank Chaloupka, 1995. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," NBER Working Papers 5238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Henry Saffer & Dhaval Dave, 2003. "Alcohol Advertising and Alcohol Consumption by Adolescents," NBER Working Papers 9676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. Kannika Damrongplasit & Cheng Hsiao, 2009. "Decriminalization Policy And Marijuana Smoking Prevalence: A Look At The Literature," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 54(04), pages 621-644.
    12. Anderson, D. Mark, 2010. "Does information matter? The effect of the Meth Project on meth use among youths," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 732-742, September.
    13. Damrongplasit, Kannika & Hsiao, Cheng & Zhao, Xueyan, 2010. "Decriminalization and Marijuana Smoking Prevalence: Evidence From Australia," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(3), pages 344-356.
    14. Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo, 1998. "Does increasing the beer tax reduce marijuana consumption?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 557-585, October.
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