Is cannabis use really so harmful?

Ali Palali, Jan van Ours 01 May 2014

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Cannabis is prohibited in many countries. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2013) discusses several alternatives to prohibition, varying from decriminalisation to regulation and legalisation.

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Topics:  Health economics

Tags:  cannabis, regulation, Prohibition, drug policy, legalisation, decriminalisation

Rethinking the ‘war on drugs’: Insights from the US and Mexico

Ernesto Zedillo 22 May 2012

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America’s most loved economics textbook (Mankiw 2012) uses the ‘war on drugs’ to illustrate how restricting supply when demand is inelastic increases the total cash spent on illegal drugs. Every anti-smuggling tactic makes each consignment more profitable. No wonder the US war on drugs is not going so well. Yet despite 40 years of violence, corruption and continuing addiction, the US is in no mood to alter course.

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Topics:  Health economics

Tags:  US, Mexico, drug policy, illegal drugs

The long and winding road to cannabis legalisation

Jan van Ours 06 December 2011

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Although some countries have quasi-legalised cannabis use (the Netherlands), made cannabis available for medical purposes (California), or allowed the growing of a small number of cannabis plants for personal use (Australia), in most countries – the Netherlands included – cannabis supply, distribution, and use is prohibited (Reuter 2010). Nevertheless, in 2009, between 2.8% and 4.5% of the world population aged 15-64, corresponding to between 125 million and 203 million people had used cannabis at least once in the past year (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2011).

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Topics:  Health economics

Tags:  cannabis, Prohibition, drug policy, legalisation

What should we do about cannabis?

Stephen Pudney 09 November 2010

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No serious commentator doubts that cannabis is potentially damaging to the user. Like tobacco, it is typically smoked and thus shares the potential for lung disease. Like alcohol, it affects reaction times and may raise the risk of road accidents. Cannabis has also been associated with cognitive impairment, deterioration in education performance (van Ours and Williams 2008), and psychotic illness (Arsenault 2004). Moreover, cannabis is often – albeit contentiously – seen as a causal gateway to more serious drug use (Kandel 2002). The question is what to do about it?

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Topics:  Health economics

Tags:  cannabis, Prohibition, drug policy