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CORK Bibliography: Drug Legalization and Decriminalization



57 citations. January 2003 to present

Prepared: March 2012



Abadinsky H. Drug laws and law enforcement. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 11-16. (0 refs.)

This chapter, an excerpt from a text on drugs and law enforcement, is one of three chapters in Part I that provides a background on current drug policy in the U.S. and the differing points of view these perspectives elicit. It reviews Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 that deals with classification of drugs as controlled substances. The Schedule of Controlled Substances is provided in a box. Another box, summarizes federal penalties related to drug trafficking. For example, for 100 to 999 plants the penalty is not less than 5 years and not more than 40 for a first offense.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Amirav I; Luder A; Viner Y; Finkel M. Decriminalization of cannabis: Potential risks for children? Acta Paediatrica 100(4): 618-619, 2011. (9 refs.)

The legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes is becoming increasingly widespread worldwide. The anticipated growing ease of access to cannabis may create an increased risk for passive and/or active ingestion by children. We report a case of a 1.5-year-old infant who presented with unexplained coma that was later proved to be associated with the ingestion of cannabis. This case highlights the importance of considering cannabis ingestion in the differential diagnosis of infantile and toddler coma and the need for public education regarding the risks of childhood exposure in the light of the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes and its greater availability.

Copyright 2011, Wiley-Blackwell


Armstrong A. Drug courts and the de facto legalization of drug use for participants in residential treatment facilities. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 94(Fall): 133-167, 2003. (224 legal refs.)

Because treatment facilities do not report on-site drug offenses to the police, but to drug courts, and because prosecutors will generally not bring new criminal charges against a drug court participant when treatment facility personnel report her relapse to the drug court, drug court participants undergoing residential treatment enjoy a practical immunity from prosecution. ... This part of the Comment examines the facts of Bush's case and the circuit court's reasoning in holding that drug court participants undergoing residential treatment are legally insulated from criminal prosecution of their relapse-related drug use. ... As a first-time, non-violent offender, Bush was eligible for participation in one of Florida's pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention programs, more commonly known as a drug court. ... This Comment argues that, because there is currently no legal basis providing for the immunity of relapsing drug court participants in residential treatment facilities, states should amend their statutes enabling drug courts to reflect the practical reality that such participants are immune from prosecution for drug use during court-supervised treatment. Not only is immunity for relapse-related use important to the continued vitality and success of drug courts, but a political recognition that drug courts treat drug use very differently from the rest of the criminal justice system would prompt public debate on a policy that is currently being applied sub silentio. Part I of the Comment examines the rapid, decentralized rise of drug courts and details their common features, including limited eligibility and removal of the participant from the criminal justice system. Part II examines the legal issues presented by the uncertain legal status of drug-using participants undergoing residential treatment through the lens of Noelle Bush's recently completed involvement with Florida's drug court system. Part III considers the effect of 42 U.S.C. 290dd-2 in assuring confidentiality for individuals undergoing drug treatment in residential facilities, and concludes that, because the statute cannot be reasonably interpreted to shield drug court participants from investigation of relapse-related drug offenses, the continued vitality of drug courts should rest on stronger, and more transparent, statutory grounds.

Copyright 2003, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology


Barbour S. Current controversies: Drug legislation. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 121-125. (0 refs.)

This is one of ten chapters in Part IV dealing with specific drug policy approaches, in this instance drug legalization. This chapter examines the connection beween drugs and crime. Given the large demand for drugs and willingness to pay for them, the case is made that endeavoring to control the drug trade is essentially futile, as any apprehended drug dealers will easily be replaced.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Bayer R. The great drug debate: What means this thing called decriminalization? IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 179-202. (51 refs.)

This is one of ten chapters in Part IV dealing with specific drug policy proposals, in this instance decriminalization. The author endeavors to examine the variety of approaches that are often subsumed under the heading "legalization." Among the issues examined is the 'medicalization' of drug use, with its pluses and minuses, and recent changes in the drug debate, by the addition of voices of political conservatives, also calling for reviewing the case for legalization.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Bennett WJ. Should drugs be legalized. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 88-94. (0 refs.)

This is one of nine chapters in Part III that devoted to the examination of different perspectives on the issue of drug policy. Published the popular press, Reader's Digest" this endeavors to make the case for strict drug control policy and to resist efforts to review and revise the policy. The answer to the question Bennett poses in the title is clearly "no." It is noted that "virtually every civilized society has found it necessary to exert some form of control over mind-altering substances."

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Booth RE; Kennedy J; Brewster T; Semerik O. Drug injectors and dealers in Odessa, Ukraine. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 35(4): 419-426, 2003. (14 refs.)

This article reports on the results observed in a series of focus groups and in-depth interviews with injection drug users (IDUs) and drug dealers in Odessa, Ukraine. Ukraine has the highest rate of HIV infection in Eastern as well as Western Europe, and Odessa ranks among the cities in that country with the highest seroprevalence. The epidemic is largely concentrated among IDUs, although heterosexual transmission is increasing. The purpose of this study was to further understand the context in which HIV-related risk behaviors occur in order to recommend intervention strategies that might reduce the rate of new infections. The drug users who participated in the research were impoverished and severely addicted. Findings revealed that there were two sources for drugs in Odessa: either from gypsies in preloaded syringes, or from drug dealers also in a liquid form. The most common drug injected was liquid poppy straw, a weak opiate known as "hemia." Results showed widespread victimization of drug users by police officials, leading to increased risk-taking to avoid arrest or harassment. Needle/syringe sharing was common and users rarely had time to disinfect their works. The most common product used to clean was urine, believed to be an antiseptic. When asked to recommend prevention strategies to reduce the rising rate of HIV, the most common response by the users and dealers was to legalize drugs. The drug and HIV epidemics in Odessa, as well as all of Ukraine, call for urgent public health measures to impact and improve the health of its citizens.

Copyright 2003, Haight-Ashbury Publications


Bos A. The history of licit cocaine in the Netherlands. De Economist 154(4): 581-586, 2006. (8 refs.)

This paper gives a description of the rise and fall of cocaine business in the Netherlands, between 1910 and 1930 when cocaine was a legal drug. When the anesthetic effects of cocaine were discovered demand for cocaine rose quickly. This made the production of coca leaves in the Dutch East Indies and the production of cocaine in the Netherlands a profitable business. However within the time span of two decades the introduction of synthetic replacements stimulated by international legislation to reduce drugs use caused the disappearance of the legal trade of coca and cocaine.

Copyright 2006, Nederlandsch Economisch Instituut


Brady TC. Argument for the legalization of industrial hemp. San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review 1: 85-108, 2003. (167 legal refs.)

Industrial hemp as a cash crop in the United States has a history as old as the United States itself. ... These are just a few of the reasons that California should pass legislation legalizing the growing of industrial hemp allowing it to become an economically viable crop in California. ... However, since 1995, twenty-five states (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) have introduced legislation allowing for industrial hemp cultivation. ... According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), "DEA officials have stonewalled several state efforts to enact industrial hemp cultivation and research bills by threatening to arrest any farmers contracted to grow the crop. ... A report published by the USDA in 2000 makes similar arguments regarding the small market for industrial hemp products such as bast fiber, hemp seed, and hemp oil. ... Once the DEA has received the scientific and medical evaluation from HHS, the Administrator will evaluate all available data and make a final decision whether to propose that a drug or other substance be controlled and into which schedule it should be placed.

Copyright 2003, San Joaquin College of Law


Bretteville-Jensen AL. To legalize or not to legalize? Economic approaches to the decriminalization of drugs. Substance Use & Misuse 41(4): 555-565, 2006. (32 refs.)

Drug legalization is gaining ever-widening support in most Western societies. A liberalization of current drug laws will most probably lead to a fall in drug prices. The present article focuses on recent economic studies examining the effects of a fall in prices on quantities consumed and recruitment. Estimates of price elasticities indicate that a substantial increase in consumption by current drug users should be expected if prices decrease, whereas estimates of participation elasticities suggest all increase in the number of users. Tests of the so-called gateway theory (i.e., whether the use of a less harmful drug increases the risk of future use of more harmful drugs) offers less unambiguous results.

Copyright 2006, Marcel Dekker, Inc.


Burris S. Harm reduction's first principle: "The opposite of hatred". International Journal of Drug Policy 15(3): 243-244, 2004. (1 refs.)

This commentary is a response to an article by Hunt in this issue which asks whether public health or human rights are to be maximized in the creation of drug policy. he author takes the stance that the goal ought to reduce the harm associated with use, which in all likelihood will involve a mix of criminalization and legalization. The author notes the considerable problems which have arisen from the, to his view, unwinable "war on drugs" given the levels of demand and production

Copyright 2004, Elsevier Science


Burrows D. Towards a regulated market for illicit drugs: Effects of the harm reduction model of controlled drug availability. International Journal of Drug Policy 16(1): 8-9, 2005. (9 refs.)

This is a response to an article by Haden on tools that can be used to regulate illegal drugs. Drawing upon arguments posited in "Harm Reeducation Model of Controlled Drug Availability" which spelled out some of the problems with drug prohibition, the following are noted as goals of policy: be realistic; take account of the different patterns and types of harms caused by specific drugs; be shown to be effective or be changed; separate arguments about the consequences of drug use from arguments about morals; be developed in the light of the costs of control as well as the benefits; ensure that the harms caused by the control regimes themselves do not outweigh the harms prevented by them; and recognise the existence of multiple goals, but ensure that contradictory goals are minimised." The author proceeds to suggest the following principles of controlled availability: (i) the use and possession of currently illicit drugs should be made legal, in an environment of controlled availability; (ii) the regulated manufacture, supply and sale of selected drugs should be allowed; (iii) the drugs selected for controlled availability should include cannabis, heroin, amphetamine, ecstasy and anabolic steroids; (iv) the selected drugs should be made available either: (a) over the counter from licensed premises in specified (generally low) dosages of known purity, clearly labelled with ingredients shown; or (b) by prescription; (v) the age limit for the regulated supply of currently illicit drugs should be the same as it is for alcohol; (vi) advertising and marketing should be the minimum necessary (e.g., for brand identification) to ensure that non-users are not attracted into drug use by marketing; (vii) prices of regulated drugs should be set so that least harmful forms of the drug (usually lower dosages) are substantially less costly than more harmful forms of the drug; (viii) users must demonstrate adequate knowledge about the effects of the drug they intend to purchase, and about safe use.

Copyright 2005, Elsevier Science


Caulkins JP; Reuter P; Iguchi MY; Chiesa J. How Goes the "War on Drugs"? An assessment of U.S. drug problems and policy. Santa Monica CA: Rand Corporation, 2005. (106 refs.)

Illegal drugs are a $60-billion-per-year industry patronized by at least 16 million Americans, 7 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 12. This level of usage clearly worries the rest of the population: From 1985 until 2001, "drugs" was consistently 1 of the top 10 answers when Americans were asked what they thought was the most important problem facing the nation. In response to such concerns, federal and state legislators and executive-branch oocials have enacted and implemented policies that, while diverse in approach, are oriented toward enforcement. These policies include the prohibition of almost any use or possession of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and a wide variety of other psychoactive substances. Strategies have been implemented that range from eradication of crops like coca in source countries, through interdiction of smugglers, to disruption of street markets and incarceration of dealers within U.S. borders. At the same time, governmental agencies have sought to reduce Americans' demand for drugs through treatment of substance abusers and prevention programs through schools and over the media. However, most expenditures on drug control at federal, state, and local levels combined have been directed to enforcement. Over the past 15 years, these measures have had a dramatic impact on some segments of society. They have not, however, led to substantial decreases in the severity of America's drug- related problems, prompting strident denunciations of current policy. Many critics argue that the increased toughness of that policy has done more harm than good. Some suggest that drugs should simply be legalized. These recommendations evoke an equally strong defenses of current policy by enforcement proponents. Evidence is typically lost in such debates. What evidence makes its way to the surface is often cited selectively. This report attempts to sort through and weigh the evidence to see where it takes us and what kind of story it tells about updated progress and options for the future in the "war on drugs." The focus here is on information that will give readers a better understanding of big-picture, strategic themes. The report is organized into seven chapters. Chapter 1 provides an introduciton. Chapter 2 addresses the quesiton as to how successful has the war on drugs been. Chapter 3 addresses why the drug war has not been a greater success. Chapter 4 considers the collateral bonuses and collateral damage. Chapter 5 considers reasons for the absence of "course correction" in the policy toward drug problems. Chapter 6 considers how drug policy might evolve, and what factors could promote or hinder change. Chapter 7 considers whether drug policy "should" change, and what would be required to accomplish this. The authors suggest that the balance among enforcement, treatment, and prevention has probably not been optimal. Enforcement is problematic when used against well-established drug markets because they are supplied by diffuse networks and arrested sellers are easily replaced. Treatment also has its limitations, however. It cannot solve immediate problems, like an increase in drug sales down the street, the way enforcement can. Its benefits accumulate slowly. However, treatment is cheaper than enforcement and attacks demand directly; it also does not have the ill effects of enforcement, e.g., racial disparities in who bears enforcement's burden. At the same time it is seen as less clear that the government would have achieved dramatically more by shifting funds from enforcement to prevention. As with treatment, the benefits of prevention accumulate slowly, and even model programs appear to be cost-effective in no small part because they are relatively cheap, not because they eliminate more than a modest fraction of use. School-based prevention programs do, however, have beneficial effects on use of other substances (alcohol and tobacco) and on other behaviors. The balance too among enforcement strategies may not have been optimal. RAND researchers have shown that cocaine consumption might have been further reduced if some of the money spent trying to control cocaine in source countries or in transit had been spent on enforcement within the United States. Also, long sentences for sellers in the United States might have been focused more effectively on the most culpable distributors.

Copyright 2005, Rand Corporation


Chapkis W; Webb RJ. Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine. New York: New York University Press, 2008

The use of marijuana as a medication has been a politically charged topic in the United States for more than three decades. Marijuana's therapeutic effects have been touted for diverse conditions - relief of the nausea caused by chemotherapy for cancer and AIDS, control of seizures or spasticity caused by epilepsy or MS, and relief from chronic and acute pain. This book addresses the issue of medical marijuana use by focusing on a community of ill persons in Santa Cruz, California, the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), is patient-caregiver cooperative providing marijuana free of charge to mostly terminally ill members. For a brief period in 2004, it even operated the only legal non-governmental medical marijuana garden in the country, protected by the federal courts against the DEA. In the context of exploring these efforts, the authors address the history of efforts to legalize medical marijuana use in America. Drawing upon interviews with patients, public officials, law enforcement officers and physicians, the authors examine perceptions of what distinguishes a legitimate patient from an illegitimate pothead, good drugs from bad, and medicinal effects from just getting high.

Copyright 2009, Project Cork


Committee on Substance Abuse and Committee on Adolesence; Joffe A; Yancy WS. Legalization of marijuana: Potential impact on youth. Technical Report. Pediatrics 113(6): E632-E638, 2004. (46 refs.)

This technical report provides historical perspectives and comparisons of various approaches to the legal status of marijuana to aid in forming public policy. Information on the impact that decriminalization and legalization of marijuana could have on adolescents, in addition to concerns surrounding medicinal use of marijuana, are also addressed in this report. Recommendations are included in the accompanying policy statement.

Copyright 2004, American Academy of Pediatrics


Degenhardt L; Hall W. Is cannabis use a contributory cause of psychosis? (review). Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 51(9): 556-565, 2006. (86 refs.)

Objective: To assess whether cannabis use in adolescence and young adulthood is a contributory cause of schizophreniform psychosis in that it may precipitate psychosis in vulnerable individuals. Method: We reviewed longitudinal studies of adolescents and young adults that examined the relations between self-reported cannabis use and the risk of diagnosis with a psychosis or of reporting psychotic symptoms. We also reviewed studies that controlled for potential confounders, such as other forms of drug use and personal characteristics that predict an increased risk of psychosis. We assessed evidence for the biological plausibility of a contributory causal relation. Results: Evidence from 6 longitudinal studies in 5 countries shows that regular cannabis use predicts an increased risk of a schizophrenia diagnosis or of reporting symptoms of psychosis. These relations persisted after controlling for confounding variables, such as personal characteristics and other drug use. The relation did not seem to be a result of cannabis use to self-medicate symptoms of psychosis. A contributory causal relation is biologically plausible because psychotic disorders involve disturbances in the dopamine neurotransmitter systems with which the cannabinoid system interacts, as demonstrated by animal studies and one human provocation study. Conclusion: It is most plausible that cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia in individuals who are vulnerable because of a personal or family history of schizophrenia.

Copyright 2006, Canadian Psychiatric Association


Drewe M; Drewe J; Riecher-Rossler A. Cannabis and risk of psychosis. (review). Swiss Medical Weekly 134(45-46): 659-663, 2004. (43 refs.)

Legalisation of cannabis use in Switzerland has recently been debated by the Swiss Parliament. Although legalisation has not yet been decided upon, it is still the subject of impassioned public discussion. If cannabis use is legalised, an increase in consumption is to be expected. One of the manifold negative consequences for mental health will probably be an increase in the prevalence of psychoses - not only acute, toxic psychosis but also chronic psychoses. Schizophrenic psychoses are expected to be triggered at an earlier age and to be negatively influenced in their course. This eventuality could have deleterious consequences not only for many currently healthy individuals predisposed to psychosis, but also for the disability pension.

Copyright 2004, EMH Swiss medical Publishers Ltd.


Edwards G. Matters of Substance. Drugs: Is legalization the right answer - or the wrong question?. London: Allen Lane, 2005

The ambitious goal of this book is to help the understanding of drugs and their ebb and flow, at the same time throwing light on society's responses to drugs and the impact of control. Drugs can be injected, snorted, smoked or swallowed. They can heighten excitement or numb emotion. They are sold by multi-national corporations and on street corners. They can cure and kill. This book provides a global tour of drugs and our ambivalent relationship with them. From alcohol to amphetamines, cannabis to crack cocaine, heroin to valium, the book discusses the history, culture and language behind each type of drug - their physical and psychological effects, medical uses, trade routes, the involvement of big business and the chequered path of control and legislation. With this as background it raises central questions: Which are most dangerous? Why do some people become addicted? What causes a drug epidemic? Another central question addressed is what is the capacity of legalization to confront the problems of drugs.

Copyright 2010, Project Cork


Fischer B; Ala-Leppilampi K; Single E; Robins A. Cannabis law reform in Canada: Is the "saga of promise, hesitation and retreat" coming to an end? Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 45(3): 265-297, 2003. (93 refs.)

The Canadian federal government has promised legislation that will decriminalize the simple possession of cannabis by the summer of 2003. This paper will first review the socio-historical context as it pertains to the criminalization of cannabis use in Canada. Specifically, it will discuss the numerous (unsuccessful) legal and political attempts at cannabis-control reform in the past 30 years, called "the saga of promise, hesitation and retreat" by Giffen, Endicott, and Lambert (1991: 571). It will then review some distinct forces in the current cannabis law reform debate, namely a series of high-profile court cases, patterns of public opinion, and the recommendations of two federal inquiries, all of which contribute to the momentum for reform. After summarizing the diverse landscape of cannabis-control regimes in other Western countries, this paper will examine more closely the actual options that exist for cannabis decriminalization in Canada and their possible effects and implications. Specifically, making simple cannabis possession a civil offence, as suggested, would provide for both discretionary interpretations and net-widening effects in law enforcement and would, in addition, leave the cannabis supply question unresolved.

Copyright 2003, Canadian Criminal Justice Association


Frazzetto G. Does marijuana have a future in pharmacopoeia? Although recent research backs the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, its adverse effects and the risk of addiction push against the legalization of the drug for medical use. (letter). EMBO Reports 4(7): 651-653, 2003. (6 refs.)


Freidman M. An open letter to Bill Bennett. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 85-87. (0 refs.)

This is one of nine chapters in Part III that devoted to the examination of different perspectives on the issue of drug policy. This piece taken from a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, the theme of the letter is that the policy that Bennett proposes in respect to drug policy will induce the problems the policy is ostensibly intended to address.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


French T. Free trade and illegal drugs: Will NAFTA transform the United States into the Netherlands? Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 38(March): 501-540, 2005. (385 refs.)

In recent years, the number of U.S. states that have passed some form of marijuana reform laws has surged. Europe's steady march toward legalization over the past fifty years demonstrates how free trade agreements foster the spread of relaxed drug legislation. Thus, France has been moving gradually toward the legalization of cannabis and the decriminalization of drug use generally, though it has yet to normalize completely illicit substances. Moreover, Swedish officials confiscate and criminalize possession of paraphernalia associated with drug use in addition to the drugs themselves. Though Mexico's anti-drug policy is remarkably similar to that of the United States, the narcotics trade is a vibrant part of Mexico's national economy. In addition, the governor of Chihuahua has "launched a study of marijuana legalization within the state" and teamed up with former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson to push for drug reform. Leftist elements within Mexico have also joined the cause for legalization, claiming that U.S. drug policy represents an encroachment on Latin America's sovereignty. Free trade also helps drug traffickers by limiting the amount of inspection possible at the border. As discussed earlier, free trade not only lowers the costs of drug trafficking, but it seriously undermines domestic efforts to keep drugs from crossing the border. Mexico has indicated it may relax its drug laws, widely known for being ineffective and unenforced. As such, this Note proposes the U.S.'s situation is similar to that of those European nations that had not yet legalized cannabis after the Dutch and Danish removed criminal liability associated with the drug. The United States is part of a free trade agreement with neighbors that either explicitly or effectively do not share its attitude concerning illegal drugs. Accordingly, one can interpret the current movement to medicalize or decriminalize cannabis occurring at the state level of the United States as the nation's first step down the path to outright legalization. Part II of this Note examines the marijuana medicalization and decriminalization movement in the United States and shows the U.S. populace's shifting attitudes toward the drug. Then the Note reviews the European experience by offering a review of the European Union and Member States' drug laws in Part III. Here, this Note discusses the free trade zone in Europe generally and illustrates how drug reform began in two states and eventually grew to cover most of the continent. Part IV of this Note offers a brief overview of NAFTA and then highlights Canadian and Mexican trends relating to drug legalization and importation into the United States while drawing corollaries to European history. Part V highlights the effects of economic liberalization on drug trafficking and discusses how one country's decision to legalize drugs affects other nations. Part VI concludes the Note by suggesting that the United States is heading toward cannabis legalization due, in part, because of the transnational consequences of its free-trade partners' decisions to legalize and decriminalize certain drugs.

Copyright 2005, The Vanderbilt University School of Law


Glasscock BD. Congressional testimony in oppostion to drug legislation. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 112-120. (0 refs.)

This selection is from testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, July 13, 1999, Washington DC. This is one of nine chapters in Part III that devoted to the examination of different perspectives on the issue of drug policy. This testimony is in oppostition to possible decriminalization of drug possession

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Gorman DA; Huber JC. Do medical cannabis laws encourage cannabis use? International Journal of Drug Policy 18(3): 160-167, 2007. (39 refs.)

Medical cannabis is a contentious issue in the United States, with many fearing that introduction of state laws will increase use among the general population. The present study examined whether the introduction of such laws affects the level of cannabis use among arrestees and emergency department patients. Using the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring system, data from adult arrestees for the period 1995-2002 were examined in three cities in California (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose), one city in Colorado (Denver), and one city in Oregon (Portland). Data were also analysed for juvenile arrestees in two of the California cities and Portland. Data on emergency department patients from the Drug Abuse Warning Network for the period 1994-2002 were examined in three metropolitan areas in California (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco), one in Colorado (Denver), and one in Washington State (Seattle). The analysis followed an interrupted time-series design. No statistically significant pre-law versus post-law differences were found in any of the ADAM or DAWN sites. Thus, consistent with other studies of the liberalization of cannabis laws, medical cannabis laws do not appear to increase use of the drug. One reason for this might be that relatively few individuals are registered medical cannabis patients or caregivers. In addition, use of the drug by those already sick might "de-glamorise" it and thereby do little to encourage use among others.

Copyright 2007, Elsevier Science


Hall W; Degenhardt L. What are the policy implications of the evidence on cannabis and psychosis? (review). Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 51(9): 566-574, 2006. (82 refs.)

Objective: To explore the implications for mental health services, for health education about the risks of cannabis use, and for public policy toward cannabis use of observational evidence that cannabis use is a contributory cause of psychosis. Method: Using comparative analyses of similar evidence for the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco, and amphetamine use, we considered the relation between observational evidence and action on cannabis. We examined arguments on the grounds of public health prudence for discouraging cannabis use by young individuals. With the assumption that the relation may be causal, we considered recommendations for policy in mental health services, health education, and public policy toward cannabis. Results: The observational evidence and biological plausibility of the hypothesis that cannabis is a contributory cause of psychosis is at least as strong as evidence for causal relations between heavy alcohol and amphetamine use and psychosis. On public health grounds, there is a good case for discouraging cannabis use among adolescents and young adults. It remains uncertain how best to discourage use and at whom campaigns to reduce cannabis use should be targeted. Conclusions: We should discourage young adults seeking treatment in mental health services from using cannabis and inform them of the probable mental health risks of cannabis use, especially of early and frequent use. We must exercise caution in liberalizing cannabis laws in ways that may increase young individuals' access to cannabis, decrease their age of first use, or increase their frequency of cannabis use. We should consider the feasibility of reducing the availability of high-potency cannabis products.

Copyright 2006, Canadian Psychiatric Association


Hall W; Swift W. The policy implications of cannabis dependence. IN: Roffman RA; Stephens RS, eds. Cannabis Dependence: Its Nature, Consequences and Treatment. London: Cambridge University Press, 2006. pp. 315-342

This chapter considers the policy implications of cannabis dependence. At the outset it poses the basic question, whether, indeed, a policy response is required. It then turns to the response to marijuana dependence by the public health system, by public health policies, and the role of public education. The next issues addressed include screening and brief intervention for harmful use, specialist treatment for cannabis dependence, management of withdrawal, dealing with comorbid substance use disorders, and dealing with comorbid psychiatric illness. The concluding portion of the chapter addresses the policy issues which have been increasingly posed: medical/therapeutic cannabis use, decriminalization, de facto legalization of cannabis and de jure legalization.

Copyright 2006, Project Cork


Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. (Chapter refs.)

This book, organized into six parts, assembles a diverse collection of readings from scholarly journals, government reports, think tank studies, newspapers, and books that offer a comprehensive look at the drug debate. Each section of the book features opposing articles written by many of the foremost authorities. Part I examines the origins of the drug war in the U.S. and outlines the basic elements of current statutes, the legal basis for drug legislation, and the tension between individual liberties and maintaining social safety. Part II delves into the divide over disparate views of the moral implications of drug use, which underpin views for or against prohibition or legalization. Embedded in this discussion also is differing views of the larger society's right to limit and restrict the freedom of individuals. This is the focus of Part III. The arguments in part IV deal with more different perspectives for those advocating policy reform: legalization, so that not illicit drugs assume the same status of alcohol or tobacco, as well as decriminalization, that changes the nature of penalties, and harm reduction initiatives, which are not based on legal basis but a public health perspective. Harm reduction advocates view the proper emphasis on public policy and public monies to be, not prohibition but efforts to prevent/reduce harms associated with use, rather than use per se. Part V explores the debate over marijuana prohibition -- a debate that has crossed partisan borders and entered mainstream political discussion. Those in favor of legalizing marijuana argue that taxpayer money is being wasted fighting a drug used by many with no negative effects. Alternatively, those advocating prohibition claim that marijuana is harmful and serves as a gateway drug to more dangerous substances. Part VI explores the pros and cons of Europe's more liberal drug policies and how these might be adapted to the U.S.

Copyright 2006, Project Cork


Inciardi JA. American drug policy: The continuing debate. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 3-11. (16 refs.)

This is one of three chapters in Part I that provide background on current drug policy in the U.S. and the differing points of view it elicits. It offers a very brief summary of the history of drug control efforts, highlighting the Harrison Act (1914), the war on drugs, and the emergence of voices questioning the current laws, and in 1988, the Mayor Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke, suggesting that the current policies only suceeded in crowding courts and prisons and higher rates of addiction.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Jacobs EA; Joffe A; Knight JR; Kulig J; Rogers PD; Williams JF et al. Legalization of marijuana: Potential impact on youth. Pediatrics 113(6): 1825-1826, 2004. (3 refs.)

As experts in the health care of children and adolescents, pediatricians may be called on to advise legislators concerning the potential impact of changes in the legal status of marijuana on adolescents. Parents, too, may look to pediatricians for advice as they consider whether to support state-level initiatives that propose to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes or to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. This policy statement provides the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics on the issue of marijuana legalization, and the accompanying technical report (available online, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/113/6/e632) reviews what is currently known about the relationship between adolescents' use of marijuana and its legal status to better understand how change might influence the degree of marijuana use by adolescents in the future.

Copyright 2004, American Academy of Pediatrics


Kenny C; Nolin PC. Cannabis: Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003

In 2002-3, two separate committees of the Canadian Parliament produced reports on cannabis policy and recommended changes in it. One, a committee of the elected chamber or House of Commons, recommended that possession of small amounts for personal use should remain illegal but be punishable only by a fine that does not carry a criminal record. The other, a committee of the appointed chamber or Senate (comparable to the life peerages of the British House of Lords), recommended, as outlined in this report, that possession be fully legalized but regulated in the same manner as alcohol. The authors acknowledge that government policy decisions are essentially political, not scientific, even though scientific information is used in reaching them. It is emphasized that drug policy should be based primarily on public health issues rather than on criminal law, and that all policy changes should be regarded as social experiments, the results of which must be closely monitored and evaluated. Data on statistics on cannabis use is provided. Other topics addressed include the administration and costs of the legal system of drug control, changes in public opinion, the risks of driving under the influence of cannabis, the special problems of cannabis use by adolescents and the various approaches to prevention and treatment.

Public Domain


Khatapoush S; Hallfors D. "Sending the wrong message": Did medical marijuana legalization in California change attitudes about and use of marijuana? Journal of Drug Issues 34(4): 751-770, 2004. (35 refs.)

This study was designed to assess the affect of legalization of medical marijuana on drug-related attitudes and use among youths and young adults in selected communities in California and other states. Telephone survey data, collected as part of a study of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Fighting Back initiative, was utilized to examine reported attitudes about and use of drugs in California and other states before and after Californians passed Proposition 215 in 1996. Descriptive, bivariate, and logistic regression analyses were used to examine attitudes and use among 16 to 25 year olds in California and 10 other states. This study found that although some marijuana-related attitudes changed between 1995 and 1999, use did not increase. These findings suggest that recent policy changes have had little impact on marijuana-related behavior.

Copyright 2004, Journal of Drug Issues, Inc.


Kutin JJ; Alberti S. Law enforcement and harm minimisation. IN: Hamilton M; KIng T; Ritter A, eds. Drug Use in Australia: Preventing Harm, 2nd Ed.. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. pp. 144-158. (320 book refs.)

This chapter outlines law-enforcement strategies that have been used in Australia in recent years. It also makes comparison of approaches from Australia to other countries, particularly the Netherlands, in which one of the authors has worked, and which has a reputation as a liberal country. Among the constructs addressed are the differences between legalization, decriminalization, and de-penalization. Among newer approaches considered are diversion and depenalization programs, cannabis cautioning programs, and drug courts.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Laker KV. Smoke and mirrors: The self-examination of Canadian marijuana policy in the context of decriminalization in the Netherlands. Indiana International & Comparative Law Review 14: 341-374, 2003. (288 refs.)

Part I of this Note examines the historical background of Canadian marijuana policy from the initial ban to the current proposal. This includes an analysis of the recently modified policy regarding the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes n8 and an evaluation of the current penalties for the commission of common marijuana-related crimes. n9 Finally, Part I explores the steps leading up to the preparation and issuance of the Canadian Senate's report. Part II outlines the proposal made by the Canadian Senate. The report contains recommendations for sweeping modifications in many areas of marijuana policy, all of which will be reviewed. n11 The report also contains a myriad of statistics and medical data regarding the physiological, psychological, and sociological effects of marijuana, which will be discussed as well. Also, Part II briefly investigates possible local and international obstacles that may prevent Canada from implementing its proposal. Part III discusses the marijuana policy of the Netherlands beginning with a brief historical look at the evolution of Dutch drug policy from after World War II to the decriminalization of marijuana in 1976. It further examines the current state of Dutch marijuana policy and evaluates its results in Dutch society. Finally, Part IV compares the Canadian proposal to the current Dutch policy, focusing on the differing backdrops giving rise to both the Canadian proposal and the Dutch policy. The structures of their respective political systems also had an impact on their choices in drug policy. The Dutch policy cannot be directly transplanted into the Canadian legal system, a phenomenon that will also be discussed in Part IV. This Note also observes a problem that Canada and the Netherlands may have in common, being neighbors of the United States and Germany, respectively, countries with strict anti-drug policies.

Copyright 2003, Trustees of Indiana University


Lenton S. Pot, politics and the press: Reflections on cannabis law reform in Western Australia. Drug and Alcohol Review 23(2): 223-233, 2004. (62 refs.)

Windows of opportunity for changing drug laws open infrequently and they often close without legislative change being affected. In this paper the author, who has been intimately involved in the process, describes how evidence-based recommendations to 'decriminalize' cannabis have recently been progressed through public debate and the political process to become law in Western Australia (WA). The Cannabis Control Bill 2003 passed the WA Parliament on 23 September. The Bill, the legislative backing behind the Cannabis Infringement Notice (CIN) Scheme, came into effect on 22 March 2004. This made WA the fourth Australian jurisdiction, after South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, to adopt a prohibition with civil penalties scheme for minor cannabis offences. This paper describes some of the background to the scheme, the process by which it has become law, the main provisions of the scheme and its evaluation. It includes reflections on the role of politics and the press in the process. The process of implementation and evaluation are outlined by the author, foreshadowing an ongoing opportunity to understand the impact of the change in legislation.

Copyright 2004, Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs


Lenton S; Allsop S. A tale of CIN-the Cannabis Infringement Notice scheme in Western Australia. (editorial). Addiction 105(5): 808-816, 2010. (59 refs.)

Aims: To describe the development and enactment of the Western Australian (WA) Cannabis Infringement Notice scheme and reflect on the lessons for researchers and policy-makers interested in the translation of policy research to policy practice. Methods: An insiders' description of the background research, knowledge transfer strategies and political and legislative processes leading to the enactment and implementation of the WA Cannabis Control Act 2003. Lenton and Allsop were involved centrally in the process as policy-researcher and policy-bureaucrat. Results: In March 2004, Western Australia became the fourth Australian jurisdiction to adopt a 'prohibition with civil penalties' scheme for possession and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis. We reflect upon: the role of research evidence in the policy process; windows for policy change; disseminating findings when apparently no one is listening; the risks and benefits of the researcher as advocate; the differences between working on the inside and outside of government; and the importance of relationships, trust and track record. Conclusions: There was a window of opportunity and change was influenced by research that was communicated by a reliable and trusted source. Those who want to conduct research that informs policy need to understand the policy process more clearly, look for and help create emerging windows that occur in the problem and political spheres, and make partnerships with key stakeholders in the policy arena. The flipside of the process is that, when governments change, policy born in windows of opportunity can be a casualty.

Copyright 2010, Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs


Lewis P; O'Connor C. My war on drug laws. Forbes 188(6): 181-181, 2011. (0 refs.)

The government has a marijuana problem it-doesn't realize the benefits or the harm caused policing it. I'm devoting my time and money to making it legal.

Copyright 2011, Forbes, Inc.


Maag V. Decriminalisation of cannabis use in Switzerland from an international perspective: European, American and Australian experiences. International Journal of Drug Policy 14(3): 279-281, 2003. (3 refs.)

Public views on criminalisation or decriminalisation of drug use are rarely based on scientific evidence. Preconceived notions about the acceptance or tolerance of the use of narcotics in comparison are more influential. The decriminalisation of cannabis is currently being discussed and revision of the Swiss law on narcotics is pending. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (SFOPH) commissioned three international experts to provide a critical assessment of the experience gained in other countries with decriminalisation of cannabis use. The reports include a European comparative study, an overview of research conducted in the United States of America and Australia, and an historical evaluation of drug policy in Italy. The three expert reports suggest that no systematic relationship between drug policies and prevalence rates of cannabis use or illicit drug use in general can be detected. However, the social costs of drug enforcement and the negative consequences for criminalised use can be reduced by decriminalisation measures. More empirical evidence is needed because policy changes and the implementation of decriminalisation measures have not been evaluated so far within a truly comprehensive research design.

Copyright 2003, Elsevier Science, Ltd.


MacCoun RJ; Reuter P. Does Europe do It better? IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 262-269. (0 refs.)

This is one of three chapters in Section VI dealing with the European approaches to drug policy. It describes several innovative approaches from Europe, with consideration of their application in the United States. These include the decriminalization of marijuana, in the Netherlands, and presents the case of the Dutch coffee shops; treatment of heroin addicts in Britain; and "heroin-assisted treatment" in Switzerland. Both Britain and Switzerland allow heroin maintenance.

Copyright 2005, Project Cork


Martel M. Not This Time: Canadians, Public Policy and the Marijuana Question, 1961-1975. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006

This book explores the social issues surrounding marijuana use in Canada during the 1960s through the mid-1970s. While discussing an era that is the author describes as "embedded in both myth and nostalgia", it demonstrates the continuing relevance. It outlines the arguments put forth by proponents and opponents of recreational marijuana use. It sets forth the various political and social factions involved in this legalization debate, and discusses the role of powerful individuals in defeating legislation. Differences in views that were operative in different provinces are also noted.

Copyright 2008, Project Cork


McBride D; Terr-McElrath YM; Inciardi JA. Alternative perspectices on the drug policy debate. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 151-156. (9 refs.)

This is one of ten chapters in Part IV dealing with specific drug policy proposals, in this instance decriminalization. This chapter examines both the pro- and anti-legalization argument.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


McNeece CA. After the war on drugs is over: Implications for social work education. Journal of Social Work Education 39(2): 193-212, 2003. (87 refs.)

This is an essay on the legalization of drugs in the U.S. It discusses a proposal for a free market for drugs unfettered by government intervention. It also considers the pursuit of policies to reduce harm to individual drug users. The implications for social work are addressed.

Copyright 2003, Council on Social Work Education


Miron JA. The effect of drug prohibition on drug prices: Evidence from the markets for cocaine and heroin. Review of Economics and Statistics 85(3): 522-530, 2003. (33 refs.)

This paper examines the effect of drug prohibition on the black market prices of cocaine and heroin. The paper examines the ratio of retail to farmgate price for cocaine, heroin, and several legal goods, and it compares legal versus black market prices for cocaine and heroin. The results suggest that cocaine and heroin are substantially more expensive than they would be in a legalized market, but to a lesser degree than suggested in previous research.

Copyright 2003, MIT Press


Nadelman EA. An end to marijuana proibition: The drive to legalize picks up. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 219-235. (92 refs.)

This is one of three chapters in a section examining the case of marijuana as a potentially different situation that illicit drugs generally. The author examines the history of alcohol prohibition efforts as a counterpoint to efforts to decriminalize/legalize marijuana. There is discussion too of attitudes toward decriminalization, and the costs to the criminal justice system of arrests simply for marijuana prossession

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Nielsen AL. Americans' attitudes toward drug-related issues from 1975-2006: The roles of period and cohort effects. Journal of Drug Issues 40(2): 461-493, 2010. (51 refs.)

Despite the importance of the "war on drugs," little research has examined Americans' attitudes toward drug-related issues. In particular, the extant literature has not considered period and cohort effects for views about drug control issues, although there are theoretical reasons to expect both to be important. In this paper the roles of period and cohort effects, net of individual-level predictors, for attitudes toward both governmental spending to address drug addiction and legalizing marijuana use were examined. Data from the General Social Surveys (1975 through 2006) were used. The logistic regression results showed variations in attitudes over time for both addiction spending and legalizing marijuana use. Cohort effects were also evident. The results suggest that a liberalization of attitudes, both over time and across cohorts, may be occurring, especially for the legalization of marijuana use.

Copyright 2010, Journal of Drug Issues, Inc


Pacula RL; Chriqui JF; King J. Marijuna Decriminalization. What does it mean in the United States? National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. w9690. Cambridge MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2003. (21 refs.)

It is well known in the drug policy field that eleven states reduced the criminal sanctions associated with possession of small amounts of marijuana. In this paper we review the eleven original decriminalization statutes, documenting key dimensions of these laws and identifying their common denominator. We then examine state laws in effect as of December 31, 1999, along the same key dimensions and show that it is impossible to uniquely identify the so-called decriminalized states. We show the extent to which non-decriminalized states have also reduced penalties associated with possession of small amounts of marijuana as early as 1989, calling into question the interpretation of studies evaluating this policy during the past decade. We conclude by showing that the inclusion of legal dimensions of the policy does not diminish the association identified between decriminalization and recent use, raising questions about how researchers should interpret such findings.

Copyright 2003, National Bureau of Economic Research


Page SA; Verhoef MJ; Stebbins RA; Metz LM; Levy JC. Cannabis use as described by people with multiple sclerosis. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences 3(201-205): 2003, 2003. (32 refs.)

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting young adults. The prevalence of MS in Alberta has been described as among the highest reported in the world, estimated at 217 per 100,000. Numerous anecdotal reports, and a few small empirical investigations have suggested that cannabis use may relieve the symptom experience of those with MS. The present study was undertaken to describe cannabis use by this patient group. Information on peoples' beliefs, practices and experiences related to use were investigated. Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to a sample of 780 adults with MS in southern Alberta, Canada. Results: Completed questionnaires were returned by 420/673 eligible subjects (response rate 62%). Mean sample age was 48 years and 75% were women. Respondents ranged from mildly to severely impaired. The majority of respondents (96%) was aware cannabis was potentially therapeutically useful for MS and most (72%) supported legalization for medicinal purposes. Forty-three percent had tried cannabis at some point in their lives, 16% for medicinal purposes. Symptoms reported to be ameliorated included anxiety/depression, spasticity and chronic pain. Reasons given for not trying cannabis were the fact that it is an illegal substance, concern about side effects and lack of knowledge on how to obtain it. Conclusions: Subjective improvements in symptom experience were reported by the majority of people with MS who currently use cannabis. Further evaluation of this substance is warranted.

Copyright 2003, Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, Inc.


Pudney S. Drugs policy: What should we do about cannabis? Economic Policy 61: 165-211, 2010. (69 refs.)

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 2010, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing


Staley S. The decriminalization alternative. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 157-178. (30 refs.)

This is one of ten chapters in Part IV dealing with specific drug policy proposals, in this instance decriminalization. This chapter begins with the observation that despite billions of dollars spent to reduce drug supply and incarcerating millions of drug users, there has been virtually no drop in drug availability. The author examines the possiblity of drug policy based on reducing demand, with decriminalization as a policy option. The arguments for this change are reviewed in terms of libertarian principles, cost-benefit analysis, and public health. The basis for opposition is also considered, with attention to concern over feeding "the criminal elememnt", that legalization sends youth "the wrong signal," and impact on public health.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Sutton A; Hawks D. The Cannabis Infringement Notice scheme in Western Australia: a review of policy, police and judicial perspectives. Drug and Alcohol Review 24(4): 331-336, 2005. (8 refs.)

Western Australia (WA) became the fourth Australian jurisdiction to adopt a 'prohibition with civil penalties scheme' for minor cannabis offences when its Cannabis Infringement Notice (IN) scheme became law on 22 March 2004. This study examined the attitudes and practices of policy makers, members of the law enforcement and magistracy and other judicial sectors involved in enforcing the new scheme, and their views as to its likely impact on the drug market. As part of the pre - post evaluation of the legislative reforms a sample of 30 police, other criminal justice personnel and policy makers have been qualitatively interviewed. Data were collected both at the pre-implementation stage (March and June 2003) and shortly after the Act became operational (mid-June 2004). The Western Australia Police Service's implementation of the CIN scheme has been extremely professional. However, these early results suggest that while the CIN scheme has been designed to take into account problems with similar schemes elsewhere in Australia, possible problems include: some operational police being unsure about the operation of the scheme; expected savings in police resources will probably be reduced by procedures which require offenders to be taken back to the station rather than issue notices on the spot as intended by the scheme's architects; probable net widening; problems with exercise of police discretion to issue a CIN; and public misunderstanding of the scheme. In the early months of the scheme understanding of the new laws among both police and members of the public was far from perfect. For the system to achieve the outcomes intended by legislators, it is essential that levels of understanding improve. Media and other campaigns to inform the public that cannabis cultivation and use remain illegal, and to warn about risks associated with cannabis use, should be extended. As it will be at least 18 months before the scheme is operationally settled in, the media and others should be cautious about reading too much into police data on numbers of notices issued and on rates of compliance.

Copyright 2005, Taylor & Francis Ltd.


The Economist. The case for legalization: Time for a puff of sanity. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 126-130. (0 refs.)

This is one of ten chapters in Part IV dealing with specific drug policy proposals, in this instance legalization. This piece was from an editorial in The Economist in response to a series entitled "High Time," 2001. This chapter makes the case for drug legalization, drawing upon the views of morality posited by Mills, and suggests that legalization allows for policies based on regulation.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Trkulja V; Zivcec Z; Cuk M; Lackovic Z. Use of psychoactive substances among Zagreb University medical students: Follow-up study. Croatian Medical Journal 44(1): 50-58, 2003. (22 refs.)

Aim. To estimate the exposure of Zagreb University medical students to psychoactive substances in 2000 and compare it with data collected in 1989. Methods. Students were surveyed in 2000 (n = 775) and 1989 (n =986) by means of a self-reporting questionnaire. The 2000 survey also included 136 non-medical students. General demographic data and data on experience with psychoactive substances were collected, analyzed, and presented as percentages with 95% Cl. Results. The lifetime prevalence of contact with illicit drugs (mostly marijuana) among medical students in 2000 was 35% vs 14% in 1989. Repeated use was reported by 3.9% students, and 6% confirmed the experience of simultaneous use of alcohol and drugs. The lifetime prevalence of contact with psychoactive medications (mostly benzodiazepines) was 33% in 2000 vs 15% in 1989. Medications were largely used without medical supervision, with 3.5% of the students explicitly stating non-medical reasons for consumption. The prevalence of smokers was 29% in 2000, compared with 31% in 1989, and prevalence of regular alcohol consumers (on monthly, weekly, or daily basis) was 50% vs 52% in 1989. Experience with all types of substances was more present among senior students, and less among medical students than their "non-medical" peers. Regular alcohol use was associated with the experience of illicit drugs use. In 2000, 40% of medical students and 53% of "non-medical" students voted for legalization of marijuana. Conclusions: Experience with psychoactive substances is common among Zagreb medical students. Experiences with illicit drugs and psychoactive medications have substantially increased over the past decade.

Copyright 2003, University of Zagreb Medical School


Vitiello M. Legalizing marijuana: California's pot of gold? Wisconsin Law Review 2009(1): 1349-1389, 2009. (272 legal refs.)

In early 2009, a member of the California Assembly introduced a bill that would have legalized marijuana in an effort to raise tax revenue and reduce prison costs. While the bill's proponent withdrew the bill, he vowed to renew his efforts in the next term. Other prominent California officials, including Governor Schwarzenegger, have indicated their willingness to study legalization in light of California's budget shortfall. For the first time in over thirty years, politicians are giving serious consideration to a proposal to legalize marijuana. But already, the public debate has degenerated into traditional passionate advocacy, with ardent prohibitionists raising the specter of doom, and marijuana advocates promising billions of dollars in tax revenues and reduced prison costs. Rather than rehashing the old debate about legalizing marijuana, this Essay offers a balanced view of the proposal to legalize marijuana, specifically as a measure to raise revenue and to reduce prison costs. It raises some of the central problems with proponents' arguments, including how their goal of reducing prison costs effectively undercuts their goal of raising revenue. Additionally, it challenges extravagant claims of the prohibitionists that legalizing marijuana will lead to significant increases in marijuana use and attendant social harm. In the end, the author offers a mild endorsement for legalization.

Copyright 2009, University of Wisconsin


Walters JP. No surrender: The drug war saves lives. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 236-240. (0 refs.)

This is one of three chapters in a section examining the case of marijuana as a potentially different situation that illicit drugs generally. This reprint of an article by the head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy makes the case for the continuation of the current policy.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Weatherburn D; Jones C; Donnelly N. Prohibition and cannabis use in Australia: A survey of 18-to 29-year-olds. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 36(1): 77-93, 2003. (32 refs.)

The prevalence of cannabis use in Australia has increased in the last few years, prompting some to argue that the prohibition against cannabis is both costly and ineffective and should be lifted. Surveys designed to evaluate the effect of reducing or eliminating sanctions for cannabis use, however, have been more concerned about the effect of cannabis law reform on the number of new cannabis users than about its effect on cannabis consumption among existing users. This is a serious oversight because most of the risks associated with cannabis are associated with regular rather than occasional use of the drug. The present research was designed to assess some of the potential effects of lifting the prohibition against cannabis use. The study results suggest that, while the illegal status of cannabis does act to limit its use, it is not a major factor in decisions about whether to use cannabis or to cease using it. Prohibition does, however, appear to limit consumption among existing cannabis users and particularly among those who use the drug on a weekly basis or more frequently.

Copyright 2003, The Australian & New Zealand Society of Criminology


Williams J. The effects of price and policy on marijuana use: What can be learned from the Australian experience? Health Economics 13(2): 123-137, 2004. (17 refs.)

This research examines the responsiveness of the demand for marijuana to changes in its money price and criminal status using data on individuals from the Australian National Drug Strategy's Household Surveys (NDSHS). The results suggest that both the prevalence of marijuana use and the conditional demand for marijuana in the general population are responsive to changes in its money price. Significant differences are found in the effect of price on participation in marijuana use across age-groups, with participation by youth more price sensitive than participation by older age-groups. Similarly, the effect of the legal status of marijuana use on the participation decision is found to differ across age-groups and gender. Specifically, decriminalisation is associated with an increases in the prevalence of use by males over the age of 25. There is no evidence that decriminalisation significantly increases participation in marijuana use by either young males or females, or that decriminalisation increases the frequency of use among marijuana users.

Copyright 2004, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd


Wilson JQ. Against the legalization of drugs. IN: Huggins LE, ed. Drug War Deadlock: The Policy Battle Continues. Stanford CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005. pp. 131-150. (0 refs.)

This is one of ten chapters in Part IV dealing with specific drug policy proposals, in this instance legalization. This chapter anti-legalization of currently illicit drugs, focuses upon making the case for the benefits associated with illegality.

Copyright 2007, Project Cork


Wouters M; Benschop A; Korf DJ. Local politics and retail cannabis markets: The case of the Dutch coffeeshops. International Journal of Drug Policy 21(4): 315-320, 2010. (33 refs.)

Background: Cannabis coffeeshops are concentrated in specific areas in the Netherlands; close to 80% of Dutch municipalities have no coffeeshops. We investigated why such wide local differences exist. Methods: Regression analyses were carried out on data regarding the number of coffeeshops per municipality, local council seat distribution and area demographic characteristics. A contrast analysis of municipalities with no/few vs. many coffeeshops was also performed. Results: Whether a town has one or more coffeeshops can be predicted in part by its population size, but more strongly by political composition of the local council. The larger the percentage of progressive councillors, the greater the probability that coffeeshops are allowed. The number of coffeeshops in a town depends primarily on the demand for cannabis (reflected in factors like local population size); it generally has little to do with national-level party political preferences about drug policy. Conclusion: Both the demand for coffeeshops and local political preference influence coffeeshop policy in the Netherlands.

Copyright 2010, Elsevier Science