Why Do Some People Want to Legalize Cannabis Use?

26 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2011 Last revised: 2 Mar 2011

See all articles by Jenny Williams

Jenny Williams

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics

Jan C. van Ours

Tilburg University - Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - Department of Economics

Michael Grossman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NY Office; CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2011

Abstract

Preferences and attitudes to illicit drug policy held by individuals are likely to be an important influence in the development of illicit drug policy. Among 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 major determinants of being in favor of legalization. These results control for reverse causality from favorable attitudes to use. 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 reflect that experience with cannabis provides information about the costs and benefits of using this substance. Finally, we uncover some evidence that peers' use of cannabis impacts on preferences towards legalization.

Suggested Citation

Williams, Jenny and van Ours, Jan C. and Grossman, Michael, Why Do Some People Want to Legalize Cannabis Use? (February 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w16795. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1768553

Jenny Williams (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Melbourne, 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au/staffprofile/jwilliams.htm

Jan C. Van Ours

Tilburg University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 2880 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3042 (Fax)

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Melbourne, 3010
Australia

Michael Grossman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NY Office ( email )

5 Hanover Square
16th Floor, Suite 1602
New York, NY 10004-2630
United States
917-261-3127 (Phone)
917-426-7105 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mgrossman.ws.gc.cuny.edu

CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016
United States
212-817-7959 (Phone)
212-817-1597 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mgrossman.ws.gc.cuny.edu

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