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Evaluating alternative cannabis regimes

  • Robert MacCoun (a1) and Peter Reuter (a2)
Abstract
Background

Cannabis policy continues to be controversial in North America, Europe and Australia.

Aims

To inform this debate, we examine alternative legal regimes for controlling cannabis availability and use.

Method

We review evidence on the effects of cannabis depenalisation in the USA, Australia and The Netherlands. We update and extend our previous (MacCoun & Reuter, 1997) empirical comparison of cannabis prevalence statistics in the USA, The Netherlands and other European nations.

Results

The available evidence indicates that depenalisation of the possession of small quantities of cannabis does not increase cannabis prevalence. The Dutch experience suggests that commercial promotion and sales may significantly increase cannabis prevalence.

Conclusions

Alternatives to an aggressively enforced cannabis prohibition are feasible and merit serious consideration. A model of depenalised possession and personal cultivation has many of the advantages of outright legalisation with few of its risks.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Robert MacCoun, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, 2607 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94720-7320, USA
Footnotes
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This paper is excerpted from MacCoun & Reuter (2001), with the permission of Cambridge University Press. The work was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation through a grant to RAND's Drug Policy Research Center.

See editorial, p. 98, this issue.

Declaration of interest

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The authors have no financial interest in the outcome of the research.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
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Evaluating alternative cannabis regimes

  • Robert MacCoun (a1) and Peter Reuter (a2)
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