There is a robust positive association between support for cannabis liberalisation and cannabis use, but it is unclear whether users have discovered that cannabis is innocuous, or if these types are inherently more liberal regarding drug policy. This column exploits variations in opinion between current and former cannabis users to work towards establishing causality. Results suggest that supporters of liberalisation are speaking from experience rather than personal interest.
Ali Palali, Jan van Ours, 01 May 2014
Jan van Ours, Ali Palali, 12 October 2013
The decriminalisation of cannabis is a policy that divides policymakers sharply. This column uses evidence from the Netherlands to show a positive connection between early cannabis use and easy access to cannabis through coffeeshops. The policy implications, however, require further research. Closing coffeeshops could result in some potential users searching in the black market where hard drugs are available as well.
Jan van Ours, 06 December 2011
In many Western countries, between one quarter and one third of the population admit to having used cannabis at least once in their lives – according to the official statistics. This column provides an in-depth review of existing economic, social, and media evidence for and against legalisation. It concludes that although there is of course uncertainty surrounding the long-term implications, prohibition is not working and it is time to legalise.
Stephen Pudney, 09 November 2010
More than one in five Europeans has taken cannabis at some point in their lives. This column explores the issues facing policymakers trying to deal with marijuana.
Imran Rasul, 15 October 2010
Imran Rasul of University College London talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research with Jerome Adda and Brendon McConnell on the effects of a localized policing experiment that decriminalized cannabis possession in the London borough of Lambeth between 2001 and 2002. The interview was recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Glasgow in August 2010.
Jan van Ours, Jenny Williams, 19 September 2009
There is growing evidence of a link between mental health problems and cannabis use. Is it causal? This column shows that cannabis use, particularly frequent use, does have an adverse effect on mental health. Unobserved factors that make individuals more likely to use cannabis do also make them more susceptible to mental illness, but using marijuana has an additional causal impact.
Jan van Ours, Jenny Williams, 18 September 2007
Parents are right to worry about their children's early use of cannabis, at least with respect to educational attainment. Early initiation into cannabis reduces educational attainment considerably.