Drug Policy Research Center Hot Topic: Marijuana Legalization

The RAND Drug Policy Research Center is a non-partisan research center dedicated to providing objective analysis and research to decisionmakers. We do not have an official policy position on marijuana reform and more generally RAND does not advocate for or against legislation at any level of government.

But for more than 20 years, RAND researchers have published articles and studies that will be useful for those making decisions about marijuana policy. Here we summarize some of these studies and provide links to the publications (some journal articles may require subscription). This is not an exhaustive list of RAND's marijuana-related publications and we encourage readers to visit http://dprc.rand.org for more information.

Commentary

  • Taking a Sober Look at Legalizing Marijuana

    Jul 13, 2014

    California and a handful of other states will probably vote on legal pot in 2016. Whether it passes will depend on the quality of the proposal, how much money is involved in the campaigns, and how things play out in Colorado, Washington and other places that have legalized production and sales.

  • Are We Entering a New Era of Cannabis Regulation?

    May 22, 2014

    Although international drug treaties prohibit the production, distribution, and possession of cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific purposes, several jurisdictions have implemented new laws and policies, including some that remove criminal penalties for possession of small doses of cannabis.

  • Legalising Cannabis Is More Than Just a Yes or No Decision

    May 2, 2014

    Any truly honest discussion about how to regulate cannabis markets must start with clear objectives and goals. How these markets are opened can be as important as the decision to legalise cannabis.

  • U.S. Needs to Improve Community-Based Drug, Alcohol Prevention

    Jan 28, 2014

    As familiar as Americans are with the problems of youth drug and alcohol abuse, we are not identifying all the potential solutions. While observers criticize overemphasis in U.S. policy on enforcement and scant resources devoted to treatment, the focus on these approaches often ignores a key piece of the puzzle: prevention.

Books

  • Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know

    Jun 20, 2012

    A crisp, clear, and comprehensive non-partisan primer, this book covers the risks and benefits of use, current laws, and the personal impacts of legalization. The authors discuss the likely costs and benefits of legalization as well as possible policy options.

  • Cannabis Use and Dependence: Public Health and Public Policy

    Jan 1, 2003

    Exploring the relationship between health policy, public health and the law regarding the controversial use of cannabis, this study assesses the impact of illegality in drug use and compares it with the policies of the U.S., Europe and Australia as well as other developed societies. Written by two leading drug advisors, the analysis contributes to an important field of research.

  • Drug War Heresies: Learning From Other Vices, Times, & Places

    Aug 21, 2001

    This book provides the first multidisciplinary and nonpartisan analysis of how the United States should decide on the legal status of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. It draws on data about the experiences of Western European nations with less punitive drug policies as well as new analyses of America's experience with legal cocaine and heroin a century ago.

Policy and Law

Markets and Prices

Criminal Justice

Outcomes

Prevention and Interventions