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 25 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.

Featured Research

Commentary

  • How Marijuana Ads Affect Youth: Q&A with Elizabeth D'Amico

    Aug 21, 2018

    RAND's Elizabeth D'Amico discusses her research on how medical marijuana advertising influences adolescents' use of—and positive attitudes toward—the drug. Los Angeles County used the findings to limit the placement of marijuana billboards and signage outside dispensaries.

  • Why Children Need to Be Shielded from Marijuana Ads

    Jun 18, 2018

    By design, advertising is aimed at persuading us to want something. In the case of marijuana, that something is definitely not good for teenagers.

  • Advertising and Teens in the Era of the 'Blackout Brownie'

    May 31, 2018

    Exposure to marijuana advertising may play a significant role in shaping teen attitudes about the drug, and contribute to increased marijuana use and related negative consequences throughout adolescence. Restrictions on marijuana advertising similar to those on alcohol and tobacco would likely help limit its exposure to teens.

  • How Will Cannabis Legalization Affect Alcohol Consumption?

    Feb 13, 2018

    How will legalization of recreational marijuana affect alcohol consumption? Will drinking go down because people substitute cannabis for alcohol? Or will drinking go up because cannabis and alcohol complement each other? These questions have important implications.

  • Should California Drop Criminal Penalties for Drug Possession?

    Jul 20, 2017

    Californians have a lot to consider when it comes to decriminalizing possession. But now is the time for a rigorous discussion about removing criminal penalties for drug possession, rather than rushing to judgment in the heat of a future election season.

  • The Future of Cannabis in the Netherlands

    Feb 1, 2017

    The Netherlands should proceed cautiously in implementing any marijuana regulations, taking into account the models devised elsewhere and remembering that once enacted the rules will be difficult to change.

Books

  • Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know

    May 2, 2016

    A crisp, clear, and comprehensive non-partisan primer, this book covers the risks and benefits of use, current trends, and marijuana laws around the world. The authors discuss the 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.

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