Criminalizing Cannabis Has Little Impact on Use

By David Jenison on January 10, 2018

Jeff Sessions wants to get tough on cannabis. Will it work? A new study in the International Journal of Contemporary Research and Review suggests it won't help much. 

States that treat cannabis offenses as a felony have lower average usage rates than those who treat them as a misdemeanor, but the difference is about one percent overall. Moreover, the slight difference might reflect cultural considerations, i.e., states with tougher prohibition laws are more likely to have a higher percentage of conservatives and churchgoers who avoid all or most substances in general.  

Per the study, past-month consumption rates were 14.58 percent in states that treat it as a felony compared to 15.79 percent in misdemeanor states. The only real jump came with states that treat cannabis possession as a petty crime, with usage rates reaching 19 percent. 

The researchers also found that "price per gram and residing in a state with large monetary fines and severe jail terms for marijuana possession had little influence on past-month marijuana consumption." They later added, "Residing in a severe penalty state for marijuana possession, personal use quantities was the weakest influencer on past-month marijuana consumption with almost zero effect."

The Missouri- and South Dakota-based researchers promoted every imaginable cannabis-harm claim, and they clearly endorse prohibition even if cannabis has medical benefits, which they begrudgingly acknowledged with several caveats. Still, even these anti-cannabis zealots understand that "to be effective, anti-marijuana policies must shift away from law enforcement policy and into the field of public health policy."

Photo credit: Flickr/Thomas Hawk.

PRØHBTD Visits Syria to Discuss Cannabis with Officials

I Tried Pantsdrunk, the Finnish Art of Drinking Alone at Home in Your Underwear

Asia's Beg-Packers: Misunderstood Miscreants or Privilege Personified?

Choice Words: NYC Cannabis Collective Uses Language to Push Boundaries

This Is What Actually Makes America Great

Cannabis Prohibition: Founded 112 Years Ago Today

Maureen Drennan: A Compelling and Intimate Glimpse into Removed Communities

The Most Laughable Anti-Cannabis PSAs of All Time

Five Femme Accounts Setting Instagram Ablaze

Bible Thumpers Get Stoned More Than You Might Think

Cannabis Makes Cartoons More Enjoyable for Adults

America Has Its First FDA-Approved Cannabis Medicine

Dropping Acid Might Improve White House Job Security

Satanic Temple Commits to Beach Clean-Up (Your Move, Christians)

GET Eden Extracts: PAX Era Pods