skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 119211 Find in a Library
Title: Question of Legalization (From Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control, P 163-178, 1989, Mark A R Kleiman -- See NCJ-119206)
Author(s): M A R Kleiman
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Greenwood Publishing Group
Westport, CT 06881-5007
Sale Source: Greenwood Publishing Group
88 Post Road West
P.O. Box 5007
Westport, CT 06881-5007
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Legalization and decriminalization contrasted with reduced enforcement of marijuana laws suggests that reduced enforcement is the less risky alternative.
Abstract: Federal marijuana enforcement influences the extent of marijuana consumption only negligibly, while worsening the effects on persistent users and increasing the wealth and power of criminal organizations as well as their use of violence and corruption. Legalization as an alternative requires the construction of a regulatory scheme. Although legalization would largely eliminate black-market costs in illicit revenues, enforcement expenditure, and violence and corruption, it would increase consumption. This could in turn create other law enforcement problems from behaviors stemming from increased consumption. Decriminalization -- treating marijuana consumption and possession for private use as either legal or only mildly punishable while leaving its distribution as a criminal offense -- saves enforcement costs and avoids criminalizing a widespread activity, but it may lead to increased consumption in the long run. Reduced enforcement seems less risky as regards the creation of serious undesirable consequences. 19 notes.
Main Term(s): Drug legalization; Marijuana
Index Term(s): Crime costs; Decriminalization; Drug law enforcement
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.