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: 221530 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing the Relationship Between Marijuana Availability and Marijuana Use: A Legal and Sociological Comparison Between the United States and the Netherlands
Journal: Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education  Volume:51  Issue:4  Dated:December 2007  Pages:17-34
Author(s): George S. Yacoubian Jr., J.D., Ph.D.
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 18
Document: HTML
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This comparative study examined (1) the major distinctions between the United States and the Netherlands with respect to drug policy, (2) whether there is empirical evidence to indicate that the United States and/or the Netherlands have succeeded in reducing marijuana use, and (3) whether the law of the United States should be changed to reflect the more relaxed system in the Netherlands taking into consideration politics, empirical evidence, and cultural norms.
Abstract: The primary difference between the United States and the Netherlands with respect to marijuana control policy is philosophical. The United States’ drug control policy, generally and marijuana control policy specifically have followed an identical path, prohibition. In contrast, the Netherlands approach to marijuana control is more liberal even though it still officially criminalizes marijuana. When evaluation particular policies, the evidence suggests in the case of the Netherlands that while depenalization had little effect on subsequent rates of marijuana use, de facto legalization (i.e., proliferation of coffee shops) led to sharp increases of marijuana use among Dutch youth. In contrast, evidence in the United States suggests that marijuana use rates have remained constant, within a variety of populations, for several decades. It seems clear that the United States’ policy toward reducing marijuana use has not been particularly successful. Without more information, the classic criminalization versus decriminalization debate continues. Ultimately, states are likely going to be guided by their obligations under international treaty law and political realities. Countries like the United States will likely not sway from the decades of a conservative stance on drug issues. States like the Netherlands, whose liberal attitudes have led to more relaxed marijuana laws, may be faced with outside pressures to conform to the prevailing view. References
Main Term(s): Marijuana
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Decriminalization; Drug abuse; Drug laws; Drug legalization; Drug Policy; Drug regulation; Foreign drug law enforcement; Netherlands; United States of America
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.