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NCJ Number: 77402 Find in a Library
Title: Marijuana Decriminalization Research - A Perspective and Commentary
Journal: Criminology  Volume:19  Issue:1  Dated:(May 1981)  Pages:145-159
Author(s): J A Inciardi
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 15
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper presents a paradigm to examine costs and benefits in human, social, and economic terms, of both decriminalization and criminalization of marijuana.
Abstract: On the one hand, there are the physiological and psychosocial costs of marijuana use such as personality changes, alterations in motor coordination, and psychological dependent liabilities. Viewing these as physical, psychic, and social costs of marijuana use, their prevention could be considered as the benefits of criminalization policies if deterring those who might use the drug could be effective. By contrast, there are personal, social, and economic costs due to enforcement of current and antimarijuana laws. They include the temporary, long-term, or even permanent disruptions in users' lives which results from arrest and incarceration; loss of productive citizens when disruptions affect careers; and budgetary allocations to the police, courts, and corrections for the enforcement of the marijuana laws and the processing of offenders. This conceptualization suggests a marijuana decriminalization research agenda. For example, in the area of the health consequences of marijuana use, the degree and frequency with which states of acute intoxication emerge and persist should be studied to determine if they represent a public health problem. Better indicators and measures of acute intoxication should be developed. Other research areas should include the impact of arrest and conviction cohorts of marijuana users. These issues should be studied within the cost/benefit or cost/cost paradigm so that more informed decisions about decriminalization or continued prohibition can be made. Historical background and relevant literature are discussed. Over 10 references are included.
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Marijuana
Note: Article is a revised and expanded version of a presentation at the Technical Review on Methodology in Drug Policy Research - Decriminalization of Marijuana, Rockville, Maryland, March 20-21, 1980.
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