Recent cannabis policy experiments in the USA: What are they and what are their implications?

Wayne Hall, Professor of Addiction Policy
(National Addiction Centre, Kings College London, and Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research University of Queensland)

This paper describes the recent proposals to legalise recreational cannabis use in the USA. It places them within a historical context of trends in cannabis use among young people in developed countries like Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States over the past 50 years. It outlines the policy experiments that have increasingly challenged the international prohibitions on recreational cannabis, namely, the de facto legalisation of retail cannabis sales in the Netherlands and the passage of referenda establishing “medical marijuana” schemes in some US states in the 1990s and 2000s. It focuses on the implications of the passage of referenda legalising recreational cannabis use in Colorado and Washington State in 2012. The talk will address the following questions: what might we expect to happen to rates of cannabis use and problems related to cannabis use after legalisation? What constitutional and other complications do the state laws raise for the US Federal government? What implications do these policy experiments have for the future of the international drug control treaties? How may the outcomes of these experiments affect cannabis policies in other developed countries?

Wednesday, 7th October 2015 at 12.45 pm – 2.00 pm
Venue: Jerry Morris A, Tavistock Place


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