Does prohibition deter cannabis use?
|Don Weatherburn and Craig Jones
|Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 58
Drugs and Drug Courts
|cannabis, cannabis use, possession
Download this publication
The present research was designed to assess the influence of prohibition on young people who have never used cannabis or who have not used it in the last 12 months.
Despite the prohibition against cannabis which exists in most Australian States and Territories, 44 per cent of males and 35 per cent of females have used the drug at least once in their lifetime. Use of the drug has increased in the last few years, prompting some to argue that the prohibition against cannabis is both costly and ineffective, and should be lifted. The present research was designed to assess the influence of prohibition on young people who have never used cannabis or who have not used it in the last 12 months. It was also designed to assess some of the potential effects of lifting the prohibition against cannabis use. The study results suggest that the illegal status of cannabis does act to limit its use. However, fear of arrest, fear of imprisonment, the cost of cannabis or its availability do not appear to exert much effect on the prevalence of cannabis use, although they may exert some restraining effect on cannabis consumption among frequent cannabis users.