An Evaluation of Cannabis Policy and Prevalence Usage Rates in the Americas and Europe
Kotlaja, Marijana M.
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Beccaria’s (1764) philosophy on the classical school of thought, sparked the notion that if individuals are motivated by the potential for benefits then they can also be deterred by certain, severe and swift punishment. This study aims to evaluate the impact of deterrence- oriented policies on cannabis use, cross-comparative studies, and cannabis control regimes all over the world. Previous studies have found mixed results on the link between cannabis consumption and deterrence theory. The cross-comparative literature that is currently available is limited in scope and rarely focuses on evaluating if more stringent legislation has impacted consumption rates. Even fewer studies have evaluated the relationship between consumption and cannabis legislation in the Americas and Europe. Given there is no research that specifically examines legislation and prevalence rates of use on a cross-comparative basis, this study will fill the gap through assessing the relationship between 50 countries in the Americas and Europe using a United Nations dataset. This analysis utilizes a statistical analysis of variance between groups test (ANOVA) to observe the difference between 4 control regimes: full prohibition, prohibition with cautioning or diversion, prohibition with civil penalties, and partial prohibition. The results indicated that the type of legislation does not significantly impact prevalence rates.