Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Liberalizing marijuana laws is not associated with increased cannabis use among the general public, according to a scientific review published this month in the journal Current Opinion in Psychiatry.
"[T]he vast majority of people who use cannabis do so for a limited period of time with few or no negative consequences," states the review. "[T]he negative effects associated with cannabis use are small compared with the negative effects associated with other pleasure drugs, such as nicotine, alcohol, and cocaine.
"[P]rohibition and criminalization [are] not very likely to lead to different [cannabis] consumption rates or less risky drug use patterns, whereas it may lead to increased contacts of its users with the criminal scene and the legal system, leading to negative effects on their future development."
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the review, "Decriminalization of cannabis" appears in the journal Current Opinion in Psychiatry.