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Dissertation zugänglich unter
Essays on the regulation of cannabis : a law and economics approach
Schriften zur Regulierung von Cannabis : eine rechtökonomische Perspektive
(2016) Reith, I. (2015). Two plants are better than one? The effect of decriminalization on the eradication of cannabis. Contemporary Drug Problems, 42(4): 259-273.
Dokument 1.pdf (2.340 KB)
Hanf , Regulierung , Politik
71.00 , 86.00
Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie, Anthropologie
Straubhaar, Thomas (Prof. Dr.)
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung:
Kurzfassung auf Englisch:
The pursuit of harmonization of laws as a mean to decrease substance-related problems has led to a series of manifestos throughout the 20th century. In 1961, the first hard law treaty on drugs came into force: The United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This convention demanded complete criminalization of drugs and classified cannabis as a drug that needs to be put in the strictest control schedule, along with heroin and cocaine. Prohibition was seen as the most efficient mean to reduce drug-related costs.
This dissertation economically analyzes the treaty provisions of the United Nations on the topic of cannabis. This is regulated in articles 4, 33 and 36 of the Single Convention. The Convention is a hard law treaty as a result of which 184 countries have agreed to criminalize the use of cannabis for purposes other than research or medical use. A control mechanism for adherence is provided through the International Narcotics Control Board. The Board reviews every country´s compliance status on an annual basis. This includes drug policies as well as administrative and governmental provisions. In case of non-compliance, article 14 comes into force and this entails several stages of punishment from consultations to more severe measures.
The dissertation consists of five papers that add up to my doctoral thesis in a cumulative way. Each paper takes up the point of view of a different and salient stakeholder. The focal points are (Paper 1) the international community as reflected through UN policy, (Paper 2) the electorate and policy-makers, (Paper 3) the consumers, (Paper 4) the alcohol industry and (Paper 5) the cannabis producers. Furthermore, every piece of work will contribute to the understanding of cannabis policy and its consequences in a unique way. If they are read as an accumulation of insights, a thorough understanding of cannabis regulation world-wide will emerge.
The questions tested by empirical means and solved by this dissertation are fivefold:
(1) What are the incentives for governments to deviate from the agreed upon criminalization in the UN hard law from 1961? This explores the economic incentives for cannabis decriminalization.
(2) Why do US states deregulate at different speeds and extents? This question explores the drivers of the electorate and policy-makers.
(3) What are the consequences in the consumer base, if this deregulation takes place? Posing this question explores the social incentives to decriminalize cannabis.
(4) Why do some stakeholder groups invest heavily in order to avoid a liberalization of cannabis policy? This question highlights the actors´ incentives to (de)criminalize cannabis. (5) How are cannabis cultivators affected by the prevailing policy? Criminalization might deter individual growers, while organized crime thrives.