Marijuana Consumption and the Perception of Health and Criminal Risk for those Ages 18-25

    David Ruggeri, Clark Peters, Mike Allgrunn Affiliation


Drug use is a seriouspublic health concernin the United States. This paper examines how the perception of risk (of both health and criminal sanctions) affects consumption behavior for those ages 18-25during the years of 1999-2007. Our analyses found that criminal classification of marijuana possession is a strong predictor of past month marijuana use.States thatclassify personal use quantity marijuana possession as a felony indicated the lower past month marijuana consumption rate (14.58%) comparedto states that classify the offense asa misdemeanor (15.79%) or petty crime (19.09%).Felony possession (β = -1.59, p < .000) and misdemeanor possession (β = -.950 p < .005) laws were the two strongest predictors of past month marijuana use.Marijuana health risk perception was also a significant predictor (β = -.634, p < .000).However, marijuana price per gram (β = .110, p < .05) and residing in a state with large monetary fines (greater than $1000) and severe jail terms (greater than 6 months) for marijuana possession (β = -.081) hadlittle influence on past month marijuana consumption.


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