Date of Award

Spring 6-10-2016

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Jeff Cohen


The War on Drugs has failed. The criminalization of the use of recreational marijuana has not led to a reduction in use. This paper argues that policy surrounding recreational cannabis should observe existing policies such as legalization with regulations or decriminalization in order to increase public health and reduce government expenditures from the enforcement of criminal penalties for cannabis use. The existing literature suggests that these methods help to reduce harmful drug use, illegal sales and drug related crime. Experts in the areas of public health, criminal justice, cannabis policy and the cannabis industry were interviewed for the purpose of this study. Each expert felt that the legalization of recreational cannabis in Washington State should continue. Through the cross referencing of themes regarding the collateral, positive and negative effects it is more likely than not that cannabis related crime and social penalties surrounding the consumption of cannabis have been reduced while the legal market for cannabis has taken away a significant share of the black market sale of cannabis.

Included in

Criminology Commons