This Weedist series is dedicated to stopping the misinformation [~3 meg PDF, No On 64 ‘fact’ sheet] being spread by the campaign to prevent Colorado voters from legalizing marijuana with Amendment 64. For those who didn’t catch Moirai’s recent article, the ‘No On 64’ campaign is principally funded (95%) by alleged former child abusers and rehab profiteers.
MYTH: Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug—it doesn’t lead to other drug use.
FACT: At least ten very large studies conducted involving thousands of children and adolescents in several countries have shown that kids who use marijuana are 2-3 times more likely to go on to use other substances. While not everyone who uses marijuana will move on to other addictive substances, nearly all users of cocaine, meth and heroin used marijuana first.
1. “At least ten very large studies conducted involving thousands of children and adolescents in several countries have shown that kids who use marijuana are 2-3 times more likely to go on to use other substances.” As we hope everyone was taught in school or at least by their parents, it’s always important to dissect these kinds of arguments carefully. Two or three times more likely than who?
2. “While not everyone who uses marijuana will move on to other addictive substances, nearly all users of cocaine, meth and heroin used marijuana first.” And nearly all of them used alcohol first, too, but few people would claim that alcohol leads to heroin.
If you’re really into mixing up correlation with causation, ponder this: nearly all users of cocaine, meth, and heroin — and, for that matter, serial killers, sex fiends, and war criminals — all drank their mother’s milk or baby formula at the critical age when their brains were forming! Does that mean that it’s their mothers’ fault?
Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug. There is nothing inherent in a marijuana high that makes you want to take other drugs…heck, there’s not even anything about marijuana that makes you want to take more marijuana!
The only actual connection between marijuana and other illegal drugs is that they’re all illegal. So it makes sense that some marijuana dealers might pressure their customers to try other drugs, if they’re more concerned with profits than their customers’ health. But that’s part of the very reason why people want to legalize it…so that ordinary people won’t have to deal with criminals just because they’re looking for a safer recreational substance than alcohol, or a safer mood-altering substance than tobacco.
You don’t have to take my word for it, either. You could read the results of studies by groups such as the conservative RAND think tank, drug experts at the University of New South Wales and many other research centers, or even ask Time magazine or various wikis.
The opponents of cannabis resort to tactics such as leaving out relevant facts, misdirection, and out-and-out lying nearly every time they attempt to influence the American people. If they truly were in the right, would they even have to do this?