No, Virginia, Marijuana Is NOT a Gateway Drug: Here Are 40 Years Of Data Prove It
In the wake of the stunningly troglodytic and myopic decision by the Drug Enforcement Administration to keep marijuana on the listing of Schedule 1 drugs–those drugs for which there are supposedly no known medical uses, and which are considered the most dangerous–many observers are shaking their heads in disbelief.
This absurdly puts marijuana legally on a par with heroin, and classifies it as more dangerous than methamphetamine, LSD and cocaine–and again, makes the blanket statement that it is categorically unable to provide any kind of medical benefits.
Mountains of evidence gathered from the 25 states where marijuana is available for medical use might well disagree.
But that’s not the only place where the DEA is flying in the face of logic and science.
It has long been claimed by the “But what about the children??” crowd that marijuana’s real danger lies in its ability to somehow seduce our young, enticing them through its smoky, sinuous ministrations down a rocky path of perdition–that smoking pot would inevitably lead to other drugs.
The notion of a “gateway drug” has long been a bugaboo for prohibition types. It was the final, unverifiable and thus inarguable saving point they would pull out as their trump card in advocating drug prohibition.
And saner heads have long fought this canard with exasperation.
Now however there is documentation that backs up the argument against the notion of the danger of marijuana as a gateway to perdition.
Culling data from over four decades of U.S. government drug use surveys, a newly created, easily accessible, and easy to use set of charts have been made available at the Brian C. Bennett Drug Charts web site.
These gorgeous and clear charts and graphs look at data on nearly two dozen drugs and how people use them. And one clear conclusion they lead to is that for the vast majority of people, drug use follows a very specific pattern that usually peaks around age 18 to 20, and falls off after that.
“Most people who ever use such drugs stop using them shortly after initiation or a period of (usually brief) experimentation,” wrote lead author William Martin of the Baker Institute’s Drug Policy Program in a report titled Drugs by the Numbers: The Brian C. Bennett Drug Charts.
This puts the lie to the notion that a kid who tries pot is definitely–or even maybe–stepping onto a train that won’t stop before he’s strung out on heroin in an alley somewhere.
Indeed, the paper’s authors don’t shy away from essentially calling out the entirety of U.S. drug policy as it has been conducted at least since the Nixon years.
“This calls into question policies that levy harsh penalties and apply indelible criminal records to people for what may be experimental or incidental use likely to stop on its own,” they wrote.
Indeed. Now if someone could just get the memo to the DEA…