Homeland Sec. Kelly: Marijuana is a ‘Dangerous Gateway Drug’

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly called marijuana a “gateway drug” and vowed his agency will uphold federal laws against its possession.  Welcome to age of marijuana prohibition and the propaganda surrounding it.

What is a Gateway Drug?

Let’s let Wikipedia define this for us:

The hypothesis is that the use of soft drugs like cannabis leads to the use of harder drugs via a sequence of stages. This is based on the observation that many consumers who use cocaine or heroin have previously used cannabis, and most have used alcohol or tobacco; the hypothesis is that progression continues from there to other drugs like cocaine or heroin.[Some research supports that cannabis use predicts a significantly higher risk for subsequent use of “harder” illicit drugs, while other research does not.(source)

In other words, there’s some evidence to support the claim but there doesn’t seem to be irrefutable evidence.  Hmmmmm.

Well, as someone who used to smoke an awful lot of marijuana and spent a lifetime around serious marijuana smokers, there is one thing I can say for sure. Lots of people who smoke marijuana everyday over a long period of time never get addicted to hard drugs.  They generally do try other drugs, like cocaine. But the general pattern I’ve seen among potheads is that they then drop them in favor of pot.

Potheads like pot.  Period.

An addict of any kind will eventually find their drug of choice by hook or crook.  So, if you want to say marijuana is a gateway drug, fine, but so is coffee and beer.

I used to go to parties in my twenties where the cocktail of choice was cheap vodka mixed liberally with marijuana and cocaine.  Those same people now might smoke marijuana with a glass of pinot noir.  They haven’t tried cocaine or anything worse in twenty years, and never had an addiction issue with hard drugs to begin with.  Just don’t try to take away their daily caffeine fix, it would be like wrestling with a porcupine.

Now, you can say that marijuana can be a gateway to problematic dependence in some people, that’s true.  There is mounting evidence to back this up.  This is not to say that marijuana should be illegal.  It should be legal on the same principle that tobacco and alcohol are legal.

Gateway to Weed Dependence

Weed dependence is a sticky (pun intended) subject.  Contrary to the current Trump administration,  cannabis culture seems to be getting the upper hand in the legalization battle.  As this happens, more people are smoking pot.  Many of them are beginning to experience weed dependence issues.  It’s just like people experiencing dependence issues with caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.

The percentage of weed users who experience weed dependence is not high (another pun), it’s somewhere around 9%, but due to the sheer number of people out there who are smoking weed, this still means that 2.7 million people in the United States alone suffer from this thing called weed dependence.

If the cannabis lobby wants to achieve its goal of legalization everywhere, it can shoot down the gateway hypothesis by just saying it’s irrelevant.  There are already plenty of legal gateway drugs. However, it also needs to embrace the concept that weed has addictive properties for some people.

Don’t hide from it or deny it, acknowledge it.  As more people with weed dependence issues are being helped without stigma, the more marijuana culture will be a positive element in society.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN JULY 2015, AND WAS UPDATED FOR TIMELINESS AND ACCURACY