To the editors: Let’s look at the theory that marijuana is a “gateway” drug. First of all, more addicts report having used alcohol and/or cigarettes before moving on to “harder” drugs than do marijuana; so if gateway-hood is grounds for banning a substance, then no drugs should be more illegal than alcohol and cigarettes. Secondly, marijuana is officially classified on the most dangerous tier of addictive drugs, which it is not. So, when kids try marijuana and see that it is harmless, they may think “if marijuana isn’t dangerous, maybe we were lied to about cocaine, too”. But real world data shows that marijuana often actually substitutes for more dangerous drugs instead of leading to them. Holland legalized marijuana in the 1970s, and the use of heroin and cocaine there has declined substantially.
Marijuana is far less addictive than alcohol and nicotine (and caffeine, for that matter). If marijuana is ingested, instead of smoked, there are little to no long-term negative effects; the effects commonly attributed to marijuana are either only true while under the influence or are outright fabrications. Marijuana was originally illegalized for economic and political reasons, due to heavy lobbying by lumber and pharmaceutical companies whose products are more expensive and/or unsafe than hemp products. Thousands of non-violent, otherwise law-abiding citizens go to jail each year for doing the equivalent of drinking a beer. Let’s demand the truth and use our jails for violent criminals instead of harmless users.For an in-depth debunking of marijuana myths, visit www.drugtext. org/sub/marmytl.html, (or just click here).