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Not A Gateway Drug


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This was in a post of justsaynow's on facebook. Thought I'd pass it on. I realize this is brought up for defense of Prop 19, however, I feel it's message can reach across the nation/world.


By: David Dayen Friday September 3, 2010 9:59 am


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The numbers for Prop. 19, the marijuana-legalization law, have bounced around, but basically it’s a toss-up race where the resources of either side will matter. The No on 19 folks signed up Sen. Dianne Feinstein and LA County Sheriff Lee Baca to drive their campaign, and so far the rhetoric has been predictable, with lurid tales of crime that apparently only happen in medical marijuana dispensaries (um, if the medical marijuana industry has been hijacked by “underground drug dealing criminals,” isn’t the problem then the underground criminal element which legalization would neutralize?).


Central to the efforts of the No campaign is the theory that marijuana use is a “gateway drug,” which leads to harder drug use in the future. A new scientific study refutes this.


Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as young adults has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used marijuana.


Conducted by UNH associate professors of sociology Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, the research appears in the September 2010, issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in the article, “A Life-course Perspective on the ‘Gateway Hypothesis.’ ”


“In light of these findings, we urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the ‘drug problem,’ ” Van Gundy and Rebellon say.


In short, issues of hard drug addiction have nothing to do with marijuana use, and plenty to do with factors like poverty and socio-economic status. They have no place in the Prop 19 debate.

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