Marijuana is a Gateway Drug
Within this particular article, we will be exploring one of the most common misconceptions about cannabis.
Please note this piece is heavily opinion based, however, we will attempt to support all points with facts or a logical way for you to see how we went from point A to B.
“Using marijuana will lead to harder drug use”
By far one of the most perpetuated misconceptions about cannabis, but with all misinformation, there is a nugget of truth to it.
The Truth Behind the Werewolf
Giving Drug Dealers the Gateway Key
If you understand economics or simply the desire for a person to profit more off less work, you can understand why cannabis can be seen as a gateway drug.
As it is illegal in many countries this requires users to seek out illegal markets to obtain their cannabis. This causes the gateway issue as marijuana is much less profitable than other drugs. Just like an electronics salesperson will always try to sell you to a higher model with features “you need”, a dealer who is selling a variety of drugs will always want to be selling high-profit margin drugs.
Why sell $1000 of pot to make $100, when you can sell $1000 of cocaine and make $300. The risk is increased to the dealer as authorities will take these drugs more seriously than cannabis, but this allows for a higher margin and thus more profit and less work. And if you have been buying from that dealer before you could be considered “vetted”, reducing the risk to the dealer. So there is a massive bias for the illegal market to move you to a higher profit drug.
Drug Dealer “Marketing Strategies”
Free samples of hard drugs
Peer pressure from friends, other customers or the dealer
Making you wait around while harder drugs are being used
Lacing or “dusting” cannabis with other drugs, such as cocaine
These are simply a few of the strategies they can use.
Imagine having to go into a pharmacy periodically where you spend 5-60 minutes waiting for your prescription to come out, and you are never 100% sure it is only your prescription pills in that bottle. All this while you have to look at all the other prescriptions you have no interest in with customers telling you how well they work. If you had to do this weekly or monthly, eventually you will get to the point of at least looking around. This is one of the reasons why we have laws in Canada preventing this sort of behaviour by companies.
Additionally, each individual is different. But if you end up being a habitual user of any drug this should be seen as an addiction. In our views, addiction is addiction, which will be explored in another article.
This is the essence of truth behind the gateway drug myth.
Shaving the Werewolf
Like most myths, this is taking an end result, in this case, harder drug use, and claiming that a correlated event, getting high from cannabis, is the cause of the end result. The more likely causes such as greed of the market and addictive personality of the user go mainly unmentioned. This can be seen as cannabis is legalized, the harder drug usage rates do not increase. And hopefully, with more long term studies we will see a decrease as exposure to legal market may help some people avoid hard drug use, but likely not escape an addiction in some form or another until the underlining cause of the addiction is addressed.
With access to a regulated legal market society and users can be relatively ensured they will not be pushed towards harder drugs. Simply because the legislation, at least in Canada, has taken steps to ensure that promotion of recreational cannabis is minimal. Operating in a legal environment would increase the risk exponentially to switch to selling illegal drugs “on the side”. The risk now out weights the reward in most cases of this as there is significant effort to obtain a license for a dispensary.
However, due to the fact that the roots of many cannabis retailers were previously operating in an illegal market, there may be residual attitudes of “I can sell other harmless drugs and the Government can bugger off.”
This eventually will be weeded, no pun intended, out as Government regulations catch up. The legalization in Canada was rushed and implemented poorly in most opinions, leaving a significant amount of issues, one of these is not enough regulators to catch and shut down the illegal grey markets that have popped up. Just like that new bar that opened up down the street, did you actually check to see if they were getting all their alcohol from legal sources or that they were licensed as a bar? Probably not, as that is not the public’s job, but liquor inspectors will check that….eventually. Cannabis inspectors will eventually get around to it as well when there is enough of them.
– The Giant Squirrel