Voters in Massachusetts will decide on whether or not to legalize medical marijuana this November. Opponents of the measure – Question 3 – recently held a rally to speak out against it. Their two biggest charges: that marijuana is addictive and leads to other drugs.

The problem of course is that neither of these allegations is true.

Marijuana use is not marijuana abuse. According to the US Institute of Medicine’s 1999 Report: “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” “Millions of Americans have tried marijuana, but most are not regular users, … [and] few marijuana users become dependent on it.” In fact, less than 10 percent of marijuana users ever exhibit symptoms of dependence (as defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV criteria.) By comparison 15 percent of alcohol users, 17 percent of cocaine users, and a whopping 32 percent of cigarette smokers statistically exhibit symptoms of drug dependence.

What about marijuana leading to other drugs?

 According to the Canadian Senate’s 2002 study: “Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy,” “Cannabis itself is not a cause of other drug use.” This finding concurs with the conclusions of the US National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine 1999 study, which stated that marijuana is not a “gateway drug to the extent that it is a cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse.” (The IOM further noted that underage smoking and alcohol abuse typically precede marijuana use.) Statistically, for every 104 Americans who have tried marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine, and less than one user of heroin, according to annual data compiled by the federal National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

So all we have left are people who have the nerve to tell others what they can and cannot medicate with. Some would call it presumptuous to tell sick people what they are allowed to choose for relief, but sadly, some feel that is their right.

– Joe Klare

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About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

4 Responses

  1. yankee2

    Total bullshit (the charges), of course.

    If MJ is addictive, how can a person (like ME) just leave it home for 2 weeks, when traveling, without a trace of withdrawal symptoms (after puffing almost daily for 45 years)? Marijuana is absolutely non-addictive.

    Gateway effect? NOT without the help of prohibition. The only gateway forms when prohibition forces pot smokers to deal with an underground market which also sells hard drugs. No prohibition – poof! – no gateway.

    Prohibition (and LIARS) are the whole problem.

  2. yankee2

    “..for every 104 Americans who have tried marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine, and less than one user of heroin.”

    People who smoke pot and use other drugs are in the minority. Most people are quite satisfied to smoke pot. The REAL reason some people do other drugs is that some of us simply like to do drugs.

    There are a number of other drugs (esp. the hallucinogens) that are very interesting and mostly safe to use, and there are others (tranquilizers, painkillers, stimulants) that are very useful in daily life. Most of them are safe enough if used carefully.

    Association does NOT prove causation. A guy with long hair, wearing jeans, is likely to smoke pot, but his long hair and jeans did not CAUSE him to smoke pot, or vice versa. These are elements which evolve IN PARALLEL. Similarly, when people smoke pot AND, say, also use LSD, one did NOT CAUSE the other. Interests in marijuana and LSD developed IN PARALLEL. Use of marijuana does NOT cause the use of LSD, or any other drug.

    Get it? The “gateway theory” was developed to demonize marijuana, NOT because there is a trace of truth in it.

  3. Mike D

    Kevin Sabet, a former Obama administration adviser on drug policy and a spokesman for the No on Question 3 committee(and former ONDCP official- advisor to the DEA).

    And we know which side of the bread any DEA/ONDCP affiliation falls on for prohibition.

    As Hilary Clinton was quoted in being asked if prohibition would ever be rescinded…

    “No, there’s too much money in it”.

    With as little as 600$ in stated contributions, none the less the No on Question 3 still can afford to continue,,, where’s the money coming from Kevin?

    Could it be recent affiliations?

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