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Argument: Marijuana is a gateway drug

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Supporting evidence

  • A rat study conducted by Yasmin Hurd,professor of psychiatry, pharmacology and biological chemistry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found early exposure to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, led to a greater sensitivity to heroin in adulthood. He said,"All of the studies clearly show the earlier someone starts taking marijuana, the greater their vulnerability to addiction disorders and psychiatric disorders."
  • Harrison Pope, Harvard University psychiatrist, director of the Biological Psychiatry Laboratory at Boston's McLean Hospital said: "I would bet you that people who start smoking marijuana earlier are more likely to get into using other drugs."[1]
  • "A new federal report released today concludes the younger children are when they first use marijuana, the more likely they are to use cocaine and heroin and become dependent on drugs as adults.[...]""Initiation of Marijuana Use: Trends, Patterns and Implications",U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)August 28, 2002
  • "Increases in the likelihood of cocaine and heroin use and drug dependence are also apparent for those who initiate use of marijuana at any later age"[2]


  • In 1995, Partnership for a Drug-Free America with support from The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the White House Office of Drug Control Policy launched a campaign against marijuana use citing a Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) report, which claimed that marijuana users are 85 times more likely than non-marijuana users to try cocaine.[30] However, an article published in The Activist Guide by John Morgan and Lynn Zimmer entitled "Marijuana's Gateway Myth," claims CASA's statistic is false. The article states:[30]

"The high risk-factor obtained is a product not of the fact that so many marijuana users use cocaine but that so many cocaine users used marijuana previously. It is hardly a revelation that people who use one of the least popular drugs are likely to use the more popular ones — not only marijuana, but also alcohol and tobacco cigarettes. The obvious statistic not publicized by CASA is that most marijuana users — 83 percent — never use cocaine. ”

Multiple opponents of marijuana decriminalization have claimed increased marijuana use results in increased abuse of other illicit drugs.[14][31] However, multiple studies have found no evidence of a correlation between marijuana use and the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs. [from Wikipedia - this section needs to be better formatted/cited]

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