Pubdate: Sat, 20 Sep 2014
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2014 The Washington Post Company
Author: Sam Tracy
Page: A15


While I disagree with the Sept. 15 editorial "Just say no" for a 
number of reasons, I was most disappointed to see the editorial board 
perpetuating the long-disproved myth that marijuana is a "gateway to 
more dangerous drugs."

This myth originated decades ago, with surveys showing that most 
users of hard drugs such as heroin had previously tried marijuana. 
But this connection, widely publicized by politicians trying to drum 
up support for the failed "War on Drugs," is meaningless - most users 
also consumed milk before trying heroin.

Easier access to marijuana also hasn't been shown to lead to 
increased use of hard drugs. For example, less than 2 percent of 
people in the marijuana-friendly Netherlands have tried cocaine, 
compared with 16 percent in the United States.

The only way in which marijuana serves as a gateway is because its 
users need to buy it on the black market, often from people who also 
sell other illegal drugs. By allowing D.C. residents to grow 
marijuana in the privacy of their homes, Initiative No. 71 would 
break this link and make it less likely that marijuana users will 
come into contact with other drugs.

Sam Tracy, Somerville, Mass. The writer is chairman of Students for 
Sensible Drug Policy.
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