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Dragging out the scare tactics against marijuana initiatives (updated)

The drug czar’s office (along with major segments of the law enforcement community) has been getting pretty hysterical about the notion of the marijuana legalization initiatives in Nevada and Colorado. Gee, it’s almost as if their jobs were being threatened…
It’s fascinating to watch the melt-down and how far they’ll go to demonize marijuana. For Walters to trot out this dog-and-pony show is just bizarre (Marijuana causes you to drive 85 in a 45 mph zone and kill someone? I don’t think so. And the notion that they really couldn’t do anything to the driver because of the lack of drug laws is just… stupid.)
Of course, you always want to take advantage of the drug-fear-de-jour, so the drug warriors are working hard to tie marijuana legalization to… that’s right — Meth.
Perennial Nevada idiot Guy Farmer got into it early:

In 2004 Carson City Justice of the Peace John Tatro told me that at least half of the meth abusers who appear before him also tested positive for marijuana. And just last month the Appeal published a graphic example of how marijuana can lead to the use of hard drugs. It was the story of 17-year-old Cyndle Bell of Carson City and her personal battle against meth addiction, which she chronicled in a 15-minute documentary produced as her senior project at Carson High School.

There was also a law enforcement officer recently (see update below) who said that practically every marijuana case he saw also involved methamphetamines.
The drug czar’s office wouldn’t want to miss out on that kind of action, so we have “Plan called a meth gateway” in the Denver Post this week, with nonsense from ONDCP associate deputy director John Horton:

A proposal on the state ballot to loosen marijuana laws in Colorado would make it harder to fight the war on methamphetamine abuse, a federal drug official said Monday.
John Horton, a former Oregon prosecutor, said Amendment 44 – which would allow people 21 and older to legally possess an ounce or less of pot – would make marijuana accessible to more people and allow them to fall victim to the highly-addictive and destructive properties of methamphetamines.
“Many meth addicts say they started with marijuana,” said Horton. “So I don’t think we want Colorado to be a testing ground for new marijuana laws.”

Of course, the truth is that marijuana use does not lead to meth (or any other drug for that matter). The so-called gateway theory is dragged out and mis-used time and time again. Note Horton’s last statement: “many meth addicts say they started with marijuana.” That’s intended to lead you to believe that marijuana led them to meth and would lead others to meth, which is simple nonsense. Those who use the so-called “hard” drugs are more likely to try everything else (like alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, coffee) first. If marijuana wasn’t available, they’d take another path to get there.
The only other legitimate “gateway” effect is the connection that drugs have due to their illegality, and the potential that it is easier to buy one illegal drug if you’re already buying drugs from criminals (of course, marijuana legalization efforts actually remove this potential).
If you want a quick and easy method to see if marijuana leads to meth, just look at the government’s own figures. If marijuana caused meth use, then the people in the blue bars in this chart would be ending up in the red bars.

A picture named chart.gif

Hmmm… Doesn’t seem to be happening. Even if we assume that every single meth user is also a marijuana user, the percentage of marijuana users who end up using meth is practically insignificant.
But of course that won’t deter the drug warriors from their scare tactics.
Now all we need is a chart to determine if being a drug warrior is a gateway to lying.
Update: Sukoi found the video with the Nevada law enforcement officer’s quote. Amendment 44 Legal Marijuana Conference. It’s drug warrior Pete Hautzinger (Mesa County District Attorney):

“I virtually never see a possession of marijuana case that doesn’t also involve methamphetamines.”

“bullet” See Brian Bennett’s excellent charts on Methamphetamine usage that help give a bigger picture.

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