Almost two years ago, Maia Szalavitz put a stake in Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth That Will Not Die

It seemed a shame that she even had to talk about it. It’s so thoroughly discredited that it shouldn’t even be a discussion (and, of course, what we’re talking about is the notion that marijuana use causes users to move on to other drugs). We have decades of data on drug use proving that the vast majority of marijuana users never show any interest in doing “harder” drugs.

Maia is right. It still will not die. In their recent book “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know,” the Kleiman, Caulkins, Hawken, and Kilmer gang were more interested in promoting uncertainty than in science.

“What is not at all clear, however, is whether marijuana use causes subsequent use of other drugs, or whether it is merely a signal […]

They have apparently decided since there isn’t final conclusive and absolute proof of [non-causality/global warming/round earth revolving around the sun/gravity/etc.] they’ll actively not rule out [causality/warming denial/there be dragons/etc.]

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40 Responses to Gateway

  1. darkcycle says:

    It starts to look more and more like buried in their Legalization book is a pathetic attempt to preserver their own phoney-baloney jobs.

  2. Servetus says:

    The very nature of the question ‘does marijuana lead to other drugs?’ anticipates a post hoc ergo propter hoc response. The question is restricted by its being limited to a small number of variables, as in a binary choice that excludes all other realities. The channeled response that results from a question like this is the same one giving rise to superstitions that become difficult for people to shake.

    A different question, one that asks if a loss of credibility in leadership could cause large numbers of people to ignore some or all illegal drug warnings, encompasses unlimited facts and variables for its solution, some of which are likely to include the specific facts and variables needed to arrive at a rational and productive response.

    Prohibitionists are addicted to mental shortcuts. If it’s easy to believe and scary, then it’s certain. Belief itself is easy. Empiricism and a reality based providence is not. Coupled with a society that seeks to dumb down its citizens, we end up with drug wars.

  3. Bruce says:

    Smoking Hash in Germany in 1973 was the gateway to earning my Pilots Licence. Sounds odd but,,, yup.

    • darkcycle says:

      No, makes perfect sense to us. My friend Pete’s first experience with Jamaican led directly to his purchase of a sailboat. Smoking my first joint in Jr. High School led to a second career in Patient Services. With the right perspective, it’s not a big jump. 😉

  4. Matthew Meyer says:

    Won’t die, indeed.

    Just saw this yesterday:,0,726579.story

    The article teases in the lede:
    “Anti-drug advocates who have admonished for years that marijuana is a “gateway drug” may be on to something, according to a study by Yale University School of Medicine researchers.”

    But then it sags with the same-o:
    The study “showed that alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were **associated with** an increased likelihood of prescription drug abuse in men 18 to 25. In women of that age, only marijuana use was linked with a higher likelihood of prescription drug abuse.”


  5. Dr. Stickybrain says:

    The gateway theory
    Lies disproved
    that obstacle to legalizing
    has been removed
    Yet it seems
    It never dies
    Renewed again
    By prohibitionist lies

    YES! He knew!
    About John Walters’
    Pink tutu
    And Robert DuPont
    In a donkey show!
    And Kleiman
    tried to hide them
    and rejustify them.

    But his logic was flawed
    His arguments, odd
    It didn’t take much to see him a clod.
    Or some sort of yob
    Protecting his job
    And spinning half truths
    “Pot’s corrupting our youth!”

    “BOLLOCK!” said Pete
    Stand down!
    Cross dressing logicians!
    Sad prohibitionist patricians.
    People can choose!
    We win, you lose!

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Wouldn’t forcing a poor donkey to do that be an open and shut case of animal cruelty?

      • darkcycle says:

        Obviously, the Donkey in question would have to be very well paid.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          They could offer to pay me all the money in the world and it wouldn’t matter, there’s still no way in hell I’m getting a hard on for “Dr.” Dupont.

  6. strayan says:

    I love the authors’ disclaimer:

    NIDA had no role in the analysis, preparation, and writing of the report, or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  7. darkcycle says:

    Had to whip out my Academic/English translator for that! But he’s 100% right. Drug seeking behavior will occur independent of the order of introduction. Opportunity is the key.

  8. strayan says:

    I wrote off pretty much all government propaganda about illict drugs about 10 minutes after my first toke. My 14 year old mind went something like this:

    “wow, everything they told me about cannabis was a lie. I wonder what other drugs they’ve lied about. I don’t really like cannabis, what else you got?”

  9. kaptinemo says:

    The lie won’t die because the liars aren’t punished in court, where lying carries severe penalties.

    Put DrugWarriors on the stand, and only the dimmest bulbs in that particular box will open their mouths; all the rest would immediately invoke their 5th Amendment rights. Anything less and they risk immediate perjury. They literally cannot open their mouths on this subject for more than 5 seconds without engaging in mendacity.

    When a DrugWarrior finally takes the stand, and is sworn in to tell the truth about the origins and effectiveness of the DrugWar, the lies will end. Not before.

    • divadab says:

      Hey, Kapn, most of these guys are field-dependent followers, and as such don’t even know they are lying. They just believe and act on the lies their duplicitous leaders tell them. This is who we need to go after – the lying scum who feed the lies to the dummies.

  10. DonDig says:

    I guess that was the reason for the Michelle Leonhart testimony in June. All she could say was ‘all illegal drugs are bad’ because if she gave any real information she would either perjure herself (if that’s the right term regarding congressional testimony) or violate the terms of her employment.
    Surely Rep. Jared Polis didn’t realize the position she was in: that she was compelled to ‘lie’ by the terms of her employment. That is what amazes me: why bother even questioning her, since she works for a division of government whose mission is to prevent any new information from changing the negative status of what has already been handed down? (What genius wrote that law, BTW?) (Science wins again, I guess. Ugh!)

  11. Dante says:

    Pot is not the gateway to harder drugs.

    Oxygen is.

  12. darkcycle says:

    Honestly, I cannot WAIT for the day legalization arrives (in any form). Starting that glorious hour, on that wonderful day, the Kleiman’s and the et al’s will be forced to stop their hand wringing hypotheticals and yield to HARD DATA. I have a feeling Kleiman detests having to WORK for a living.

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      As hard as some folks have been working to make sure that the cannabis economy either fails or is as seedy as possible in California, it is amazing how well it has all worked.

      So now I see these same people scrambling to find ways they can claim that life under Prop 215 has been more dangerous. There is really not that much there, but the sheer volume of yellow journalism on the subject of dispensary robberies and home invasions for pot has doubtless led some to conclude that there is a real public safety crisis going on.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Did you hear about the church shooting in Richmond CA? No it’s not recent, but I never hear anyone talking about the epidemic of church shootings and how we’d all be better off if we did away with religionism of any stripe.

        Two teens injured in Richmond church shooting

        RICHMOND, CA (KGO) — In a brazen attack in the East Bay Sunday, three men stormed a church in Richmond, opening fire during a service at the New Gethsemane Church. Two teenagers were hit by the bullets and the gunmen got away.

        New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ is a very spiritual church. About 175 church members were engaged in open prayer and gospel music was blaring when the shooting happened.

        If you think that churches are safe, you need to think again.

  13. Tony Aroma says:

    A little more research for this article is needed. The gateway theory was discredited the very first time it was actually studied. That was the LaGuardia Report in the early 1940s.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Unfortunately it appears that quite a large percentage of prohibitionist parasites believe that using while insisting that something is true in a tone of somber authority constitutes evidence.

    • allan says:

      “gateway theory”… fecundities abound! Calloo Callay! Somewhere out there, every day, there is an official, a local councilman, police chief, judge… that utters those immortal words “we know mahreewanna leads to harder drug use.” Ptooey! Lying scum. I think for too long the underdog role has kept us (not counting the interwwweb exceptions)… polite. Civil protocol requires that we maintain a peaceable presence. I mean after all we wouldn’t want to look… unbalanced. Ptooey again.

      It’s time to be pissed. Kinda like the old Far Side w the vultures sitting on a branch, I’m tired of waiting for something to die, I’m gonna go kill something. Really, screw this.

      As the litany of innocent citizen (aka human beings) deaths grows, as our criminal just us system digs deeper into our lives and it’s armed enforcers resort to shooting Corgies and Black Labs (look out! he’s slobbering! and that wagging tail could break a leg!) the time for polite has ended.

      Gil Kerlikowske deserves no respect and needs to be called on the mat. he needs to stand in front of those who pay his salary and answer some questions, not deliver pre-digested pap. His office a joke and generator of untruth.

      Not a war? Well gosh, how many armored vehicles and assault ready LEOs constitutes a police Army? Hmmm…? When my friends Tam and Marcella were raided by 49 armed and armored law enforcement officers (and backed by a piece-o’-shit warrant) who came away w/ a pipe and less than an eighth after terrorizing 4 adults and placing Marcella in a spit hood. These are genuinely nice people treated like captured enemies rather than citizens with rights to be respected. Not a war? The hell it ain’t.

      And of course when I get in this mood the mighty Twain’s pen skitters across my brain:

      “O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

      • Windy says:

        I so agree. I’ve been saying it is time to show our anger for a number of years, now, everyone keeps telling me that it would not benefit us to do so that it would only make things worse, baloney. We’ve been “civil” and “polite” for far too long, we have every right to be angry! When we are not allowed self-determination and self-ownership, our government and citizenry has no legitimate reason to use the phrase “this is a free country” or to praise the “freedom Americans enjoy”, because without self-ownership and self-determination there is no freedom.

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  15. thelbert says:

    this is the kind of thing the monkeys write before they accidently type out the works of shakespeare.

  16. allan says:

    and yes Virginia, prohibition IS a gateway to corruption:

    FBI: Inmates and guards part of massive drug dealing ring in Indiana prisons

    and gosh Wally! Real White Supremacists too! prohibition sure is keen!

  17. FlyingTooLow says:

    I smoked my first joint in December, 1967, at the tender age of 21.

    Now, a mere 44 years later, I still smoke pot. I have never ‘graduated’ to ‘harder’ drugs.

    I am living proof that this propaganda is a fallacy…no, it is a blatant lie.

    The worst experience I had with marijuana was spending 5 years in Federal Prison for a pot offense.

    While there, I watched armed bank robbers come and go in as little as 20 months.

    When I went to the parole board after more than 3 years ‘behind the wall,’ I pointed this out to the panel members. Their response: “You must understand that yours was a very serious offense.”

    I laughed about that for another 2 years (as I still sat in prison)…then wrote my book:

    Shoulda Robbed a Bank.

    I hope you check it out. I need the money.

  18. FlyingTooLow says:

    All card-carrying members of the DEA need to read: Shoulda Robbed a Bank

    Here is one of its reviews:

    5.0 out of 5 stars… If David Sedaris had written ‘Catcher in the Rye’..this would be it, June 30, 2012

    Amazon Verified Purchase

    This review is from: Shoulda Robbed a Bank (Kindle Edition)

    I have never smoked pot in my life…nor do I ever care to.
    I read about this book in numerous Huffington Post comments. Thought I would read it because I know nothing about marijuana or the people involved with it. I am ecstatic that I did. Funny, Funny, Funny!!!
    The chapters are like short stories. Stories about unloading boats with helicopters, close encounters with law enforcement, traveling through the jungles of South America. The chapter about the author’s first time smoking marijuana made me feel like I was with him…coughing.
    All of the characters were just a group of loveable, nice guys and girls. Not what I had been raised to believe…hysterical maniacs high on pot bent on death and mayhem. They were nothing like that.
    If you have ever read any of David Sedaris’ books, and like them…you will love Shoulda Robbed a Bank.
    And the crazy things happening reminded me of Holden Caufield in ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and the way he staggered through life.
    The way the words are put together are like nothing I have ever heard. I am sure I will use many of the sayings found in this book just to dazzle my friends. A terrific read. I love this book.

    • darkcycle says:

      Okay. Now it’s spam. I hope you do well with your book. Well enough that spamming us is no longer worth your while. Post something on topic or go away, please.

    • Byddaf yn egluro: says:

      Next time, kindly save yourself, and us, all the trouble, wrap your pathetic spam in rusty razor wire and keister it!

  19. Duncan20903 says:

    From the “res ipsa loquitur” category:

    POLL: Would You Turn in Your Child for Marijuana Possession?
    Balancing the lesson taught by dealing with law enforcement against the consequences of having drug possession on their child’s record is the dilemma facing parents.
    By Matthew Schroeder

    The arrest of an 18-year-old in Muskego [WI] for marijuana possession sparked a conversation on Patch about the responsibility of parents in relation to their child’s drug use.

    In this particular case, the teen wouldn’t let police search his car despite their suspicions, but when his mother arrived she gave the go-ahead and the man was arrested and charged with marijuana possession.

    What a precocious young man. It’s not often I read a news story about a cannabis bust and enjoy the pleasure of seeing the people who were targeted by the jack boots refuse to allow a search.

    Perhaps this story will say something to the effect of “why bother to say no? They’ll just search anyway. But in the story above our protagonist has better than an odds on chance of having the evidence suppressed and getting a walk.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      The sentence above, Perhaps this story will say something to the effect of “why bother to say no? They’ll just search anyway.” should have read, “Perhaps some people reading this story will say something to the effect of “why bother to say no? They’ll just search anyway.”

  20. Duncan20903 says:


    I’ve got to admit that we don’t see many pathetic excuses for human beings engaging in disgusting, deranged behavior like that of this common (expletive deleted) anymore. Make sure that you’ve taken your blood pressure medication before reading:

    Tough love: South Carolina mom punishes son with ‘Smoked pot, got caught!’ sign

    Hopefully the boy learns his lesson and doesn’t get caught again.

  21. allan says:

    we need a pool! I’ve got 10 simolians that says the number of times the drug war will be mentioned at the Repug Convention is a whopping 0. If Ron Paul gets to speak, the bet’s off… and if he does speak I hope he endorses Johnson-Gray (wouldn’t that be a hoot!)

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