Cannabis gateway theory challenged by new research results

3 09 2010

DURHAM, N.H. — New research from the University of New Hampshire shows that the “gateway effect” of marijuana — that teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to move on to harder illicit drugs as young adults — is overblown.

Billboard paid for by US tax payers in Portland

Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as young adults has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used cannabis.

Conducted by UNH associate professors of sociology Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, the research appears in the September 2010, issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in the article, “A Life-course Perspective on the ‘Gateway Hypothesis’.”

“There seems to be this idea that we can prevent later drug problems by making sure kids never smoke pot,” Dr. Van Gundy, told CBS News. “But whether marijuana smokers go on to use other illicit drugs depends more on social factors like being exposed to stress and being unemployed – not so much whether they smoked a joint in the eighth grade.”

“In light of these findings, we urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the ‘drug problem,’ ” Van Gundy and Rebellon say.

The researchers used survey data from 1,286 young adults who attended Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990s. Within the final sample, 26 percent of the respondents are African American, 44 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are non-Hispanic white.

The researchers found that young adults who did not graduate from high school or attend college were more likely to have used marijuana as teenagers and other illicit substances in young adulthood. In addition, those who used marijuana as teenagers and were unemployed following high school were more likely to use other illicit drugs.

However, the association between teenage marijuana use and other illicit drug abuse by young adults fades once stresses, such as unemployment, diminish.

“Employment in young adulthood can protect people by ‘closing’ the cannabis gateway, so over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities,” Van Gundy says.

In addition, once young adults reach age 21, the gateway effect subsides entirely.

“While marijuana use may serve as a gateway to other illicit drug use in adolescence, our results indicate that the effect may be short-lived, subsiding by age 21. Interestingly, age emerges as a protective status above and beyond the other life statuses and conditions considered here. We find that respondents ‘age out’ of marijuana’s gateway effect regardless of early teen stress exposure or education, work, or family statuses,” the researchers say.

The researchers found that the strongest predictor of other illicit drug use appears to be race-ethnicity, not prior use of marijuana. Non-Hispanic whites show the greatest odds of other illicit substance use, followed by Hispanics, and then by African Americans.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling more than 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

Past research had already largely invalidated the gateway theory. Most recently, in January a study was released indicating that marijuana use actually discourages hard drug use.
A 2002 RAND study dismissed the gateway theory and raised doubts about the legitimacy of federal drug policies based upon its premise.




Quotes from the people that made marijuana illegal

10 12 2008

These quotes are too ridiculous to even consider taking serious, however most of our current drug policies are based on the opinions and efforts of these same people.

Harry J. Anslinger

anslinger1Anslinger was an extremely ambitious man, and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics as an amazing career opportunity — a new government agency with the opportunity to define both the problem and the solution. He immediately realized that opiates and cocaine wouldn’t be enough to help build his agency, so he latched on to marijuana and started to work on making it illegal at the federal level.Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. Some of his quotes regarding marijuana…

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

And he loved to pull out his own version of the “assassin” definition:

“In the year 1090, there was founded in Persia the religious and military order of the Assassins, whose history is one of cruelty, barbarity, and murder, and for good reason: the members were confirmed users of hashish, or marihuana, and it is from the Arabs’ ‘hashashin’ that we have the English word ‘assassin.’”

Yellow Journalism

hearst1Harry Anslinger got some additional help from William Randolf Hearst, owner of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to help. First, he had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn’t want to see the development of hemp paper in competition. Second (and perhaps most importantly), he had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so he hated Mexicans. Third, telling lurid lies about Mexicans (and the devil marijuana weed causing violence) sold newspapers, making him rich.Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:

“Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.” “By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”

And other nationwide columns…

“Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug.” “Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim’s life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES — that is a matter of cold record.”

Source: legalizepot.wordpress.com








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