By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Culture
Friday, February 3, 2012 at 8:37 am
By Benjamin Wright
Special to Toke of the Town
This is not a call to arms or an indictment of the government for failing to preserve the liberties our forefathers enjoyed, vis a vis the growing and smoking of marijuana, but instead consider this a call to honesty, a reminder of how important the truth is.
When used as an argument for the prohibition of marijuana, the Gateway Theory is interpreted to mean that if an individual experiments with cannabis, they are more at risk to consume dangerous illegal substances than they otherwise would have been.
Though there is absolutely no physiological or psychological rationale behind this argument -- in fact, no scientific evidence of any kind for it -- it has become a battle cry of the marijuana prohibitionist and has been fed to the American people as Drug War propaganda for the last 40 years.
That being said, I don't think it's altogether wrong.
|NY Daily News|
Rather, it is being massively misinterpreted and distorted by teachers, parents, lawyers, legislators and law enforcement. The credibility of the very people we're supposed to be able to trust is eroded when they get caught in the giant, never-ending lie that is "marijuana is bad."
The Gateway Theory actually turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Marijuana's Schedule I status implies that it is just as dangerous, if not more so, as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine or prescription pharmaceuticals. When this is exposed as being completely false by a young person trying marijuana for the first time, they are at risk of assuming that since marijuana turned out to be safe, hard drugs will as well.
A "Well, I was lied to about this, what else have I been lied to about?" mentality develops quickly as does the desire to try other illegal substances.
However, as most of us know, there is a huge difference between a medicinal, naturally occurring plant that has been shown to be one of the safest substances on the planet, and poisonous chemical compounds manufactured in the form of drugs. Unfortunately, this distinction isn't made in a simplistic "drugs are bad" approach to substance abuse education. Just so no one misses it, MARIJUANA IS NOT A "DRUG" and we are doing a terrible disservice to our children by telling them it is.
|Benjamin Wright authored this guest opinion/editorial for Toke of the Town|
I know it's difficult for cops and politicians, but it's time to be honest. It's time to be honest with ourselves and, more importantly, it's time to be honest with our future generations.
We have no trouble drinking a beer in front of our children. We have no trouble explaining to them what alcohol is or why it's only for adults. Eventually, we even have no problem teaching our children how to be responsible around alcohol and how to consume alcohol responsibly. How is it that we are able to approach such a deadly substance with such maturity and logic but not one that's essentially harmless?
Teenagers are smarter than we give them credit for. A rational conversation about marijuana is much more likely to cause them to respect the herb than to abuse it.
If we could tell the truth about marijuana to our kids, we could rebuild the credibility that has been lost. We could end the validity of the Gateway Theory by making sure young people understand there is a difference between marijuana and hard drugs.
All it takes is the truth and if the truth can prevent even just one life from being destroyed, I'm willing to stand up and tell it like it is.
This is a call to honesty, a call to tell the truth about marijuana, to free the herb for all peoples, of all backgrounds, of all faiths and religions for the healing of all mankind. When I have a family, I pledge to do my part in creating a future I can be proud of by telling my kids the truth about cannabis. I hope you'll help me out by doing the same.
Peace and Love from your bud, Ben Wright