While we live in an age of “alternative facts,” we don’t have to accept this ideology when it comes to cannabis. The truth will set you free so don’t waste another second in shame and/or panic due to fear-mongering. Below we highlight common myths and misconceptions used by opponents of marijuana as a means to “scare people straight.” Read them, learn about it, and arm yourself with the truth.
Myth #1: Cannabis Is A Gateway Drug
A tale as old as time… it’s been said over and over again that marijuana is a gateway drug, meaning that many who experiment with it will inevitably move on to bigger and more dangerous drugs. But this simplified conclusion simply isn’t true. According to a research study (Morral, 2002), marijuana users were only likely to experiment with harder drugs if and when offered by a friend or dealer. The researchers concluded, “Something like a marijuana gateway effect probably does exist, if only because marijuana purchases bring users in contact with the black market that also brings… access to hard drugs.” In layman’s terms, if purchasers are buying illegal marijuana, they are exposed to offerings of harder drugs – like an impulse purchase. If there’s an opportunity for an upsell, like any opportunist, drug dealers will try to sell you on it. And if and when marijuana buyers take the upsell, it’s simply because they were offered it, and rarely – if ever – is because they’re trying to chase a bigger high no longer placated by marijuana usage.
Myth #2: Marijuana Is Addictive
No, marijuana is not addictive. According to Drug Policy, “Fewer than 10% of those who try marijuana ever end up meeting the clinical criteria for dependence, whereas 32% of tobacco users and 15% of alcohol users do.” Interesting isn’t it? Marijuana’s dependency rate is less than 10% in users while tobacco and alcohol are 32% and 15%, respectively, and yet cigarettes and alcohol are legal. Alcohol has a proven dependency rate higher than marijuana and is responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (Centers for Disease Control) per year. Let that sink in. One is totally legal (alcohol) while the other (cannabis) is fighting to be nationally recognized as medicine – as proven to be true over and over again by science.
Myth #3: Marijuana Use Increases Crime Rates
Anyone familiar with pot use can strongly contest the connection between marijuana and violence. As Fox News’s John Stossel put it best “Violent? People who get high are rarely violent. The violence occurs because when something’s illegal, it is sold only on the black market. And that causes crime. Drug dealers can’t just call the cops if someone tries to steal their supply. So they form gangs and arm themselves to the teeth.” In short, prohibition leads to criminal activity – which is why it’s so important to legalize marijuana across the board in order to put this outdated myth to rest.
The Truth Will Set You Free
Arm yourself with the truth and do not let these myths perpetuate any longer. Marijuana is safe, healthy, and legal in many cities for these obvious reasons and more.