Why are politicians still referring to marijuana as a gateway drug?

https://theconversation.com/why-are-politicians-still-referring-to-marijuana-as-a-gateway-drug-39348

When analyzing what acts as a “gateway” to hard drug use, there are a number of factors at play. None involve marijuana.

-Poverty and poor social environment is a gateway to drugs, according to much research.

-Association with people who use hard drugs is a better predictor of harder drug use.

-Certain mental illnesses, such as antisocial personality and bipolar disorder, are found to pre-dispose some people to use drugs.

-Other research notes that criminalization and prohibition are real gateways to harder drugs…

Meanwhile, in the United States, addiction researchers and addiction treatment professionals are heavily invested in the weakly supported claim that marijuana is a gateway to hard drugs. For decades, scientists who study addiction have received millions in government and pharmaceutical funding to perpetuate the gateway hypothesis. Many would lose their respected reputations (or continued funding) if a gateway mechanism is not a legitimate research goal.

Those who work in the vast addiction treatment profession are especially invested in keeping the gateway theory believable, since the majority of their treatment patients are marijuana users. Their jobs depend on a belief in addiction as a disease and on marijuana being an addictive drug…

Studies consistently find that the traumatic experience of being arrested and incarcerated for marijuana possession is the most harmful aspect of marijuana among young people. Arrest for possession can result in devastating – often permanent – legal and social problems, especially for minority youth and low-income families…

On the periphery of the marijuana-as-gateway-drug debates are studies showing marijuana as beneficial for the treatment of opiate addicts…

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