For decades, The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.) has launched campaign after campaign, attacking marijuana and warning users of the dangers associated with enjoying a high. It looks as if D.A.R.E. may have changed its’ tune on ganja though, as the largest anti-drug group in the world no longer categorizes weed as a gateway drug.
A strong argument against marijuana legalization has always been the idea that marijuana is a gateway drug, eventually leading all users to try harder, more serious substances. However, every user knows the only place a good buzz leads you is to the kitchen. By removing cannabis from the list of gateway drugs, D.A.R.E. seems to finally be giving a nod of recognition to the importance of cannabis in our culture.
Science and the economy agree
Hundreds of studies and countless hours of research have already been performed in order to better understand all the benefits marijuana has to offer. Scientists have proven ganja helps treat epilepsy, cancer, headaches, body pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD; the list goes on and on. There is undeniable proof of the medicinal effects associated with marijuana use.
By D.A.R.E. removing cannabis from their list of gateway drugs, it begins to remove stereotypes associated with using weed. It forces people to take a different look at a substance once feared to induce “reefer madness” with just one puff.
Marijuana has also turned into an important cash crop for states with legalization laws. In 2015 alone, Colorado made $53 million in tax revenue on legal weed; Oregon made $11 million in just their first week. More than any other motivation, the almighty dollar is driving more and more states to consider some form of marijuana legalization.
What’s left on the list?
Alcohol and tobacco are the only two remaining items on the D.A.R.E. gateway drug list. Both products are legal globally, despite the fact that scientists and researchers have proven both are extremely more dangerous than marijuana. By removing weed from the list, D.A.R.E. seems to imply they, too, see ganja as less of a threat than alcohol and tobacco.
While D.A.R.E has recently posted a statement on their website clarifying their view, “that marijuana is both an illegal and harmful drug to the youth of this nation,” it still has been removed from their gateway list. The statement goes on to boast about anti-drug youth programs, with facts and figures about decreased usage directly associated with their organization, while holding firm that they are not pro-legalization and any journalist implying such is not doing proper research.
This writer is certainly not implying D.A.R.E. is pro-legalization, as they are first and foremost an anti-drug organization, however they do seem to becoming less anti-marijuana.
Even if D.A.R.E. did not intended for it to happen, by no longer labeling cannabis as a gateway drug it helps to move the legalization movement that much closer to acceptance. While they make it clear they do not support legalization, their actions have already helped propel the cause.
Do you think marijuana is a gateway drug? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.