The “Gateway Theory” And the Logical Fallacies of Marijuana Prohibition

Article by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and author of How Do CBD Topicals Work In Our Body?

 

Ironically, one of the basic lies about cannabis portrays marijuana users as “Stoners” who can’t think clearly. “Trippy, dude!”

 

In the real world, prohibitionist propaganda is based on essentially nonsensical arguments. One of the most common was originally called the “Stepping Stone” theory. Marijuana was supposed to be the “Stepping Stone” to other drugs, notably heroin. For some reason it was renamed the “Gateway Theory.” Very scientific.

 

I have had many debates with narcs about it.

 

It goes something like this:

“I’ve never arrested a junkie (or whatever) who didn’t start with marijuana.”

 

“Start with..??” 

 

“It was the first illegal drug they used when they were still in their ’teens.”

 

“But alcohol and tobacco are illegal for teens, so it was not their first illegal drug.”

 

See WHY DO THE BRITISH INSIST ON CONFUSING CANNABIS WITH TOBACCO?

 

Meanwhile back at the Logic lessons. This fallacy is called “Post hoc ergo propter hoc”, “After this, therefore because of this.”

 

In 1972, when I wrote about this in National Review, William F. Buckley Jr. called it “Post pot, Ergo Propter pot.

 

Also see The Conservative Case for Legalizing Marijuana 

 

Of course, it was worse than just bad logic. It was disastrous social policy. Marijuana prohibition was and is “The Gateway.” By keeping marijuana in the black market prohibition created the real connection between marijuana and hard drugs. 

 

See THE BIG PROBLEM WITH THE “BIG MARIJUANA” BOGEYMAN

 

One of the main reasons for the Dutch tolerance for cannabis being sold in the “coffeeshops” is called the “Separation of the Markets”, meaning simply “No Hard Drugs.”

 

See Drug policy of the Netherlands 

 

Over the next few weeks, I want to explore a few other examples of bad logic that have been a part of marijuana prohibition for decades. Illogic is the logic of tyranny.