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Five myths about marijuana

No, it doesn’t lead to violent crime, and no, those strains aren’t that different

It’s been seven years since the country’s first legal recreational marijuana shops opened in Colorado and Washington state. What was once a bold social experiment is now commonplace, with 18 states plus D.C. — representing well over one-third of the U.S. population — permitting recreational use. Nevertheless, myths about marijuana use and legalization remain widespread. Some are stubborn artifacts of the long-standing war on drugs, while others reflect the influence of a growing industry looking to attract new customers. Here are a few of the most persistent ones.

Myth No. 1

Marijuana is a gateway drug.

“Do most people who use other drugs start with marijuana? Most definitely,” reads a fact sheet on the website of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a prominent anti-pot organization. “Research demonstrates that 99% of those addicted to other drugs started with alcohol and marijuana,” the group claims. Pot-squeamish politicians — including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), President Biden and Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) — have cited this “gateway theory” as a reason to keep restrictions in place.

In reality, no credible evidence shows that pot makes people more inclined to use other drugs. That, at least, was the conclusion of an exhaustive 96-page inquiry by the Justice Department and the Library of Congress in 2018. “No causal link between cannabis use and the use of other illicit drugs can be claimed at this time,” the authors wrote. [Read More @ The Washington Post]

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