This is the Gateway Theory nutshelled –
Cannabis makes you do hard drugs.
And here’s my personal theory – which is catchily entitled the How Life Actually Is Theory –
The type of person who ends up on hard drugs is the type of person who smoked cannabis as a teenager.
The only person who doesn’t think The Gateway Theory is eye-rollingly stupid is a person who hasn’t thought it through, like at all. Analyze this idea that cannabis is somehow transforming decent people into heroin fiends, shine the spotlight of common sense on the issue for a few seconds, and you are forced to dismiss it entirely.
The Hinged Mechanism Theory
I’d like to know if the following scenario ever happened: a non-smoker, non-drinker, non-cannabis user just decides out of the blue to start INJECTING HEROIN INTO THEIR ARM. I’d be curious how many times in the history of the world that has happened. My guess: zero. And why is that? Because it’s insane? Well, yeah. But it’s also because some people are just naturally prone to become addicts and some aren’t. And if you are unlucky enough to be prone to addiction you probably started out with tobacco and alcohol and then moved to cannabis. Why? Because of a gateway or a door, or some other hinged mechanism that opens and close? No. Because those drugs are the easiest for kids to get hold of? Yeah.
But to suggest that any of those “soft drugs” brought out a latent addictive streak that forced the addict to inject heroin into their vein is a fairy tale, a Fox News version of reality. Some people just have addictive personalities; some people endured personal trauma or physical pain and found momentary solace in a needle or a pipe; some people’s self-destructive and hedonistic impulses got the better of them, and they paid a heavy price for that indulgence. But no one became a hard drug addict as a direct result of having a joint after school one day. To imply such a thing is silly, and shows a lack of understanding.
This Gateway Theory delusion is also built on a lack of empathy for drug addicts, and an inability to see the world as the addict sees it. If Gateway Theory proponents could only step into the addict’s shoe they would immediately ditch the theory. And they would also learn something about how deep-seated the drug craving goes, and thus how doomed this War on Drugs – AKA Prohibition – truly is. Of all the groups in society you might term “fair weather consumers”, a drug addict is at the very bottom of the list. A drug addict wants a very specific product that does a very specific thing, and will do anything to get it. Yet, somehow, the powers-that-be are so naïve, so hopelessly childlike when it comes to drugs, that they haven’t understood a basic, undeniable truth: trying to get between a drug addict and his drug is an utterly futile exercise.
The Inhumanity of Prohibition
For addicts to be treated as criminals is a ludicrous and cruel solution to a severe social health problem. We consider ourselves ethical and decent people. We don’t act in cruel ways, or if we occasionally do we feel guilty about it. Yet, today, with our own money the government are acting cruelly. This cruelty can only end when no person anywhere is locked up in a cell for growing a plant, and when all the people whose lives have been taking away by a heartless and cruel government are released, with full pardons.
Also, the Gateway Theory is DUMB.