It’s Not a Drug. It’s a Leaf.

Marijuana is a gateway drug.

Growing up, we were all informed of the dangers of drugs and the slippery slope that using them could lead to. I specifically remember being told that marijuana was a “gateway drug” by Sergeant Parker, the infamous D.A.R.E. guy who came into our elementary classroom to scare a bunch of seven year olds from taking drugs in their adolescent lives. Recently, I have been thinking about just how pointless these scare tactics actually are. Sure, being scared straight and believing that if I accepted drugs from a stranger, then I would become a failure in life worked on me as a kid, but my views have changed as I’ve become more informed of the effects of drug use.

With drug policies regarding the possession and distribution of marijuana remaining to be the focal point of new laws being created, the commonplace of marijuana described as a gateway drug have come into question for many of those who hold legislative power. Having believed this commonplace for so long, it has made me become adamant when learning of the actual effects that marijuana use has on our bodies. After learning about the relatively minimal effects that cannabis produces, my views have changed on the topic. By realizing how little harm is caused from marijuana use and the stigma attached to its usage, my belief in this commonplace has waived. This realization has helped shape my identity because I now take statements such as “marijuana is a gateway drug” with a grain of salt. Instead of believing everything that I’ve been told from a young age by authoritative figures, I instead challenge these teachings and determine for myself what I will or will not choose to believe. We can’t always believe what those in power are telling us, because anything can be framed to appeal to the audience to sway their opinions in a certain direction.

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