Friday, March 27, 2009

Sen. Grassley -- marijuana is a gateway drug

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) often is the lone skeptic to challenge some pointless or abusive government program.

But regarding the complex issues of drugs, he wears the absolutist blinders of many who have family members who suffer with substance abuse tragedies. Reputedly a sibling has been an alcoholic for a long time, and the Senator is a teetotaler.

USA Today notes that following Attorney General Eric Holder's off-the-cuff policy-making regarding federal medical marijuana enforcement, many states are taking another look at their medical marijuana laws. But Sen. Grassley is quoted, "Marijuana is a gateway to higher drugs." This is a shibboleth ["a word or saying used by adherents of a party, sect, or belief and usu. regarded by others as empty of real meaning" -- Merriam - Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed.].

Instead of quoting a man who has spent nearly his entire adult life (the last 53 years) hustling votes starting when he was 23 years old in 1956 -- a man who calls himself "just a hog farmer from New Hartford, Iowa" -- USA Today could have consulted the scientists of the Institute of Medicine, affiliated with the National Research Council, who studied marijuana for the report, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Scientific Base."

Those scientists found, "There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone on the basis of its particular physiological effect." (p. 99).

"..the gateway theory is a social theory. The latter does not suggest that the pharmacological qualities of marijuana make it a risk factor for progression to other drug use. Instead the legal status of marijuana makes it a gateway drug." (p.99)

"However, it does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse..." (p. 101)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent article and excellent point on Grassley. Considering he is just a 'hog farmer' his remarks will ultimately do him more harm than good. As a citizen of Iowa I say, "Keep on spewin' Chuckie and let the world know how ignorant and prejudiced you are."