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If Marijuana isn’t the Gateway Drug:  What is?

by Beit T'shuvah

December 13, 2012 | 10:10 am

By BTS Prevention

Two weeks ago, I asserted in my blog that marijuana is not the gateway drug.  So then, I must propose a subsequent question: “What is the gateway drug?”

Is it alcohol?  Is it heroin? Is it cocaine?  Bath salts? Spice?

No.  The actual gateway drug, the thing that most often leads to other illicit behaviors, is a discretionary income.  Kids are running around Los Angeles with a wad of bills and their parents’ credit cards—they are bored and searching frantically for excitement.  There are only so many movies they can go to with their friends, so many clothes they can buy, so many expensive lunches they can purchase—before they want to find a more exciting way to spend their money. Eventually, in many cases, the more exciting purchase is a bag of weed or a bottle of pills.

Here is an elementary principle of economics: the more money you have, the more goods you can buy. 

Sure, in low-income neighborhoods, kids hustle and steal so that they can buy their drugs.  But a few miles west, they don’t have to go to these extremes.  They just ask their parents for a little money, call their friend, and wait for their excitement to arrive.

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