Original title: Opposite of gateway is barrier?
A list of not-entirely-serious pros and cons about cannabis, here, mentioned the “con” argument that marijuana is a “gateway” drug (“If when you say cannabis you mean the Devil’s weed, the gateway to the nightmare of hard-drug addiction, the tempter of teenagers that terrifies parents, the cause of Willie Nelson’s feeling that the flesh was falling off his bones, . . .”).
But I didn’t mention a “pro” argument on the other side – that legalizing cannabis takes away the message that it’s in the same category as heroin and methamphetamine. In Vermont, for instance, 35 people died from heroin in 2014.
Shifting cannabis to the legal market would have two advantages. First, it would mean a consumer wouldn’t get cannabis and hard drugs from the same dealer. That would tend to marginalize the hard drug dealer. The cannabis consumer would have a completely different supplier — not the hard drug dealer. Second, the shift would send a message to everyone, especially young people, that marijuana is not in the same category as those more dangerous drugs. If people try cannabis and don’t get hooked, or see others using cannabis with little problem, they may doubt the message that heroin and meth should be avoided like the plague. (Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.) But those hard drugs are killers, and saying cannabis is like them can be a deadly message.
But what’s the label? Is there as handy a label as “gateway” drug? Legalization will turn marijuana from a gateway drug into a . . . what?
A “barrier” drug?
A “no-gateway” drug?
A “fence-out” drug?
A “fend-off” drug?
A “roadblock” drug?
A “barricade” drug?
A “fenced-off” drug?
A “moated-off” drug?
A “walled-off” drug?
A “wall-out” drug?
A “blockade” drug?
A “bulwark” drug?
A “boundary” drug?
A “rampart” drug?
A “partition” drug?
A “market-divider” drug?
A “separator” drug?
A “separation” drug?
A “detour sign” drug?
A “deflection” drug?
A “forestaller” drug?
A “stave-off” drug?
A “ward-off” drug?
(Thanks to www.thesaurus.com for getting that started.)
UPDATE 8 February 2016: A “bypass” drug — the marijuana consumer going to the legal market bypasses the seller of illegal drugs. That illegal dealer is in the shadows somewhere, and the legal market is visible to the consumer and to the public. There’s no need to make an appointment with a criminal to buy legal drugs.
It’s the market and the message that are the barrier, not the drug itself. But that’s true for the argument that marijuana is a “gateway” drug.
Please send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do, let me know whether to use your name. The article is at http://marijuanalegalization.about.com/od/RelatedIssues/fl/Cannabis-Pros-and-Cons-If-By-Whiskey-Style.htm.
UPDATE: Here’s a suggestion already, from Brett Stone of Los Angeles, who posts lots of news here, or at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mmjnews/conversations/topics:
An “exit” drug.
Brett explains: My own personal opinion is that marijuana is more of an “exit drug” than a “gateway drug.” Been through the 12 step programs myself and have met many former heroin and cocaine addicts who maintain “their sobriety” by using what is referred to as “The MMP” or Marijuana Maintenance Program. I say whatever works to give you the gift of today is ok.
PO: I like that. They have lots of exit signs in Southern California.