In case you missed the news, cannabis is a gateway drug to homicide. That is, according to Colorado District Attorney Dan May.
What did May say?
May serves as the District Attorney for the Fourth Judicial District in Colorado, where recreational cannabis has been legal for five years. His statement was in response to a recent drug bust. More than a dozen people face federal charges for allegedly running an unauthorized and illegal cannabis business.
May’s remark is controversial. But did he really mean that marijuana itself is a gateway drug to homicide? Or are people already taking his quote out of context?
Here is May’s statement to KKTV:
“Marijuana is the gateway drug to homicide, in our community and across the state. Colorado Springs Police Department put out this year we had 22 homicides in Colorado Springs last year. Eight of those were directly marijuana. That isn’t somebody just using marijuana, that is somebody being murdered over legal (sic) marijuana grow in their house. Murdered over an illegal marijuana grow.”
When you look at May’s complete statement, it’s clear that he’s not trying to incite panic over cannabis use. He’s talking about the inherent violence associated black markets.
In response to May’s line about weed as a gateway drug to homicide, the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council went into damage control mode. To prevent the spread of antiquated misconceptions about weed, they released the following statement:
“Today, District Attorney Dan May made some very concerning comments linking cannabis use to murder…We would ask the District Attorney to retract his statement or provide proof of correlation between the two. This is an extremely dangerous statement.“
If May’s poorly thought out “gateway drug to homicide” line was truly about weed use, then the SCCC’s anger would have been justified. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the gateway drug theory was unquestioned. Even today, some people still believe it, although the facts proving weed is not a gateway drug are overwhelming.
The Final Hit: Is weed a gateway drug to homicide?
No, of course, it’s not. Cannabis use is not associated with violence. It’s likely that Dan May doesn’t even think that it is. He may have just happened to choose his words poorly.
What does lead to violence though is prohibition. Legalizing weed can’t stop the black market, but it can decrease its strength. Especially if cannabis is legalized on a federal level.