Has D.A.R.E. Changed Its Opinion on Marijuana as a Gateway Drug?

Earlier this week, a story went viral about how the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.) had quietly removed cannabis from its list of gateway drugs. The information came from an observant Redditor, who noted on Wednesday that D.A.R.E had removed marijuana from it's webpage about gateway drugs

Indeed, the page does not explicitly list the substance and only mentions marijuana once—under a subsection for tobacco—which reads: "According to a report from the U.S. Department of Education, 'Tobacco use is associated with alcohol and illicit drug use and is generally the first drug used by young people who enter a sequence of drug use that can include tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and harder drugs.'" 

But with no other indications that the organization's stance on pot was evolving or that the information had ever been included in the first place, a reporter at Leafly decided to give D.A.R.E. a call.   

“I suppose it could have come out as part of our new curriculum, ‘Keepin’ It Real,’ and that may be the thought of the scientist that developed that,” Ron Brogan, a D.A.R.E. America regional director, told Leafly, explaining that D.A.R.E. relies heavily on an outside contractor to handle its website. 

“To be quite honest," he continued, "I really don’t have an answer.”

Leafly also noted that according to cached versions of D.A.R.E.'s "gateway drug page," the given information hadn't changed since 2013. Most likely, marijuana was never explicitly listed, but an accidental omission on an organization's website hardly means that D.A.R.E.'s views have changed. D.A.R.E. regularly posts articles making outrageous and laughable claims about marijuana as a gateway drug. 

And Brogan made it clear to Leafly that D.A.R.E. remains staunchly against any and all marijuana use.

“We are unalterably opposed to marijuana,” he said, “whether for recreational use or medical use. That pretty much sums it up.” 

(Photo Courtesy of Extract)

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