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COLUMN: Mary Jane at the door

Despite the growing evidence debunking the long-held stance (by some) that marijuana is a gateway drug leading to the use of much heavier drugs, those who bought into the flawed theory decades ago stubbornly hang onto a time-proven weapon to perpetuate belief in the myth – fearmongering!

And they're not doing anyone any favours, especially you and your family.

Precious few topics today can be as polarizing among family members as marijuana's justified place in the world, or lack thereof, especially as its legalization creeps ever nearer.

One of the biggest problems over the marijuana "debate" is that it is most often lead on both sides by fanatics.

War on drugs – all drugs – good! Marijuana legalization bad!

And, of course, conversely, marijuana is good for everyone and cures everything that ails you. End of story.

Well, how can you argue with that? It's as ironclad a rule as you can't start a sentence with a conjunction.

And we all know there's plenty of folks out there who treat that rule as if it came down the mount with Moses.

The problem is, it's a "rule" with with no historical or grammatical foundation. It simply doesn't exist. Yet, literally hundreds of millions of people would argue the opposite with you tomorrow.

For any discussion to have validity, it must also have truth and honesty, and that's where the wheels start to fall off with many discussions on the pros and cons of having Mary Jane come for a visit.

The fanatics themselves are often the biggest contributors to the problem because, as with all fanaticism, neither side will give an inch, nor will they stop at anything to prove their point.

And, of course, both sides will use any weapon at their disposal to strike fear into the other or cloud the issue.

That's important, because we all know its medicinal value is at the heart of the marijuana debate.

However, if you want little Bobby's parents to fiercely want no part of the drug culture, than what better way than to have them believe today's weed is tomorrow's heroin?

Not only is fearmongering successful in its direct approach, it also enjoys great peripheral success.

The stories have all ready begun to be told how, when faced with the legalization of marijuana – a day they never thought would come – those on the end-justifies-the-means side of the equation were not above introducing Fentanyl into an already out of control opioid crisis.

That is scary stuff, indeed, to even try to comprehend.

As far back as 1999, the U.S.'s Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences declared that there is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.

And a 2010 study in Japan concluded that 83 per cent of illicit drug users did not start out smoking pot.

Most people will now concede (unless you live in a cave or are a fanatic) that there is mounting evidence that factors such as poverty and poor social environment are a greater predictor of hard drug use than early exposure to soft drugs.

On the other side of the equation, little companies that dream of one day becoming "weed" megastar corporations, have long been betting that law enforcement has become somewhat disinterested in marijuana with its legalization so close.

They have been filling e-mail boxes across North America with information on every form of marijuana conceivable, including various oils and the back-in-vogue-again edibles buffet section.

A bold move? Yes. Getting a little ahead of themselves? Perhaps. Getting a big jump on a voluminous market that has yet to be clearly identified? Most definitely. Success? Only time will tell.

What does legalized marijuana mean to you? Your family?

There is a ton of information out there.

Don't kid yourself. The "weed" will be legalized soon.

The more (credible) information you absorb, the better equipped you are to decide what role, if any, the legalization of marijuana will play in your life.