Evidence shows cannabis is the opposite of a gateway drug

Sign the new Petition encouraging the General Assembly to act this year!

Electronically sign the petition to show how many North Carolinians are ready for cannabis access now. Please share it everywhere and consider printing copies to have your customers sign and scan to email NC NORML.

You can also share it on Nextdoor.com in your county. Go to the + icon and select “post”, choosing “general” and submit.  Whatever communities you are a part of will see this post. 

Please send the below email to your NC Rep and Senator.

Dear Representative/Senator: 

Cannabis is a Solution (Not a Gateway Drug). Evidence shows cannabis is the opposite of a gateway drug. Rather, it’s an off-ramp. In states where cannabis is legal, the use of other drugs, including prescribed drugs, is lower. Some pain treatment programs use cannabis to reduce prescription drugs that are damaging to the body.[1]

The ​Journal of Health Economics reported that the impact of cannabis access laws on opioid prescribing both for medical and adult-use cannabis reduce the use of prescription opioids across several different kinds of opioid prescriptions. Generally, both adult-use and medical cannabis access laws decrease opioid use. Adult-use and medical cannabis is a valid policy option for combating the ongoing overdose epidemic.[2]

According to Psychology Today, “Science shows overwhelmingly that for most people, cannabis is not a gateway drug.”[3]

JAMA Internal Medical (2014): “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.[4]”

JAMA Internal Medicine​ (2018) reported that adult-use cannabis was associated with​ a 6.38% ​lower opioid prescribing and states with medical cannabis laws saw a 5.88% lower rate​. Marijuana legalization reduces the use and consequences of prescription opioids among Medicaid enrollees.[5]

Trauma Surgery Acute Care Journal​ reported that using dronabinol, a synthetic cannabis, off-label resulted in a ninefold greater reduction in opioid consumption for traumatic injury patients.[6]

NC Dept of Health and Human Services reported ​12,130 drug overdose ER visits in 2019; zero of these were cannabis overdoses.[7]

The ​Centers for Disease Control​ say that “a fatal overdose is unlikely” as a result of cannabis use.[8]



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[1] AIMS Institute

[2] Journal of Health Economics

[3] Psychology Today

[4] Jama Network

[5] Jama Network

[6]Trauma Surgery Acute Care Journal​

[7] Injury Free NC


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If you have personal relationships with any of the lawmakers, please email Janis Ramquist to work on a meeting.

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