Ontario Medical Association President Reverses Position After Calling Cannabis a 'Gateway Drug'

After facing severe backlash from the medical community, Ontario Medical Association President Nadia Alam has backtracked on her assertion that cannabis is a gateway drug.

Earlier this week, Dr. Alam told a CBC Radio host that cannabis is addictive and may lead to the use of more dangerous drugs. In other words, she revived the debunked 'gateway theory' that suggests smoking a joint will cause someone to eventually abuse harder drugs.

Now after weathering a torrent of criticism from her peers, Dr. Alam has reversed his position.

"I misspoke, I misunderstood something that I had been advised and I'm really glad that physicians stepped up and corrected me," Dr. Alam told CBC News. "I think it's important to realize that as physicians we have an important role in society to give proper information. And when we see that someone makes a mistake, we try and gently correct them."

Alam specifically credited the work of Dr. Andrea Sereda - an addiction specialist who advocates for cannabis decriminalization and argues that harm-reduction strategies are crucial to developing a strong public health policy.

"She has worked with a number of disadvantaged populations, she's worked in marginalized populations like patients who are suffering from addiction and who are trying to heal from addiction," Alam said of Dr. Sereda. "She has a lot of expertise and I agree with her."

It's great to see people in influential positions admit that they were wrong about cannabis. Hopefully other opponents of legalization will follow Dr. Alam's example.


With northern California's renowned cannabis festival, the Emerald Cup coming up next month, we're reflecting on all the fun we had last year with cannabis influencer Elise McRoberts interviewing Herbie Herbert, a former Santana roadie and manger for Journey, as well as Steve Parish, who managed the Jerry Garcia Band and went on the road with the Grateful Dead. Back int he day, bands touring the world had to smuggle their cannabis into Europe and other foreign countries. Traveling with equipment and other gear, roadies would have to find secret places to hide the stash.

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