Law enforcers, legislators and other prohibitionists who use the term ‘gateway drug’ are actually making some very sketchy claims about the nature of existence.
“Cannabis is a gateway drug that leads to heroin and meth.”
This is what those who profit from prohibition believe and desperately want you to believe; which is why it is their go-to scripted response for demonizing a medicinal plant. Buried in that belief are all kinds of other beliefs that lie below it, and even more below those (and etc.), but which are often not even recognized by the person making such a claim.
The foremost of these is determinism. That is, that the universe is a grand clockwork just acting out roles that were written for it before it came to exist, and that human beings lack free will.
Determinism is not an objective worldview supported by facts, it is a philosophy. And not a very convincing one, at that.
One of the origins of this philosophy in modern western civilization is the Protestant Reformation. The ideologies espoused by theologians like Calvin are, in fact, behind both determinism and prohibition.
Calvinism and many of its Protestant religions taught the denial of pleasure for its own sake and scorned anything which appeared hedonistic. There is a term for the relationship between Calvinism and prohibition called Pharmacological Calvinism.
Calvinism also rejected the Catholic idea of Free Will and insisted that all that was, is or would be in existence was predetermined by God before he created it. This was the birth of deterministic thinking in modern western civilization, but that was only the beginning.
The birth of rationalism and logical positivism gave way another kind of clockwork universe though scientistic belief systems like materialism, physicalism and naturalism. And even though these beliefs were inspired by science, they are not themselves supported by the scientific method. They too are philosophies. And like Calvin, they also teach a form of determinism.
These beliefs, often lumped together as Scientism, insist that all of reality is nothing but interactions between matter governed by omnipotent, omniscient rules. To them consciousness, the experience of our existence, is just a grand illusion to facilitate replication for no reason whatsoever except that it was determined by the underlying force (supernatural) which shapes reality. Scientism is essentially just a belief in a sort of God, only repackaged under the name Nature, which is given to smug illusions of rational superiority for little discernible reason.
Through the philosophical beliefs engendered by the religions of Protestantism and Scientism, determinism has become a dominant cultural belief. One that is often taken for granted when the believer wants to make other spurious claims about the nature of reality. That is, they do not bother questioning the basic foundation on which their other beliefs have been built.
Whether determinism is true, false or a bit of both is not something anybody can claim for certain, although I have my own suspicions.
However, those making a claim that cannabis is a gateway drug are actually making the following claim:
Individual human beings have no free will. Our decisions are meaningless illusions, and our actions are all the result of cause and effect rules that come from beyond nature. Therefore anyone using marijuana will be driven by cosmic forces to use other drugs beyond their choice.
Apparently you do have a choice to use marijuana, but then your free will is magically taken away.
You would think that those forcing their deterministic beliefs on us would extend their logic to concede that our every thought and action are a matter of fate, and stop punishing us for doing what the universe willed for us. But nope, they only pull out determinism when it suits them. When it comes to time to extort and/or imprison you for your behaviors, they are fulling willing to concede to free will. When it is time to scare you or control you, back to determinism.
The system believes only in itself, while at the same time being informed by opposing belief systems, both of which may be entirely false. It is no wonder that every prohibitionist is an inhumane hypocrite.