Is marijuana a gateway drug?Medical studies have yet to show …

Is marijuana actually the “gateway” to harder drug use that some say it is?

It’s a prospect that opponents of Question 4, which would legalize marijuana in Massachusetts, worry about, especially in the midst of a deepening national opioid and heroin abuse crisis.

But proponents of Question 4 in Nov. 8’s election say those concerns are overblown. In fact, they say, legal marijuana would be safer and easier to buy and could even provide an alternative to hard drugs and keep pot smokers away from those who peddle more lethal wares.

The theory is that as people begin to use marijuana and enjoy its intoxicating effects, they might eventually begin to seek out other drugs that could get them even higher — like heroin, or cocaine — and become addicted.

No causal link shown yet

But the research done so far on a link between marijuana use and later hard drug use is

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