An important part of keeping America’s kids off drugs is showing them a little understanding and knowing that when they make mistakes, it’s just because they’re confused and still figuring things out. Similarly, it’s important to show D.A.R.E. a little understanding now and then, since the group has repeatedly proven themselves to be confused and capable of pretty baffling mistakes while they try to figure things out.
A Redditor pulled the most recent thread out of D.A.R.E.’s raggedy sweater this week when they found that the drug prevention group had seemingly removed marijuana from its list of gateway drugs (the page has been erased since this story was first reported). Reports from Extract and Leafly looked into whether D.A.R.E. had intentionally eased up its anti-cannabis rhetoric or simply made a mistake.
It turned out that D.A.R.E. was even more confused by the omission than Reddit users and weed journalists. D.A.R.E.’s America regional director Ron Brogen told Leafly that he wasn’t really sure why marijuana wasn’t listed as a gateway drug on the page.
“I suppose it could have come out as part of our new curriculum, ‘Keepin’ It Real,’ and that may be the thought of the scientist that developed that,” he said, sounding a little like a stoner trying to think through a tangie haze. “To be quite honest, I really don’t have an answer.”
It turns out that the webpage actually hasn’t called weed a gateway drug on that webpage since at least 2013, Leafly found when it looked at cached versions of the page.
D.A.R.E. remains steadfast in its anti-marijuana stance in spirit, but not in practice. A blog post from 2014 has the group claiming that bud is a “risky gateway drug” and Brogen told Leafly that, “We are unalterably opposed to marijuana, whether for recreational use or medical use. That pretty much sums it up.”
Even though D.A.R.E. still really doesn’t like weed, they’ve decided not to be too annoying about preaching the evils of maryjane. A memo from the group advises D.A.R.E. instructors that, “Research has found that teaching children about drugs with which they have never heard of or have no real life understanding may stimulate their interest or curiosity about the substance.”
So they think weed is bad, but they’re not going to tell kids that weed is bad? Sounds like a pretty effective and useful prevention program. This whole incident is almost as confusing as when they told America last year that, “For every one joint of marijuana, four teenagers become burdened with pregnancy.”