There are many illegal drugs in the United States, all of which take a toll on the economy and society in general. Even so, it goes without saying that some drugs are more serious and cause more trouble than others.
Marijuana is by far the most popular illegal drug in the United States. Furthermore, it is the most accessible. For this reason, coupled with the fact that it is becoming legal in some states, use continues to increase.
With this in mind, people who have used other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, have also experimented with marijuana. Even so, here is something to consider: Most people who use marijuana never move onto another illegal drug. For this reason, marijuana is not considered a gateway drug. Sure, there are always going to be exceptions, but all in all, marijuana is not a drug that typically leads to abusing another type.
In fact, there is a group of people who believe that marijuana is an exit drug. This means the drug can be used, after those that are more serious, to help ease the pain of withdrawal. This may not be recommended, but it shows that marijuana is not the gateway drug that many people believe.
Even though some people don't think it is a big deal to use marijuana, law enforcement does not typically feel the same way. It is important for anybody charged with a marijuana-related crime to understand what has happened, what could happen, and how to avoid serious trouble with the legal system as the case moves forward.
Source: Drug Policy Alliance, "10 Facts About Marijuana," accessed Oct. 05, 2015