It must be the people who've never smoked it, that claim Marijuana is a 'gateway' drug. If you're looking to get buzzed, and out of it, many other substances are far more dangerous and available.
Vicodin and pain killers, like Oxycontin, are gateway drugs to Heroin! But few have anything to say about that. Alcohol consumption usually leads to alcoholism, and bad judgement! (possibly using other drugs while drunk) but no one is screaming 'gateway drug' about alcohol.
Have you ever had to clean up dog poop, and lost your Marijuana buzz? or get pulled over, and poof...buzz is gone? A Marijuana buzz doesn't last through adrenaline or an encounter with vomit or dog poop! It just doesn't. "Man, I lost my buzz", is often the comment when life's situations pop up, and ruin a good buzz!
With alcohol and Pharmaceuticals, it's a whole different story. You don't care about the dog poo, and straightening up to deal with life, is a real challenge! and then there's the vomit and urination...usually on one's self! Admit It!
People who want to escape life and their problems, or memories, will do what ever they have to do, to do just that. Some people smoke pot, but don't do alcohol or pills. Some people do alcohol and pills, but won't smoke Cannabis. Some people will eat a handful of pills and drink a Fifth of liquor, do you seriously think Cannabis leads to that behavior? Some people claim to do nothing, but may hide a Xanax habit, or some other chemical, legal in a pill.
Now, energy drinks are just as addictive as a drug, and lead to illness when abused. We are either an addictive personality or we learn to control ourselves and make good, and better, choices. Does learning to swim lead to scuba diving? Does drinking coffee lead to drinking Espresso? Everything is objective, debatable, and arguable. Because we are all different, and we react differently. Does drinking Espresso lead to using speed? maybe, if you can't get any more Espresso!
In the quest for the human being to escape, we have come up with many things to alter our state, and most are far more dangerous than smoking pot. Huffing gas, sniffing glue, and smoking bath salts? Kids are dying over experimentation with stuff, and Marijuana has little to do with it. Man has been using things to alter his or her state since we began, and it's doubtful we will ever stop!
The Dope Man, doesn't care if he kills you, your son or your daughter. There's 2 more, many more, to take their place. We have to raise kids that know how to be happy and content, so we can have functional adults. It's easier than you would believe, and hobbies and interests will go a long way to help. Often boredom and unhappiness lead to the desire to get whacked out of your mind. What is often labeled as addictive, can also be a habit, that we are too weak to break free of. Sure after several years of using, you're addicted and habitually consumed; but of all the substances, Marijuana is the least addictive, being more of a habit than an addiction...and let the dog hack up a pile of something...and your buzz is gone!
If a person wants to escape reality, Pot is not that kind of buzz. If a substance makes you feel better, you desire it. Pot makes scrubbing the toilet a little less undesirable, it makes a long car ride more enjoyable, it makes a concert a celebration! a picnic a feast!
Since everyone is different, seeking different effects, it's not as easy as simply saying Marijuana is a 'gateway' drug. A person can sniff markers and damage brain cells, are markers a gateway to something else? they could be.