Opponents of the legalisation of cannabis often suggest that it is a 'gateway' drug from which people move on to more damaging substances such as heroin or cocaine. However, new research from the University of New Hampshire has called this idea into question. The researchers used information from surveys of 1,286 youngsters carried out in the Miami area in the 1990s. The study found that teenagers who did not graduate from high school or go to college were more likely to have used cannabis as teenagers and other illegal drugs as young adults. However, once the effect of unemployment was taken into account the 'gateway effect' diminished; in other words once people had got a job they were much less likely to move on from cannabis to a more harmful drug. Once the young adults had reached the age of 21 the gateway effect had subsided completely. The strongest predictor of people moving on to other drugs was race with White people being more at risk of doing so than people of Hispanic or African descent.
You can find out more about this research by clicking on the title of this post.