correlation between marijuana use and the use of other drugs.
It's true that marijuana use correlates with harder drug use. But so does alcohol and tobacco use. There doesn't have to be a causal link between marijuana or alcohol and harder drugs to explain this; it could just be that the things that drive someone to marijuana or alcohol — boredom, depression, social circles — can just as easily drive them to other drug
Alcohol and marijuana are much more accessible, because they're generally cheaper than harder drugs and part of much bigger markets.
Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter
This is by no means conclusive, but it suggests that marijuana legalization could actually prevent people from going to harder drugs by separating the cocaine and heroin dealers from the marijuana seller
But several studies have found that medical marijuana legalization can actually reduce opioid deaths, perhaps because patients can use pot to treat their chronic pain — without the risk of overdose and less of a risk for addiction — instead of highly addictive, deadly opioids.
Similarly, marijuana legalization also may lead people to substitute their alcohol use with marijuana use. T
Either way, the evidence suggests that marijuana's illegality — not the drug itself — may cause a gateway effect, and loosening marijuana policy may push some people away from much more dangerous drugs.
The verdict: Marijuana, by itself, probably won't lead people to use harder drugs
Putting all of this together, there's no good evidence that marijuana is a "gateway drug" or that any gateway effect would be worsened by legalizatio
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