Researchers in Australia released the results of a new study examining the consequences of long-term marijuana use that began in adolescence or young adulthood. A total of 1,792 participants were included in the longitudinal study spanning 20 years (from ages 15-35). Investigators found that compared to non-users, both young‐adult and adolescent‐onset regular users were 20 times more likely to have used other illicit drugs, 4 times more likely be heavy drinkers, and 7 times more likely to be daily tobacco smokers. There were also less than half as likely as non-users to be in romantic relationships.

Dr. Sharif Mohr, epidemiologist at Drug Free America Foundation commented, “The results of this study clearly show the negative effects of marijuana use that can follow youth far into adulthood. It also confirms marijuana’s role as a gateway drug. We’ve already learned from Colorado and other states that no matter what safeguards are in place, legal weed will always manage to find its way into the hands of young people, much to their detriment. It’s time for lawmakers to do the right thing and put an end to this disastrous large-scale experiment which only serves to enrich Big Marijuana and other players at the expense of our young people.”