The US DEA, when asked if marijuana is "gateway" or "stepping stone" drug, told in a Jan. 2, 2002 email:

“Yes, in some instances. Among marijuana’s most harmful consequences is its potential role in leading to the use of other illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin. Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. While not all people who use marijuana go on to use other drugs, using marijuana puts children and teens in contact with people who are users and sellers of other drugs, so there is more of a risk that a marijuana user will be exposed to and urged to try more dangerous drugs.

A recent study by Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found a pronounced difference in future drug use between kids who used marijuana and those who did not. It revealed that teens who smoke marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those who do not. This means the odds of using other drugs increases with the increased frequency of marijuana smoking.”

Related Link: Is marijuana a “gateway” or “stepping stone” drug?

Jan. 2, 2002