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In a statement made a recent town hall in Richmond, Kentucky, U.S. Attorney General Lorett Lynch admitted that cannabis is not a gateway drug, which is one of the most prominent arguments made in opposition to legalizing cannabis (that it leads to the use of harder drugs).

During the town hall in Richmond, being held as part of President Obama’s National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week (quite a mouth full), Lynch was asked by a Madison Central High School student whether she believes that the use of cannabis among students will lead to opioid abuse.

“There a lot of discussion about marijuana these days”, Lynch stated. “Some states are making it legal, people are looking into medical uses for it, and I understand that it still is as common as almost anything. When we talk about heroin addiction, we unusually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin. It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids.”

Lynch followed up this statement by being a bit more specific; “It’s not as though we are seeing that marijuana is a specific gateway”.

Lynch’s comments are in line with a study published in July by the National Institute of Health which found that cannabis use is not directly associated with an increased use of other drugs.

As part of National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, Lynch will be speaking at more than 250 events.