Students who smoke cannabis on a regular basis are 60 per cent less likely to finish school or get a degree, compared with those who avoid the drug, a recent study has shown.
The report, conducted by medical journal, The Lancet, also states that regular users of the drug are up to eight times more likely to use more illicit drugs in later life.
The study coincides with a similar study conducted by the European Commission which found that young people in Ireland are twice as likely to smoke cannabis on a regular basis, with 56 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds supporting the legalisation of the drug.
The news follows claims by a DCU student that he’s forced to sell up to €5,000 worth of cannabis a year in order to put himself through college, as reported by the Irish Mirror.
Welfare officer of the Union of Students in Ireland, Greg Harkin, was shocked by the claims.
“I would be worried – it’s an illegal drug. It’s bad enough smoking it let alone selling it”, he added.
Opinions on the legalisation of the drug have been mixed with several student groups coming out in both support and against the drug.
Graham DE Barra, secretary of Students for Sensible Drugs Policy (SSDP), says that drugs and alcohol should be considered under the one label.
“We believe students should not be stigmatised for using drugs. People use alcohol a lot more than cannabis but they’re both categorised as mind-altering drugs,” he continued.
A nationwide survey on students in each major university in ireland, conducted by campus.ie, found that nearly 30 per cent of students have tried the illicit drug.
Marc Emery, an internationally renound cannabis activist, is currently undertaking a tour of Irish universities to kick-start a discussion on the legalisation of the drug.
Mr. Emery, will be joined by his wife, Liberal Party candidate Jodie Emery and will visit NUIG, Trinity College Dublin and UCC.
SSDP has organised the events in Ireland with an “an aim to give a comparative analysis of policy internationally”, according to secretary de Barra.