New research shows chronic marijuana smokers - those who use cannabis four or more days a week for many years - are more likely to wind up in a lower "social and economic class" than their parents.
Researchers at the University of California, Duke University and King's College London, tracked 1000 people who were born in Dunedin 45 years ago and were being monitored in Otago University's longitudinal health and development study.
They said those who went on to become heavy marijuana users disproportionately experienced downward social mobility and financial problems by the age of 38, compared to their peers.
Earlier this week Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne this week said the government was considering taking a more tolerant approach to minor drug offences, which kicked off a debate about drug laws in New Zealand.
Scientist Magdalena Cerdá said the most important finding of the study was that people who smoked cannabis regularly over many years ended up in a 'lower social class' than their parents.
They also ended up in jobs that were lower paid, less prestigious and that required lower skills.