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The legal marijuana industry has been the fastest growing business in the United States since 2015. Last December 14, Massachusetts joined six other states in the growing trend toward legalization.

Tthis decision did not come without its share of controversy: many believe the legalization of marijuana allows for greater access to the drug. Furthermore, opponents of the new law believe decriminalization will encourage new users who used to be discouraged by the possibility of incarceration.

There are cons to every new piece of legislation, but in the case of legalizing marijuana, the benefits heavily outweigh the potential disadvantages.

Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs used by teenagers today, with higher usage rates than cigarettes, despite the fact it is illegal for minors in all states. Because marijuana is so easily accessible, legalizing its use for those above the age of 21 does not increase access for teenage users. In fact, the new law allows for greater regulation of dealers as well as better documentation of the cannabis trade.

In addition, the demand for illegal marijuana should diminish now that adults can buy it legally. Since this will put illegal dealers out of business, many will turn to the legal market. Fewer illegal dealers will lead to fewer sources of marijuana for underage users. Moreover, legalizing marijuana protects those who would buy recreational marijuana from potentially fatally laced drugs often sold in the black market.

Decriminalizing marijuana also contributes toward unclogging the jail system. From 2001 to 2010, 8.3 million arrests resulted from marijuana-related charges, with the majority attributable to people in possession of small amounts of cannabis. Jails were filled with nonviolent drug offenders who languished in cells for long periods of time away from rehabilitation opportunities, family, and friends, all at the expense of the U.S. government.

In a society where recreational marijuana is legal, the popularity of the drug will increase the tax revenues. The tax on marijuana will provide scholarships for students and funding for public works projects. If not for the safety of marijuana users, the law’s opponents should consider the positive effects it will have on the everyday lives of teenage and adult nonusers and the country at large.