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Massachusetts To Vote On Legalizing Marijuana

by Michael Gannon

DAVID L. RYAN / GLOBE STAFF Legalizing marijuana has doubtlessly been a hot topic over the past few years and with good reason. Both the pro and anti-legalization campaigns have reasonable arguments with legitimate pros and cons. But these efforts seem to have climaxed with an upcoming vote this November. In question four Massachusetts residents will choose whether Massachusetts will become the first east coast state to legalize marijuana or pick the path more traveled by. Unfortunately, it is entirely possible that this vote will be bent by a recently formed anti-legalization block. This lobbying group is formed of Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin J.Walsh of Boston, and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, promising to team with doctors, law enforcement officers, and other specialist to leave a bad taste in the public's mouth. Therefore it is important to consider the benefits of marijuana legalization.

Despite the formation of this powerful block, the much of public seems to hold steadfast in support of legalization. According to a 2015 poll, eighty-four percent of Americans are for at least partial legalization of marijuana. In addition, a more recent poll by Western New England University, shows pro-legalization ahead by seven percent. These results come with good reason. For example, Colorado, a state now popular for its marijuana legalization in 2012, just racked in 996 million dollars in 2015 from legal marijuana alone. In addition to this near billion dollar industry, 135 million of dollars were collected as state taxes for marijuana sales. What's more is that over a quarter of this revenue has gone towards the honorable task of education. These lucrative benefits could soon come to Massachusetts next January, if the question of November's poll becomes approved.

Aside from revenue ,there are other less obvious benefits. Marijuana is used not only medically, and recreationally, but industrially. Many people do not realize how directly related marijuana is to the booming hemp industry. With hemp oils, soaps, clothing, plastics, and more as steadily growing American products, marijuana legalization in another state will only expand the industry. As a result more revenue will be circulated, and more jobs will be created, leading to a healthier economy. In addition to this economic boost, there are vast medical benefits. Marijuana can serve as an antidepressant, treat Glaucoma, and even slow Alzheimer's disease, a rare benefit that few other prescriptions can provide.

Studies have shown that legalization could even reduce marijuana-related deaths. With less conspicuous means of acquisition available, buying marijuana is inherently less risky. Moreover, profits from sale will actually go back into the economy and the government instead of the veins of the black market. Even time can be better dedicated towards persecuting more dangerous individuals and crimes. As a side benefit, legalization also means cleaner trade, preventing impure trade, making marijuana safer. With these pressures weighing in on the upcoming Massachusetts vote, the results are sure to be thrilling. Maybe as soon as January 2017, America will welcome the first East Coast marijuana-legal state.