Science says that decriminalizing cannabis benefits youth and stops criminal records from preventing success later in life.
Decriminalization does not mean that cannabis is legal, just that getting caught with it no longer results in jail time or a criminal record. Decriminalization means that a state or city has repealed or amended its laws to make certain acts criminal, but no longer subject to prosecution.
In the cannabis context, this means individuals caught with small amounts of cannabis for personal consumption won’t be prosecuted and won’t subsequently receive a criminal record or a jail sentence. In many states, possession of small amounts of cannabis is treated like a minor traffic violation.
A new study, on the Social Science Research Network website, offers new insight into whether cannabis decriminalization leads to an increase in arrests and cannabis use among youth. According to the study, it doesn’t.
The study examines five states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maryland — that decriminalized cannabis between 2008 and 2014. The arrests and youth cannabis