The New York Times editorial board’s endorsement of legal marijuana comes a little more than a month after the use of medical marijuana was legalized by the New York Senate. Reuters

The New York Times editorial board has announced its support for the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. The expression of support came in an editorial published Saturday, explaining the board’s reasoning for its support of changes in the country’s marijuana laws.

In the first installment of an editorial series on the legalization issue, the board said the U.S. government should “repeal the ban on marijuana.” It added that its members came to their decision after witnessing the “rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.”

When it comes to the specifics of making marijuana legal, the board said it thinks that sales should be made only to people age 21 or older. It supports this restriction because of concerns about the effects marijuana use may have on the brains of adolescents.

“There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco,” the board said. “Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the ‘Reefer Madness’ images of murder, rape and suicide.”

According to the Times, five more installments of its editorial series on the legalization issue will published between now and Aug. 5. They will analyze many questions that have been raised as states continue to make changes to their marijuana laws. It is also encouraging readers to offer their own opinions on the legalization of the marijuana.

The board’s statement of support for legalization comes just a few weeks after the New York Senate voted to legalize medical marijuana June 20, making New York the 23rd state to pass such a measure.