A marijuana harvester examines a bud that is going through a trimming machine in a rural area near Corvallis, Ore., Sept. 30, 2016. Marijuana growers and entrepreneurs have a lot riding on ballot measures in 50 Oregon counties and municipalities in the Nov. 8 election, with some places having allowed marijuana businesses and other having banned it. (AP Photo / Andrew Selsky)

A marijuana harvester examines a bud that is going through a trimming machine in a rural area near Corvallis, Ore., Sept. 30, 2016. Marijuana growers and entrepreneurs have a lot riding on ballot measures in 50 Oregon counties and municipalities in the Nov. 8 election, with some places having allowed marijuana businesses and other having banned it. (AP Photo / Andrew Selsky)

Should other states legalize weed? No regrets here

Light a blunt, blaze a trail.

A few short years after voters made Washington one of the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana, the floodgates have opened.

Ballot measures next week in California and four other states would legalize recreational marijuana for adults. Several other states are deciding whether to allow it for medical purposes, which tends to be the “gateway drug” toward full legalization.

In our latest poll at HeraldNet.com, we essentially asked whether you had any regrets. Our poll asked what you’d tell voters in other states after Washington’s experience with marijuana, and a resounding 74 percent said they’d tell them to legalize it.

Those of us who are children of the ’80s can well remember the War on Drugs, “just say no,” and a frying egg as a metaphor for your brain on drugs, so it’s pretty amazing how far we’ve come. You can now walk right up and legally buy weed in dozens of places around Snohomish County. Drive down Highway 99 and it’s even easier to find than a Starbucks or a shady-looking massage parlor.

Retail stores opened here a little over two years ago, and the jury’s still out about some of the effects. We don’t know yet about any long-term health issues, and there’s conflicting data about whether it’s caused more traffic accidents. Other doomsday scenarios laid out by opponents haven’t come to pass. Underage use of the drug hasn’t increased and violent crime didn’t soar. All in all, the experience has been pretty … mellow.

On the positive side, we’ve stopped spending millions of dollars on minor marijuana-related criminal offenses, and we’ve created full employment for lawyers trying to sort out our patchwork of laws governing medical and recreational shops. We’ve also relieved countless headaches and made Seth Rogen movies on Netflix infinitely more watchable.

So, good luck on Tuesday, Californians. Nobody should have to watch “Pineapple Express” sober.

— Doug Parry, parryracer@gmail.com; @parryracer

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