The best of USA TODAY reader responses
Maryland, New York and Minnesota are the latest states to legalize medicinal marijuana (see the graphic above). Now 23 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow patients with certain illnesses limited use of the substance.
But the legalization of recreational pot isn't growing as rapidly. So far only two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational use of the drug. In one month, Colorado made $3.5 million in tax revenue from the sale of recreational and medicinal marijuana combined. But Washington state hasn't seen the same boom. According to a recent study by Hopper, a travel research firm, interest in heading to Washington dropped by 2% post legalization. The main reasons: product cost and limited distribution. Marijuana is $5 to $10 more expensive in Washington than in Colorado, and only a limited number of Washington dispensaries gained permission to grow the drug.
YOUR SAY INTERACTIVE: Should pot be legal nationwide?
#TELLUSATODAY: Mainstream marijuana's risks manageable
We asked readers what they thought of legalizing the drug nationwide. And while public views of pot are slowly changing, with Millennials leading the way (65% of that generation think the drug should be legal), many of our readers still have concerns about its potential dangers.
Take a look at how states are progressing when it comes to pot legalization and view the national conversation in the interactive graphic above. Then see what some of our readers had to say below. We asked readers on Twitter and through USA TODAY's Your Take platform what they thought of the push for national legalization and whether the dangers of pot use outweighed the benefits of legal access. Contribute to the conversation in the informal polls below:
Risks, dangers, worries
My concern is that people will use it without a prescription, or more people will sell it illegally.
Legalization means problems from the cartel as well as other forms of underground movements.
In Washington state, overtaxation has jacked up the price beyond reasonable. The black market will continue and is preferable to some.
Legalizing it doesn't change the access to it much. It is still readily available.
I worry about the toxicity to pets. Vets are seeing too much of it!
It's not good to see clouds of smoke seeping through hallways where children live. Nor is it good to have to inhale it on a constant basis.
I'm afraid that new laws would be passed regarding use of marijuana in workplaces (think hospitals).
Marijuana is a drug, pure and simple. It is sad that society requires drugs and alcohol to survive today.
How does one regulate the length of time it stays in the bloodstream for jobs that require drug tests? I have watched family members die after thinking marijuana was a safe drug. I don't want to send that message to youth.
Push to legalize
Legalize it and tax the heck out of it. That would end the marijuana drug trade.
Legalize it. Tax it. Fewer people in jail. Drug lords dry up. Put taxes back into education system. Pay teachers.
It should be legal only for those who need it for medical reasons, not for people to cause trouble.
An herb is not a drug. I wish people would quit giving it that name.
I tend to lean a little to the right politically. But I 100% agree with the legalization of marijuana.
We should question why marijuana is illegal. This plant has grown naturally without any help from man, and it has caused relatively little harm. Alcohol has already caused more.