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In The News: Marijuana is now legal in Washington State

As of 12:00am, Initiative 502 has taken effect in Washington State. The possession of an ounce of marijuana or less use is now legal in Washington for persons 21 and over.

At 12am crowds of people gathered under Seattle’s Space Needle early Thursday morning to spark up and celebrate. There were people cheering, clapping, sparking, and blowing smoke into the face of reporters.

“I feel like a kid in a candy store!” shouted Hempfest volunteer Darby Hageman. “It’s all becoming real now!”

Smoking marijuana in public, like drinking, is illegal but it didn’t seem like the marijuana supporters cared one bit about that. Still, officials warned that smoking marijuana in public is illegal and carries a fine of about $100.

“If you’re smoking in plain public view, you’re subject to a ticket,” Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said during a news conference on the implications of the new law, at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington state office.

In addition to making it lawful to possess small amounts of pot for recreational purposes, the new laws in Washington and Colorado will permit cannabis to be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system modeled after those many states have in place for alcohol sales.

In Washington, the state Liquor Control Board, along with agriculture and public health officials, have until Dec. 1, 2013, to set up such a system.

And of course people took to their Twitter accounts to express either their happiness, discontent or confusion over the legalization.


What is Initiative 502?

(As it appeared on the ballot according to

“Initiative 502: This measure would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over twenty-one; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.”

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