December 6th, 2012
08:11 PM ET

Washington's new marijuana law leaves users in limbo

Washington State Voters passed a law last month that made marijuana legal. However, it will take a year before the rules for growing and selling it take effect.

OutFront tonight: CNN's Miguel Marquez has the story.

Pot smokers enter legal limbo in Washington, Colorado

The crowd at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle began counting down as midnight approached. It wasn't New Year's Day they were anticipating, but the moment that marijuana would become legal in Washington state.
As midnight hit, smokers hit their pipes and joints to celebrate.

Technically, what they were doing - smoking marijuana in public - was still a crime, but police looked the other way.

"It's amazing. I'm not a criminal anymore," one pot smoker said. "I can't go to jail for small amounts of marijuana. I'm free to be free."

But a legal haze still engulfed pot smokers Thursday, when possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults become legal, though growing and selling it remains a crime.

Initiative 502, passed last month by Washington voters, legalized recreational marijuana use starting December 6, but it will take a year before there are rules for growing and selling it.


Filed under: Law • Marijuana
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Jal

    There is a huge issue folks overlook. Let me use California as the example. In July 2009, CA put Marijuana smoke on the states Prop 69 carcinogen list. In short, you cannot smoke it anywhere that cigaretts are prohibited. Many states have done the same. Addiontionally, 17 cities in CA have now banned smoking, in your own unit, of Apartment and Condo complexes. The initial ordinances only had bans in common areas, but now they've moved to the actual units. San Francisco is now working on the same ban. Why? Because smoke through walls of adjoining units. Landlords and Condo Associations are being suid by non smoking residents for exposure. As the joining walls are owned by the landlords or HOAs, they are 100% liable. Our complex is dealing with this, tried sealing smileys unit, didn't work, now those exposed are threatening legal action. These bans don't affect free standing homes, only multi-units. As for Richard Branson's tights on prison v treatment, he's easy off. As one who works in Law Enforcement and incarceration, many counties have strong programs in jails. San Francisco Sheriffs Depg leads the nation on many programs for violence, recovery, education, etc. Yet, programs can be costly. In CA, the average county spends $114/Capita on social services. San Francisco spends $239/capita. To do so, taxation on residents is astounding. Due to the success, the city continues to see people relocating to the city from other states & counties for these services. Branson should tour extensively to truly get a big picture. Approximately 70% of those incarcerated fir drug offenses have mental our health issues and many want no part of recovery. I see this daily. It kills me too see it, but those outside the industry truly have no clue

    December 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Reply

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