Marijuana legal: Colorado and Washington legalize pot, but federal laws complicate ballot measures.

Historic Wins for Pot in Colorado and Washington, but Feds Still Loom

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Nov. 7 2012 2:49 PM

Historic Wins for Pot in Colorado and Washington, but Feds Still Loom

Democrats may be high on President Obama’s re-election victory today, but constituents in Colorado and Washington state are feeling the buzz a little stronger than everyone else. The western states have become the first ever in America to legalize pot for recreational use.

Washington has permitted medical marijuana use since 1998 and Colorado since 2000, but the historic votes by each state mark the first time voters have allowed for casual pot consumption. Under the ballot measures, anyone 21 or older can possess up to an ounce from licensed vendors, which the states plan to tax.

But for the stoner set, election night was not free of buzz-kills. A measure that would decriminalize recreational marijuana failed in Oregon. And experts point out that in Colorado and Washington, the legalization push will run up against federal marijuana prohibitions, leaving the ultimate status of pot use in those states up in the air.

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