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Washington state's Initiative 502, a voter-approved measure that legalizes recreational marijuana under state law, goes into effect today (Dec. 6). But with many legal issues still up in the air, what's supposed to happen next?
The biggest cloud hanging over Washington's new marijuana law is the fact that marijuana use, both recreational and medicinal, remains illegal under federal law, reports the Seattle Post Intelligencer. So at any moment, the federal government or a federal court may step in and attempt to take away the rights that citizens voted for.
But ignoring that uncomfortable fact, here are some things that you may want to know about Washington's new law, and the other voter-approved pot law in Colorado that's set to take effect next month:
In Washington state, Initiative 502 is now the law and includes the following provisions:
However, while it's now legal to possess marijuana in Washington state, there's still no legal way to buy marijuana outside of medical dispensaries. Rules about retail marijuana production, distribution, and sales are supposed to be in place by Dec. 1, 2013, The New York Times reports.
In Colorado, Amendment 64 goes into effect Jan. 5 and contains the following provisions:
Officials in both states will also have to hammer out how marijuana will be taxed. After all, the potential profits from legalized marijuana partly motivated the new laws in both states.
If you have questions about how the new recreational marijuana laws affect you, it may be wise to consult an attorney in your area, especially if you live in Washington state or Colorado. With a new poll finding most Americans support marijuana legalization, these two states could be the first of many.