Pot goes legal in Washington State on Thursday

Medical marijuana products are displayed at Canna Pi medical dispensary in Seattle, Washington, December 3, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS/Anthony P. Bolante


Pete Holmes figured it would be Canada first. Seattle's city attorney thought his northern neighbours would be the first to take marijuana possession out of the courts.

But at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, after a successful ballot initiative last month, Washington State enters the history books by legalizing possession of up to an ounce of pot.

"In a lot of ways you're way ahead of us," Holmes says of Canada, but not when it comes to taking the crime out of pot use.

"Let's control it - I'm done with the pot jokes ... this is serious policy."

So far, legalizing marijuana for adults in Washington, along with Colorado, has drawn a mute response from the U.S. federal government.

"You're telling people what they can do in their own house," Holmes laments.

Though smoking up in public may still bring the law down on you, you'll get a ticket rather than see the back of a patrol car.

And while possession is legal, it's now illegal to drive if the THC content in your blood reaches 5 nanograms per milliliter, which has raised some concern among pot advocates.

Some medical marijuana users says they can wake up with that amount of psychoactive cannabis element in their system, and feel they can drive just fine.

"I haven't left the state yet," activist and medical marijuana user Steve Sarich told "But ... I realize that I take my legal life in my hands every time I do get behind the wheel."

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