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In 2012, Washington and Colorado voters made history when they approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington Initiative 502 “authorizes the state liquor board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age or older.”Since the vote in Washington, the Liquor Board has written a complex set of rules for the state’s new, legal recreational cannabis marketplace. The agency has also set limits on the amount of marijuana that can be grown. And the Board has begun to license growers, processors and retailers.For now, the Obama administration has signaled it will not interfere with Washington and Colorado’s legal pot experiment, unless there is evidence that legal pot is “leaking” to other states or children are getting access to the legal product. The feds are also watching to see if criminal organizations exploit the legal market.The first marijuana retail stores in Washington opened in July 2014.Recreational marijuana is also set to become legal in Oregon on July 1, 2015 after voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014.

Oregon Marijuana Farmers Learn Rules And Regulations

File photo of a marijuana farm operated by the University of Mississippi.

Pot farmers have to follow the same rules and regulations as the rest of the agriculture industry. That was a key takeaway Wednesday at a workshop for budding marijuana growers in Salem.

Even before it was legal, marijuana was a major cash crop in some parts of the Northwest. But the end of pot prohibition comes with a new challenge for commercial-scale growers: how to comply with the rules regarding things like wastewater or the disposal of hazardous materials.

Steve Wainwright of Gresham, Oregon, said he's hoping to expand his small medical marijuana grow operation now that recreational use is legal for adults. But he said the workshop showed him that he has a lot to learn.

"The one I found that's going to be a really big hurdle is water use,” he said. “I didn't realize the stipulations of senior and junior rights and how actually controlled irrigation water is."

The workshop was sponsored by the Oregon Farm Bureau. The organization said more than 1,000 people attended.