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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.

Mixed Results For Northwest Marijuana Measures

PORTLAND – The Northwest delivered mixed results were mixed for two marijuana legalization measures on the ballot. Voters in Washington approved an initiative to legalize pot in limited quantities. But voters in Oregon rejected an attempt to allow recreational use of the drug.

Measure 80 chief petitioner Paul Stanford says he's not giving up.

"We'll be back with another initiative in 2014. We're here to stay. We're not going away. And we're going to see full national legalization of marijuana over the next five years. I'm sure of that."

Photo by the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Photo by the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Stanford says Oregon stands to lose out on tax revenue as people drive north to Washington to purchase the drug.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, so the Washington measure sets up a potential clash with the federal government.

On the Web:

Washington Initiative 502

Initiative 502 election results

Oregon Measure 80

Measure 80 election results

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman