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Government and Politics
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.

President's Pot Comments Leave More Questions Than Answers

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The White House

OLYMPIA, Wash. – President Obama’s first comments about marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado leave more questions than answers. The President tells ABC News that federal agents have “bigger fish to fry” than recreational pot users.

In the interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, President Obama says about marijuana enforcement: “It would not make sense for us [to go] after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”

But that comment does not necessarily reflect a change in federal policy. A spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s office in Seattle says federal prosecutors there focus on large complex criminal organizations, not smalltime users.

In a statement, Governor-elect Jay Inslee called the President’s words “welcome news,” but said several questions remain. They include how federal authorities will respond to state authorized marijuana growers and sellers.

US Attorney General Eric Holder indicated earlier this week that the Justice Department will issue a policy “relatively soon” on the new pot legalization laws in Washington and Colorado.

On the Web:

Video: President Obama discusses marijuana policy (ABC News)