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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.

Yakama Tribes Take Pot Stand On Traditional Lands

File photo of a of a cannabis plant.

Leaders of the Yakama Nation in central Washington say they see little benefit to sales or farming of legalized marijuana on their traditional lands.

The tribes are making moves to prevent anyone from operating a pot business on an area that adds up to one-fifth of the state’s land mass.

The Yakama Nation has a federal treaty from 1855. It says the people have the sole use of their 1.2 million-acre reservation, and that they can hunt, food-gather, and fish on 12 million acres beyond that.

It’s called ceded land. It would test federal courts to preventing pot farming or marijuana stores on the Yakama’s ceded ground.

“We understand that we are inviting potential litigation and controversy on the ceded area. And we don’t want this," says George Colby, a treaty attorney for the Yakama Nation. "Marijuana has been very destructive to the youth of the Yakama Nation.”

The Yakama’s ceded ground includes 10 counties and the cities of Yakima, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Goldendale and Pasco. The nation is filing hundreds of objections with the state to marijuana business license applications.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.