What no one is telling you about Washington’s marijuana legalization


Washington state made history this Tuesday by passing Initiative I-502, becoming the first state in the nation, along with Colorado, to legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and over.

The web is flooded with celebration and images of foggy Seattle streets portrayed as some sort of marijuana Valhalla, but the real fog seems to be surrounding what Washington’s “legalization” actually entails.

First, don’t light up just yet. The Initiative does not take effect until Dec, 6. Even then marijuana can not be legally purchased until the state chooses who can legally produce and sell it, a process that could take up to a year, and your neighborhood pot dealer will unlikely be chosen. Users will only be permitted to possess up to one ounce of dried marijuana and possessing just 50% more than the “legal” amount will land you with a felony charge that holds a jail sentence of up to 5 years in prison. Don’t expect to be smoking anywhere other than a private residence either because smoking in public is still illegal. In fact a Manette resident has already been arrested after police were called to a local park where the man said that after Tuesday’s election, pot is legal. “We saw it on the news,” he told the officer.

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