First US states legalise recreational cannabis but federal laws still ban it

 

Colorado and Washington have become the first US states to legalise the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use.

The legalisation will set the stage for a possible showdown with newly re-elected President Barack Obama as the states’ initiative is in defiance of the US Department for Justice’s federal laws which consider marijuana an illegal narcotic.

Supporters of Colorado’s constitutional amendment were the first to declare victory after returns showed 53 per cent voted in favour.

And supporters of Washington State’s legalisation initiative declared victory after the Seattle Times and other media projected a win for marijuana proponents.

But another ballot measure to remove criminal penalties was defeated in Oregon, where significantly less money was devoted to campaigning.

Mason Tvert, co-director of the Colorado pro-legalization campaign said: “Colorado will no longer have laws that steer people toward using alcohol, and adults will be free to use marijuana instead if that is what they prefer. And we will be better off as a society because of it.”

The Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group that backed the initiatives, said the outcome in Washington and Colorado reflected growing national support for liberalised marijuana laws.

Citing a Gallup poll last year, the DPA said a 50 per cent of Americans favoured making marijuana legal, versus 46 per cent opposed and 4 per cent undecided.

Colorado and Washington have already legalised marijuana for medical purposes, but full legalisation is sure to put them in further conflict with the federal government.

The US Department of Justice initially reacted Colorado’s declaration by saying its enforcement policies remain unchanged, adding: ”We are reviewing the ballot initiative and have no additional comment at this time.“

In addition to Colorado and Washington’s full legalisation, measures to legalise marijuana for medical use are thought to have passed three states, including Massachusetts.

Seventeen other states, plus the District of Columbia, have already legalised medical marijuana use.

Under the measures in Colorado and Washington, personal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana would be legal for anyone over 21 years of age.

Cannabis could also legally be sold and taxed at state-licensed shops in a system based on that used for alcohol consumption.

In Colorado the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants will also be legal, although ‘grow-your-own’ will still be illegal in Washington state.

Oregon's failed initiative would have gone a step further and also legalised the cultivation of unlimited amounts of marijuana for personal recreational use.

Tvert said provisions legalising simple possession in Colorado would take effect after 30 days, once the election results are certified.

Colorado's amendment also mandates establishing rules for sales and excise tax collections once the state legislature reconvenes in January.

In a statement, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said: ”The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will…This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through.“

He added: ”Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.“

Critics say the social harms of legalizing marijuana - from anticipated declines in economic productivity to a rise in traffic and workplace accidents – outweigh any benefits.

The pro-movement, however, points to potential tax revenues and argue that marijuana prohibition has accomplished little.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Science Teachers needed for s...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teachers with QTS nee...

PMLD Teaching Assistant Required - Nottingham

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently looking to ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments