A crowd of hundreds gathered to light up joints under the Space Needle in Seattle this morning as recreational marijuana use officially became legal in the state of Washington.
A similar scene is likely to unfold on the streets of Denver in the coming weeks as Colorado’s marijuana legalization law goes into effect.
In Washington, it is now legal for people to possess up to one ounce of the drug, which is illegal in most states, including Florida. While the new state law in Washington doesn’t usurp federal laws that criminalize marijuana use, local cops are no longer going to give people age 21 and up a hard time for lighting up a joint in the privacy of their own homes. The public display at the Space Needle technically remains illegal, but police in that state decided to let it fly on the morning pot smoking became legal there.
Cops in Washington seem to be taking a rather nonchalant approach to the new state rules, too.
The Seattle Police Department has issued some interesting directives to its officers.
Police spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee is quoted on the Huffington Post as saying, "The police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a `Lord of the Rings' marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to."
He also quoted the cult classic film "The Big Lebowski": “The Dude abides, and says `take it inside!' "
Colorado’s law goes into effect on Jan. 5. Washington state, the Post says, anticipates the new law will bring millions of dollars into the state’s coffers as regulations begin to go into place.
While lighting up a joint at home – or in public – remains illegal in Florida, we’d like to hear your thoughts on the issue Tampa Bay! Do you think our state should look at decriminalization? Should the federal government review its own laws? Share your thoughts in the comments section.