The smoking of marijuana for recreational use, and not just medical needs, is now legal in Washington state. While the use of pot is still considered illegal under federal law, that law has been ignored for the most part when using the substance for medical needs. There are 14 states that now allow for the use of marijuana in medical cases only, Washington being one of them, but now Washington voters have taken the extraordinary step of allowing for recreational uses of the drug.
This now sets up Washington DC to do battle with Washington state as the feds decide if they will go after the causal and recreational use of marijuana. There are many arguments for an against this type of usage of what many consider a harmless drug while others consider it a drug only for stoners that has no use other than for a medical purpose and even in those cases there are those who believe it should not be smoked because of the harmful effects on ones lungs. Some believe that marijuana is no different than alcohol because both are in fact really the same kind of drugs.
Read more about the debate from the UK Telegraph below and leave your comments and thoughts in the comment section below:
Washington state has become the first in America to allow the recreational use of cannabis, setting up a potential showdown with the US federal government.
In the city of Seattle pro-cannabis campaigners celebrated in a haze at the foot of the Space Needle tower at one minute past midnight, the moment the state's new law came into effect.
Vivian McPeak, director of Seattle's annual Hempfest, said: "This is a big day because all our lives we've been living under the iron curtain of prohibition. The whole world sees that prohibition just took a body blow."
The new law only allows cannabis to be smoked inside, and doing so in public is still subject to a $100 fine.
However, the Seattle Police Department told its 1,300 officers that until further notice they shall not issue tickets, and no officers were present at the Space Needle event.
On the city's police website, spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee said: "The department's going to give you a generous grace period to help you adjust to this brave, new, and maybe kinda stoned world we live in."
He added: "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."
The department also posted a picture of actor Jeff Bridges as the cannabis-smoking character "The Dude" from the comedy film "The Big Lebowski".
Encouraging indoor cannabis smoking, it carried the caption: "The Dude abides, and says, 'take it inside!"
Washington and Colorado became the first two states decriminalise and regulate the possession of cannabis in ballots held alongside the US presidential election on Nov 6. The Colorado law takes effect on Jan 5.
In Washington it is now legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess an ounce of the drug, or up to 16 ounces of cannabis-infused goods like brownies or cookies, or up to 72 ounces in liquid form.