Colorado, Washington First States To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use

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Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use Tuesday. Another measure in Oregon to legalize recreational marijuana use failed, while Massachusetts approved medical marijuana use.

Colorado is technically the first state to legalize the recreation use of marijuana with Washington state a close second. According to The Denver Post, Amendment 64 had passed as of 9:15 p.m. local time. The amendment to the Colorado constitution passed with 52.7 percent of the vote, with nearly 1.5 million votes being counted and 25 districts being reported.

Speaking to The Denver Post, Jonathan Caulkins, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, said Colorado's decision to legalize recreational marijuana use could have massive implications that would be difficult to predict. Some are concerned that Colorado could become a haven for drug tourists.

The amendment allows the individuals to purchase and use marijuana, up to one ounce, for recreational use. Individuals would have to be over 21 and purchase marijuana from regulated stores, reports The Denver Post. Public use is still illegal, but adults could grow up to six marijuana plants in their home.

In Colorado, the first state-regulated marijuana store would not open shop until 2014, reports The Denver Post.

Meanwhile, a similar amendment passed in Washington. According to The Seattle Times, Initiative 502 has passed, also legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. As in Colorado, up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use will be legal starting Dec. 6. The state would have to regulate and tax all sales of marijuana, according to The Seattle Times.

Oregon also had recreational use of marijuana on the ballot but voters rejected the measure. The Oregonian is reporting that Measure 80 failed, with 55 percent voting against.

On the other side of America, Massachusetts voted in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical use. Marijuana could be used legally for certain diseases including cancer, Parkinson's disease, AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease and hepatitis C, reports The Associated Press. A patient's doctor would have the right to prescribe medical marijuana for other conditions. Massachusetts had already decriminalized the possession of marijuana under one ounce.

Naturally, these are state laws and marijuana is still illegal under federal laws. Colorado and Washington will be interesting states to watch due to many factors. There could be court cases regarding the legality of the new laws, concerns about increased drug use among youth, higher crime rates, drug tourism and revenue from taxes -- just a few issues that will monitored closely in Colorado and Washington.

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