Washington votes to legalize marijuana, Oregon does not - KPTV - FOX 12

Too soon to 'break out the Cheetos' in WA, CO

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Washington voters have made their state the first in the nation to legalize recreational pot use, setting up a showdown with a federal government that backs the drug's prohibition.

The Washington measure sets up a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, where adults over 21 can buy up to an ounce. It also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence.

Estimates have showed pot taxes could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but the sales won't start until state officials make rules to govern the legal weed industry.

Colorado also approved a marijuana legalization measure Tuesday night, but its governor said it's too soon to "break out the Cheetos" since federal laws may still stand in the way of citizens legally buying and selling cannabis.

The Drug Enforcement Administration also tried to spoil Colorado's Rocky Mountain high, CNN reported, with a statement saying the agency's "enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged."

In Oregon, a similar initiative to legalize marijuana failed Tuesday night, according to FOX 12 political analyst Tim Hibbitts.

Oregon was one of the first states to allow medicinal use of marijuana, which voters approved in 1998. Measure 80 would have gone further, regulating pot like alcohol.

Supporters said legalized marijuana would generate millions for the state in new taxes while cutting down on criminal activity. Opponents questioned whether the measure would increase drug use and crime.

Hibbitts said the Washington and Colorado measures had "considerably more funding behind them."

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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