Stuff co.nz 2 July 2015
Crowds counted down the minutes to midnight, then lit up joints as smoking marijuana became legal in Oregon on Wednesday, as the growing legalization movement spreads to the fourth western US state.
Hundreds gathered on the Burnside Bridge in downtown Portland and smoked under the glow of a neon city sign, marking the moment that the law allowing recreational use, backed by voters in November, came into effect.
The legislation opens the way for shops to sell marijuana by next year – though some lawmakers say they will still try to block retail outlets.
Similar legalisation initiatives that have ushered in a network of retail pot shops are already in force in Washington state and Colorado, reflecting a shifting legal landscape for a drug that remains illegal under federal law. Alaska, which also voted to legalise marijuana, hopes to see pot shops in 2016.
About half the country’s states allow marijuana for medical use. The District of Columbia has voted to allow recreational-use marijuana but not retail shops, and a pot legalisation campaign is getting underway in California.