Both recreational marijuana use and same-sex marriage became legal in the state of Washington as of midnight last night.
Evergreen State residents over the age of 21 can now possess up to one ounce of marijuana (or 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused food, or 72 ounces of a marijuana-infused liquid) for recreational use without fear of being busted.
A few issues remain, however.
For one thing, growing and selling remain illegal for the time being. "I'm not sure where you're suppose to get it," King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told CNN. "If you stumble across some on the street or it falls from the sky, then you can have it. Otherwise, you are part of a criminal chain of distribution."
The Washington State Liquor Control Board has until December 1, 2013, to establish clear guidelines for the regulation of marijuana sale and distribution. Until then, obtaining marijuana by any means remains illegal.
Also, marijuana possession is still illegal under federal law, but the government hasn't said what it intends to do about Initiative 502. The U.S. attorney's office released a statement yesterday reaffirming its position on the illegality of any action involving marijuana, stressing that federal properties such as military bases and national parks remain off-limits to Washington tokers.
One law enforcement agency that is making its stance abundantly clear is the Seattle Police Department, which issued a directive to its officers last night prohibiting "any enforcement action" outside a verbal warning against those who violate I-502.
Still, police spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee recommends that marijuana users stay inside. "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," Spangenthal-Lee said.
Meanwhile, refusing to stay indoors were members of Washington's gay community, who rushed to their respective city halls to obtain marriage licenses.
"It's really a remarkable journey we've been on and such a remarkable sea change," Washington's premier gay rights activist and It Gets Better Project founder Dan Savage told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "And not just for gay people, but straight people have changed, too. It's gotten better for us because straight people have gotten better about us."