Some Washington state pot smokers rejoiced Thursday as recreational marijuana became legal in a historic first for the United States. Despite a federal ban on marijuana use remaining in place—and a provision of the new state law that forbids users from lighting up outside the privacy of their homes—more than 100 devoted smokers gathered under the Space Needle to celebrate.
Amid blaring reggae music, they lit up joints at the stroke of midnight in honor of the new marijuana law, which makes it legal for people aged 21 and older to possess an ounce or less of pot.
"I feel like a kid in a candy store! It's all becoming real now," Darby Hageman told the Associated Press.
Pot parties were reported across Washington as the new law came into force following a Nov. 6 referendum in which Washington joined Colorado to vote for the decriminalization and regulation of recreational pot use.
The Seattle Police Department suggested on its website that people "Responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a Lord of the Rings marathon in the privacy of your own home."
Seattle Police said they would—for the moment only—issue verbal warnings, although in theory, they could impose $50 fines for smoking marijuana on a street or public square.
The department also emailed its 1,300 officers, telling them not to write any citations for smoking pot in public until further notice:
"We had a city ordinance prior to this that said marijuana enforcement was our lowest enforcement priority."