Politics of Pot: Washington State Residents Light Up

States begin to reevaluate their stance on legalization of the cannabis plant.
2:16 | 12/06/12

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Transcript for Politics of Pot: Washington State Residents Light Up
And now, we head out west to washington state, where something brand new in america happened today. And for the first time ever, marijuana is legal in one state. So, what does this mean for other states in the country, and perhaps your family? Here's abc's neal karlinsky. Three, two, one! Reporter: At 12:01 this morning, under the cover of the space needle, seattle lit up. Well, I think it's great we finally get to that point, you know what I mean? Why hide it? Reporter: In washington state, it's now totally legal to smoke marijuana for pleasure, as long as you're at least 21. I'm over 21. Sure. Reporter: I pull out an ounce of maifrp right now, you are a sworn officer. What will you say to me? I'm going to say probably nothing. ter: IN FACT, THEY JOKE On the official police website, "you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a 'lord of the rings' marathon in the privacy of your own home." But even though it's legal to have it, it's not yet legal to sell marijuana to the masses. At least not for another year, while the state establishes rules for this now budding industry. Entrepreneurs, or "pot-trepeneurs," like this former microsoft manager are already making plans to open st starbucks-like stores. You've got this displayed, you know, encased like a beautiful piece of art. You're targeting the high-end market? That is exactly right. The category of premium marijuana. Think like a fine brandy, a fine cognac. Reporter: Drug policy experts worry the new law could spark new problems. The price of marijuana will drop dramatically and consumption will increase. That spells bad news for parents and researchers who are realizing that today's maifrn is not your woodstock weed of the '60s. It is much more harmful. Reporter: State officials estimate this once-taboo plant will eventually bring in $500 million in tax revenue per year. Enough to cover the seattle police department's entire budget. It becomes legal in colorado next month, and experts say three states, oregon, california and massachusetts, are also watching closely. Just to give you a sense of what the stores might look like, this is a medical maifrn dispenry. Soon, you may see marijuana with prices and labels just like, this in totally legal stores strip malls.

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