Colorado, Washington First States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

(Reuters) – Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday in defiance of federal law, setting the stage for a possible showdown with the Obama administration.

But another ballot measure to remove criminal penalties for personal possession and cultivation of recreational cannabis was defeated in Oregon, where significantly less money and campaign organization was devoted to the cause.

Supporters of a Colorado constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana were the first to declare victory, and opponents conceded defeat, after returns showed the measure garnering nearly 53 percent of the vote versus 47 percent against.

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