Washington, along with Colorado, have legalized marijuana. This was seen by activists as the first of many successes, and as a huge blow to the burgeoning, unsuccessful war on drugs. However, with all the predictions flying about what was or wasn’t going to happen come December 6, lots of curious eyes have been focused on the Northwest United States to see just how the de-criminalization went.

Overall, it was pretty mellow.

What happened? Well, there were lines wrapped around several blocks of eager people who wanted to buy legal pot for their own, recreational use. There were police on site to make sure there weren’t any problems, but by and large they weren’t necessary. Everyone waited their turns quite patiently, and despite the massive turnout there was no shortage of the product to go around. Also, and this is what has added a lot of juice to many other states, several million dollars in taxes was collected in a single day.

Since that day, none of the doom and gloom projections has come true regarding the legalization of pot. There has been no epidemic of stoned drivers, and by and large the state has been treating it like just another recreational product. The newness of it hasn’t quite worn off, and sales are still going well, but that’s likely to remain true as long as Washington is one of the only places in the country where marijuana can be legally purchased and used safely without the possibility of being arrested and slapped with a draconian drug use sentence. There have been issues, as the state predicted, but they’ve been dealt with using fines and appropriate, pre-planned legal procedures specifically drawn up for marijuana use.

Since the pot-pocalypse didn’t happen, business interests have been flowing into Washington, as well as Colorado, looking to see what sort of profit there is to be made. This has led to more licenses being requested, more interested parties in the states, and overall to more money flowing into the state’s coffers. As of yet marijuana hasn’t made Washington a hotbed of state success, but the legalization and sale of marijuana has had a definite and noticeable impact. In the end, life goes on at pretty much the same clip it did before legalization. The only difference now is that in addition to alcohol and tobacco, residents have the option to indulge in marijuana as recreation.

Photo credit: nordique / Foter / CC BY

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