Media from across the country and around the world are in Seattle to witness Washington state's first steps into an era of legalized marijuana.
The new law, passed by voters last month as Initiative 502, makes it legal for persons ages 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. But the state law doesn't trump the federal ban on marijuana, nor does it tell police how to go about enforcing it or licensing growers and retailers to produce and sell it.
Seattle Police late Wednesday issued orders to officers from doing more than issue a verbal warning to users until further notice. The department said it could take up to 30 days for the city or state to enact legislation stipulating how SPD should enforce I-502.
As for growing and selling marijuana, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will be tasked with creating a licensing and regulatory scheme from scratch. That process could take up to a year.
Late Wednesday night, a crowd was converging on the Space Needle at Seattle Center, where an informal smoke in was to take place after midnight to celebrate the law going into effect.