SEATTLE (AP) - Marijuana possession is now legal in Washington state, and pot smokers have been celebrating in the streets of Seattle.
Hundreds gathered under Seattle's Space Needle for a New Year's Eve-style countdown to 12 a.m., when the legalization measure passed by voters last month took effect. When the clock struck, they cheered and lit joints in unison.
A few dozen people gathered on a sidewalk outside the north Seattle headquarters of the annual Hempfest celebration and did the same, offering joints to reporters and blowing smoke into television news cameras. One smoker said she felt "like a kid in a candy store!"
Public use of marijuana is still banned, but the Seattle Police Department is telling officer to issue only verbal warnings "until further notice."
One pot smoker interprets the police directive this way: "you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a 'Lord of the Rings' marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to."
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)