Washington State Voters Legalize Recreational Pot Use - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington State Voters Legalize Recreational Pot Use

(CNN) - Three states voted on referendums Tuesday on legalizing marijuana for recreational use:

Colorado passes marijuana legalization, but there's a catch

Colorado voters have approved a referendum that supports the legalization of marijuana on a recreational basis.

Amendment 64 in Colorado will amend the state constitution to legalize and regulate the production, possession, and distribution of marijuana for persons age 21 and older.

"The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said in a written statement released by his office. "This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly."

Similar provisions on marijuana use were also on the ballot in Oregon and Washington.

Washington voters say yes to recreational use of marijuana

Washington State voters on Tuesday cast their ballots in support of an unorthodox way of raising tax revenue: marijuana legalization. The measure, Initiative 502, will legalize and regulate the production, possession and distribution of cannabis for persons age 21 and older.

The Washington referendum called for a 25% tax rate imposed on the product three times: when the grower sells it to the processor, when the processor sells it to the retailer, and when the retailer sells it to the customer. It's not clear exactly how much tax revenue legalization would bring in. Estimates for the Washington measure run as high as $500 million - a figure analysts say is overstated.

Two other states, Colorado and Oregon, were also deciding whether to legalize marijuana.

Voters in three other states - Arkansas, Massachusetts and Montana – voted Tuesday on medical marijuana referendums.

Oregon says no to legalizing marijuana

Oregon voters soundly defeated an Election Day ballot initiative that would have allowed the commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults. Measure 80 would have legalized pot through state-licensed stores, allowed unlicensed cultivation and use of marijuana by adults and prohibit restrictions on hemp.

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