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Celebrations planned as law legalizing marijuana in Washington state takes effect

Legal marijuana possession becomes a reality in Washington state Thursday, and some people plan to celebrate the new law by breaking it.

Voters in Washington and Colorado last month made those the first states to decriminalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana. Washington's law takes effect Thursday and allows adults to have up to an ounce of pot — but it bans public use of marijuana, which is punishable by a fine, just like drinking in public.

Nevertheless, some people planned to gather at 12 a.m. Thursday to smoke up beneath Seattle's Space Needle. Others planned to party outside Hempfest headquarters in Seattle.

Seattle Police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb doesn't expect officers to write many tickets. Thanks to a 2003 law, marijuana enforcement remains the department's lowest priority.

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