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Washington state approves rules for recreational sale of marijuana

The Washington State Liquor Control Board [official site] adopted rules [text] on Wednesday to regulate the recreational sale of marijuana in retail stores. The state will place high taxes on the sales of the drug [Washington Times report] as well as a cap on the total annual production of the product. State officials hope to raise revenue through the taxes and to undercut the illegal drug market by making marijuana accessible. Applications to open stores will be accepted in November. Washington voters legalized marijuana [JURIST report] for recreational and medicinal purposes last November. In the months since that vote, the state Liquor Control Board has been debating how to best implement the legal sales in a way which would allow for regulation and protect against illegal trafficking. Washington is the second state to pass such rules, with Colorado passing similar rules last month. The US Justice Department [official webiste] has said that although it is not in favor of the legalization, it would not sue either state [JURIST report].

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act [text]. Some states have begun to take steps towards legalization. In August New Jersey governor Chris Christie sent back a bill [JURIST report] which would have made marijuana more accessible. That same month, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed [JURIST report] House Bill 1 [text] into law, making Illinois the twenty-first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.

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